Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered in Melbourne last week. She was the 31st woman to be murdered in Australia in 2018. An 11 year old girl was snatched from the street in Newcastle and sexually assaulted for 5 hours before being left at a train station. Qi Yu is missing from her Campsie home and is suspected to have been murdered and possibly raped by her housemate.
One women dies every week here due to violence against women; every day, every news cycle, there are reports of atrocities being committed all over Australia. And I am never surprised by the reports. Saddened, angry, outraged, disgusted; but never surprised. We are living in an increasingly violent society and out justice system has failed to keep up. Violent offenders are released on bail, paedophiles and sexual offenders are released after serving pathetically minuscule (and insulting) sentences behind bars. They’re sent back out into the world to escalate and rip the life away from another innocent person.
‘What was she doing walking home alone at night?’
‘She shouldn’t have been dressed so slutty’
‘Why didn’t she just leave?’
‘She shouldn’t have been so drunk, that’s just asking for trouble!’
As the statistics of violent crimes against women rise, so to do the statements assigning blame to the victim and that is never okay. A woman SHOULD be able to walk home with the expectation that she make it there unscathed. She SHOULD be able to go for a run without fear that a rapist is lurking behind that bush or around that next bend. Women SHOULD be able to ride on trains and trams without a pervert rubbing his dick up against her in the crush of the crowd. We SHOULD be able to go to a bar with our friends without unwanted hands sliding up our skirts and grabbing our vagina.
Wives are not the possessions of their husbands and haven’t been for a fucking long time. We SHOULD NOT be expected to lay down and take it from our husbands because ‘it’s our marital duty’. We SHOULD NOT expect to get punched in the face for voicing and opinion that doesn’t match our partners. We SHOULD NOT have to fear for our lives in our own homes. I resent the fact that my children need to be so forcefully educated on stranger danger, I resent the fact that I NEED to so thoroughly teach my babies about ‘Private Parts Safety’ and I despise the fact that I can’t let my kids go to the park without a fucking GPS tracker, without having an anxiety attack.
But here’s the thing, this IS the world we are living in. SHOULD it be this way? Fuck no! IS it this way? Sadly, yes.
Now I am not for one minute saying that we should accept this as our reality and let the murderers, rapists and abusers have their way. I believe that it is our responsibility to stand up for ourselves and our daughters and FIGHT for a better world. We should be marching and raging and demanding change from our governments that will make the world a safer place. Write to your local MP, your State Premier and your Prime Minister and demand action in the fight against violence against women, the fight against domestic violence, the fight against sex offenders.
Demand harsher mandatory sentencing, demand tougher parole conditions and higher levels of monitoring for convicted offenders that have been released into society. Don’t stop shouting these demands from every platform you have available to you. Social media is a powerful stage but so is the real world. Attend rallies and vigils, find and get involved with local organisations that are championing our right feel safe on our streets and in our homes.
If you get a gut feeling that something is wrong, it probably is. Trust your instincts and call for help. Feel like your friend is in trouble? Ask if she’s ok and make sure she knows that you’re there for her. Don’t suffer from bystander syndrome and assume that someone else will make that call to 000, you don’t even have to leave your name. Support charities that look out for women in crisis in any way you can. Check in on friends and family if you havent heard from them in a while, it never hurts to have a 5 minute conversation and can save a life.
But here’s what else you need to do, please, learn how to defend yourself. Find a self-defence course, a martial arts class or a boxing instructor and learn to kick the shit out of anybody that wants to hurt you. Learn how to get out of zip ties and what you should do in the event of a kidnapping or an attack. Carry a personal alarm or a GPS alert when you go out at night and let someone know where you’re going. SHOULD you need to do this? No. But we live in a shitty, violent society and we need to fight back.
Would these actions have saved Eurydice and Qi? Maybe, maybe not. But if I ever get attacked I would want to fight for my life with everything I have. Women are strong and we have the right to live our lives without fear. So we need to fight for it, in every way we can.