Friendship, Popular Stuff, Relationships

The brutal reality is women DO need to be careful

Melissa Imbesi by Melissa Imbesi
June 18th, 2018

Just like you, I can’t stop thinking about Eurydice Dixon. I can’t stop thinking about the moment she would have felt the hairs on the back on her neck stand up when her rapist and killer closed in on her. I can’t stop thinking about the pure terror that must have been coursing through her body as she undoubtedly tried to fight him off. Most of all, I can’t stop thinking about how, in her final moments, she may have thought, ‘how is this happening to me?’

Women – and good men – everywhere are more than just shocked and saddened over Eurydice’s death. We are infuriated. We are seething with red hot anger that once again, another woman has been taken from the streets that should belong to her. The streets she should have been, without question, safe to walk at whatever time she wanted without a second thought.

But right now, in 2018, that’s not our reality. And I’m not sure it ever has been.

Eurydice Dixon on stage at a gig

When police issued public statements for women to take extra precautions when out and about after Jill Meagher, after Masa Vukotic, and now after Eurydice Dixon, there has been public outcry. We ask WHY women are being told to modify their behaviour. WHY aren’t we telling men to just stop assaulting, raping and killing us? It is mind-boggling that it even needs to be said, because to good men with decency and respect for humanity (which I’d like to think makes up the majority in this country) it’s simply an ingrained value. The men who need to absorb this message are unfortunately devoid of those qualities and that, I believe, is our biggest problem.

The thing is, I think it’s easy to get tangled up in what reality should be and what it really is. As women, of course we shouldn’t need to monitor our movements. We shouldn’t have to be wary of every man who crosses our path, have our keys at the ready as we walk to our cars or stay safe in numbers. When assaults happen, the fault is never ours. It is always theirs. But the reality? Monsters walk among us and as fucking unfair as it is, we need to protect ourselves as best we can. All the ‘shoulds’ in the world won’t change the reality that being a woman today is scary. And that is one fucked-up, bullshit, ugly fact.

The thing is, I think it’s easy to get tangled up in what reality should be and what it really is.

In my opinion, I think the police are doing the responsible thing by warning us to be cautious. They aren’t excusing or condoning behaviour from these animals and I certainly don’t think they’re blaming victims for their deaths. What I see them doing is giving us the same advice we would most likely give to those we love; our daughters, mothers, sisters and friends. Be aware and look out for each other. Superintendent David Clayton’s advice for women to “take responsibility for their own safety” may not have been the perfect choice of words, but I don’t doubt they came from a good place.

Forensic teams working on the site of Eurydice’s murder

I think it’s easy to lose sight of what our emergency service workers have to do on a daily basis. It’s easy to get caught up in how unfair and unjust a place the world is for women right now. And it IS. But I can’t help but think of the police and ambulance officers who had to look at Eurydice’s lifeless body, pick her up and place her in a cold, sterile bag. The police who had to knock on that door and deliver the most horrific news to her family. If there are any measures that can be taken to lessen those tragedies, well that’s their end goal. They are the law enforcers, not the law makers, so there is only so much they can do.

I’m not sure what the solution to all of this is, but I know for sure it’s not going to change overnight. While tougher sentencing laws and early, intense intervention with kids exhibiting concerning behaviour would be a good start, there’s still so much work to be done – and it needs to start now. It should have started decades and decades ago. While we can’t change the past, there are things we CAN control in the future. We can raise our sons to be boys and men who respect and support women with an unequivocal understanding of what consent really means. We can call out our mates if they display shitty behaviour towards women and encourage our husbands and boyfriends to do the same if they see it. Above all, it’ll take a banding together of our communities, our justice system and our law enforcement  to ensure we’re ALL safe and free to move as we please.

Author Tara Moss spoke to us about her experience with sexual assault in the podcast version of our chat below. You can watch the videos with Tara here – and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast here.