Last week in Melbourne, Eurydice Dixon lost her life to male violence.
Eurydice was walking home from work. The last message she sent to her friend was still on her phone: “I’m almost home safe.”
To Eurydice’s family, friends, and loved ones, I extend my deepest condolences and sorrow. My thoughts, and Melbourne’s thoughts, are with you.
Eurydice lived in my electorate. She grew up, went to school, worked, and was walking home through a park, in the electorate of Melbourne. She was well known and much loved amongst her neighbours in Princes Hill and in Melbourne’s performing arts community.
On Monday, over ten thousand Melburnians came together for a silent vigil by candlelight at Princes Park to mourn Eurydice.
So many people in our community have walked, or run, or visited, Princes Park so many times.
So many of us feel grief.
And with grief, we feel anger.
Eurydice was raped and murdered because we are failing to get serious about changing men’s behaviour.
How many women must die before we get serious about challenging men’s violence and realising the right of everyone – everyone – to walk home in safety.
So far in 2018 around Australia, men have killed at least 30 women. Last year, Destroy The Joint counted 51 women who were killed by men. Most of these murders did not happen in a park and were not committed by strangers. They were at home, at the hands of violent partners.
Last week in Sydney, 28 year old Qi Yu went missing. Her housemate has been charged with her murder.
Vastly more women are killed by men in family violence than the number of Australians who have lost their lives to terrorism – and yet our shelters and family violence lawyers are stretched thin and women are returning to violent partners because we fail to ensure they have secure housing if they leave.
To address violence against women, we must address gender inequality. We must change the old, patriarchal modes of masculinity that see men as entitled to control and power and blame women for men’s violence.
Initial police comments urged women to take responsibility for their safety in the local area and to have ‘situational awareness’.
But women are very aware of the situation. Men facing violence when out at night are never told to stay home or to have ‘situational awareness’.
Let me be very clear: there is nothing we should ask women to do differently.
It is men’s actions that must change.
Until men start respecting women more, we will see more devastating violence.
We must change the way our boys think about women. Every boy should leave primary school and secondary school with respect for women ingrained in them.
We must end violence against women and the sexism and gender inequality that drives it.
Men must start taking accountability and change our actions, and the actions of other men.