A couple of days ago the body of a young woman was found in Princess Park, in Melbourne’s north.
On Tuesday night 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon was walking home after performing a comedy set at her local pub. She texted her friend to let her know that she was almost home safe and then shortly after she was raped and murdered. Her body was found cold, dead and alone in the middle of a soccer field.
Police released a statement the next day telling women that they need to be more careful. We were offered such ‘helpful’ advice as ‘make sure you always carry a phone with you’, ‘let people know where you are at all times’, and this little gem – “be aware of your surroundings”.
Here’s the thing though, we already do all of these things and women are still attacked.
Every woman old enough to leave the house on her own knows about ‘being careful’.
We know about making sure people know where we are, we know about taking the safest route home, we know about carrying our keys in our hands in the vain hope that we can use these to defend ourselves and yet women are still raped and murdered.
When a woman’s rape and murder last made the news in Melbourne the feeling was of overwhelming sadness. Women throughout Melbourne woke up to the news of Jill Meagher’s death and let our a collective sob.
This time the sadness over Eurydice’s death is equally sombre, but this time it is mixed with fury.
We are so tired of this happening to women and tired of us being told that it is our fault.
We are constantly being barraged by warnings that tell us whether we are raped or not is up to us.
Violence from men is the main killer of women under 44, for men it is suicide. Both of these point to the fact that something in our society is seriously broken. What is it that causes men to hate women so much? Where does this violent misogyny come from? Why are we constantly asking women to fix it and why are men either killing themselves or us.
Something needs to change. We should not have to tolerate women dying at the hands of violence, we have the right to take up space in this world – just as men do.
We should not have to fear death at the hands of men.
It is not up to women to fix this alone. It is time for men to step up and start cleaning up this mess too.
On Monday night there is going to be vigil held at Princess Park in honour of Eurydice. The vigil is called ‘Reclaim the Park’. Princess Park is a beautiful and beloved place that most people who live in Melbourne’s north use regularly. Now though, it has been altered by this dark tragedy and people need to claim it back
The vigil is going to be sad and many tears will be collectively shed, but there may be something else too. I think there is going to be deep-rooted anger. Women are discovering their rage and it is building into a roar.
Enough of killing our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.
Enough of telling us that it is our fault.
And finally, enough of telling us that it is just the way it is and has always been and nothing will ever change.
30 women have been murdered this year already in Australia, Eurydice’s death makes it 31. How many more women need to die before we recognise that there is a serious problem here?