Aussie women’s fury after vile death
EURYDICE Dixon, like Jill Meagher, did what women have always done in thriving, modern Melbourne.
She walked home alone at night. It was cold, but she did it anyway. It was dark, but she did it anyway.
Police responded to the 22-year-old aspiring comedian's brutal death with a message for other women.
"Make sure you have situational awareness," they said. "Be aware of your own personal security."
But their message prompted a stinging response from women who are tired of being blamed for the dangerous situations they find themselves in.
On social media, talkback radio and in the street, women are saying the same things. And they've been saying them for years.
They're not responsible for the fact that they can't walk home alone at night. They should be able to, but they can't.
That Ms Dixon never made it from the Highlander Bar to the safety of her front door is no fault of her own.
She was attacked, raped and murdered by a man who allegedly stalked her through inner Melbourne. Her story reinforces the fear that women rightfully feel when they dash along an unlit street or through an empty park or hear footsteps from behind.
A young woman from Carlton, who did not wish to be named, told news.com.au she refuses to walk around the suburb alone at night. She wouldn't do it before Ms Dixon's murder, and she definitely won't do it now.
It's a sentiment being echoed around the country.
Men are scary and they don't realise it. Women live in constant fear of the horrible things that men can do. We constantly check our behaviour and change our plans to try to be safe.— TheRealRQ (@imogendunlevie) 14 June 2018
Sally Rugg, executive director of change.org, wrote on Thursday that women are scared "all the time".
"When we hear that young women are raped and murdered while walking home at night, it shakes the rest of us to our core. Not because it's unthinkable but because it reaffirms what we're scared of *all the time*."
She told news.com.au there's a big problem with urging women to take responsibility for their safety in the wake of violent crimes.
"The first issue is that women are already acutely aware we need to keep ourselves safe, because we've grown up in a world that shows us we're not. Not only do we already constantly modify our behaviour to keep ourselves safe, but we actively advocate for this to change.
"The second problem is that when people in positions of power, such as the police, respond to a murder with a reminder for people to take responsibility for their safety, it suggests that the victim of this horrific crime was somehow irresponsible, and therefore at fault for her own murder.
"Comments like these suggest that the police can't stop men from raping people, so it's up to the women to take precaution, which is insulting to men, unhelpful and untrue.
When we hear that young women are raped and murdered while walking home at night, it shakes the rest of us to our core. Not because it’s unthinkable but because it reaffirms what we’re scared of *all the time*.— Sally Rugg 🏳️🌈 (@sallyrugg) 14 June 2018
This is heartbreaking. I love this photo. https://t.co/J408Mh3nzO
"A better response could be something like, 'police are working around the clock to find the man who murdered Eurydice', or give a reminder that 'if you commit a violent crime, you will be brought to justice'."
Today host Karl Stefanovic told the show on Friday that women must be made to feel safe in our cities.
"How many more Australian women have to die?" he said.
"What is happening in this country when a woman can't walk home on her own at night, can't get home safely at night? We just need to fix it … and we need to fix it fast."
Melbourne University student Abbey Dalton wrote that women shouldn't be taught to be "vigilant and careful".
"Instead … teach men that they don't have more of a right to a woman's body than she does to her life."
Author Jessica Walton wrote that she was terrified to walk home late, but has to.
"Whenever I walk home late at night I get scared. My walk from the station includes an unlit street. I have to walk through two parks. I worry that my disability makes me too slow to run. I plan out what I would do, say. Don't victim blame, @VictoriaPolice. It's not us, it's them."
Whenever I walk home late at night I get scared. My walk from the station includes an unlit street. I have to walk through 2 parks. I worry that my disability makes me too slow to run. I plan out what I would do, say. Don’t victim blame, @VictoriaPolice. It’s not us, it’s them.— Jessica Walton (@JessHealyWalton) 14 June 2018
Ms Dixon's body was found on the soccer pitch at Princes Park, not far from a university and surrounded by running tracks frequented during daylight hours.
A passer-by discovered her body and a crime scene was established. Police distributed CCTV images of a man they wished to speak to in connection with Ms Dixon's murder and 19-year-old Jaymes Todd handed himself in to police at Broadmeadows on Wednesday evening.
The teen appeared before a magistrate in Melbourne on Thursday having been charged with one count of rape and one count of murder.
Police said the alleged killer did not know Ms Dixon. He has been remanded in custody until October.
I walk a lot (no car). I walk home at night a lot. I've been verbally abused, I've had things thrown at me, I've been FOLLOWED HOME.— Kelly (@kellyyyllek) 14 June 2018
I never text I'm home safe until I'm literally inside my apartment because I'm afraid of something happening even when I'm so close to home.
Don’t be in a park. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t be at home. Don’t be at work. Don’t speak up. Don’t stay silent. Don’t wear a skirt. Don’t wear pants. Boys will be boys.— Alana. (@alana_west_) 14 June 2018
Maybe just don’t rape.