Melbourne, sadly, has just united for another vigil that ought never have needed to be staged. Picture: Jason Edwards Thousands gather at vigil for Eurydice Dixon
Melbourne, sadly, has just united for another vigil that ought never have needed to be staged. Picture: Jason Edwards Thousands gather at vigil for Eurydice Dixon

The powerful image uniting a nation

 

EURYDICE Dixon was left alone to die in a cold, empty park after she was raped and murdered five nights ago.

On Monday night, that same park was filled with thousands of people including families with young children who were bathed in candlelight to remember her.

One heartbreaking image being shared on social media has captured the strength in solidarity as the group huddles around the makeshift memorial created by people who didn't even know the 22-year-old.


Another man replied to the Tweet that no matter how bad we think things are, nights like this show what a decent society we live in.

"The majority are good people. We should never ever forget this. Never let the minority of deviates and bad people take that away from us," he said.

The images that flowed through social media moved hundreds of thousands more who weren't there, saying they were "heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time", showing the "best of humanity coming together to stand up against the worst of humanity".

 

In cities around Australia on Monday night, murdered Melbourne woman Eurydice Dixon will be remembered.
In cities around Australia on Monday night, murdered Melbourne woman Eurydice Dixon will be remembered.

 

A message is left on a flower tribute at Princes Park. Picture: David Crosling/AAP
A message is left on a flower tribute at Princes Park. Picture: David Crosling/AAP

 

On a typically-chilly June night, the Reclaim Princes Park vigil played out silently and solemnly not far from where a passer-by discovered Ms Dixon's body last Wednesday morning.

The simple vigil lasted no more than an hour and included 30 minutes of quiet reflection as the lights on the soccer pitch at Carlton North were turned off.

Strangers wiped away tears as they placed candles at the memorial they've created covered with flowers and heartfelt notes.

Mourners at a memorial for Eurydice Dixon in Elder Park, Adelaide. Picture: Matt Turner
Mourners at a memorial for Eurydice Dixon in Elder Park, Adelaide. Picture: Matt Turner

There was only one short speech because that's how Ms Dixon's grieving family wanted it.

"The death of Eurydice Dixon has resonated with so many," an organiser said. "Let's stand together."

She asked those in attendance to reflect on the tragedy and acknowledge that all women should be safe to walk home at night.

Daniel and Catherine Andrews pay their respects at a vigil for Eurydice Dixon. Picture: Mark Stewart
Daniel and Catherine Andrews pay their respects at a vigil for Eurydice Dixon. Picture: Mark Stewart

Premier Daniel Andrews and his wife Catherine paused for a few minutes at the memorial after placing flowers.

Jennifer Lawton and her family came to pay their respects. She said she was blown away by how many people showed up.

"As sad as it is, it's actually really beautiful, too."

A choir sang Hallelujah at the close of the vigil.

Flowers and notes have been left at Princes Park. Picture: Ellen Smith/AAP
Flowers and notes have been left at Princes Park. Picture: Ellen Smith/AAP

On Facebook, organisers wrote that the vigil was about a simple message: "We all should be able to walk home, whenever we want, wherever we want, and assume we will make it home safe.

"Our bodies are not there for taking. It is not up to us to keep ourselves safe when we know it's up to men to choose not to inflict violence upon us."

Megan Bridger-Darling, who is one of 15 people who helped bring the event together, told news.com.au she did not know Ms Dixon but wanted to celebrate her life.

"It started as something small where we wanted to show our respect for her," she said.

"Her family was clear they didn't want it to be politicised and we didn't want the talk around her death to lose the focus on her."

Ms Bridger-Darling said she had received more than a thousand offers from volunteers keen to help, but she was not surprised.

"Melbourne just rallies. We're a bunch of small villages and if you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us. We all need a shoulder sometimes and we just wanted to offer as many shoulders as possible."

Vigils were also held in Victorian cities including Ballarat, Geelong and Warrnambool, as well as in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Brisbane.

Households around Australia were also being encouraged to put a candle in their windows or pop on the porch light in memory of those like Ms Dixon who never made it home.

PM Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten attending a candlelight vigil for Eurydice Dixon at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith
PM Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten attending a candlelight vigil for Eurydice Dixon at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith

A makeshift memorial for Ms Dixon was set up in the days after her murder. Flowers have been piling up ever since, alongside notes that read: "All women have the right to walk at night and be safe", and: "I won't forget your name".

The site was vandalised on Monday morning with offensive graffiti. A 25m-wide lewd image was quickly removed after being discovered shortly before 4am.

Ms Dixon was walking home from her comedy gig at the Highlander Bar in the Melbourne CBD about 10.40pm last Tuesday. Her body was found less than a kilometre from her home.

Ms Dixon's death was met by an outpouring of grief and anger from Australian women who live everyday with the fear that the same thing could happen to them.

Jaymes Todd, 19, has been charged with Ms Dixon's rape and murder. He briefly appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates' Court last week and was remanded in custody ahead of his next court appearance in October.


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