Post about Eurydice going viral
IN THE immediate aftermath of a senseless, random attack, we all look for answers. We want to know how to prevent such a terrible event from ever happening again.
In the days since 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered in a Melbourne park while walking home from a comedy gig, we have all thought about what could have been done to save her life.
The view of our nation's law enforcement authorities is clear. It's the responsibility of women to take care of themselves.
Victorian Police urged women to stay alert while walking alone at night in a series of official statements this week.
"This is an area of high community activity … so just make sure you have situational awareness, that you're aware of your surroundings," said Local Superintendent David Clayton.
"If you've got a mobile phone carry it and if you've got any concerns, call police," he said.
It was a message repeated by another cop, Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper.
"My message is that people need to be aware of their own personal security," he said. "That's everywhere. If people have any concerns at any time, call triple-0. We would much rather have too many calls than too few."
Australian women didn't take too kindly to being told that.
Sick and tired of being told once again to be careful, women have begun sharing this 2015 post by Australian writer Jane Gilmore. It's also been shared by many high profile women including Lisa Wilkinson, Sarah Harris and Jamila Rizvi.
The post perfectly encapsulates the frustration many women feel about receiving advice on how to avoid being raped and killed.
"Women, if you want to be safe, stay at home," the post begins. "Except that you are more likely to be killed at home by someone who claims they love you, so don't stay at home. "Make sure you don't have a boyfriend because he's the most likely person to kill you, but don't go out without your boyfriend because you need someone to protect you.
"Don't show too much skin or laugh too loud or dance too much but come on love give us a smile.
"Carry your keys and your phone at all times and make sure you run far enough to burn off all those calories but don't do it in public and for God's sake don't run in shorts, that's just asking for trouble.
"Public transport is dangerous, but so are taxis and walking and driving on your own and did I mention that staying at home is really risky, so don't do any of those things OK?
Men, just carry on as you were, this is not your problem OK?"
Ms Gilmore said she wrote the post in 2015 after Victorian Police gave similar advice to women following the murder of Melbourne schoolgirl Masa Vukotic.
The 17-year-old was raped and killed by a man she did not know in a Doncaster park while on her evening walk.
"There was a homicide detective who publicly said women shouldn't go to that park on their own until the man had been caught," Ms Gilmore told news.com.au.
"He was genuinely concerned, he was just doing his job, but it further enforced this idea that women were responsible for keeping themselves safe," Ms Gilmore said.
While well intentioned, she says this advice is impractical.
"How are we supposed to get home from work? You have to walk from the tram stop to your house. Are we supposed to get Ubers or taxis? Women should not be afraid of walking home from work and going out at night and we shouldn't have to spend extra money on supposedly safer forms of transportation," she said.
So what should have happened?
Should Eurydice have caught a taxi home from the pub? Should she have dangled her keys loudly from her fingers or pretended to be on the phone with a loved one? Should she have asked a friend to walk home with her?
Or should the 19-year-old man charged with Eurydice's rape and murder simply not have committed the crime in the first place?