Her name was Eurydice Dixon.
If you are unaware, she was a 22 year old comedian living in Melbourne, Australia. By all reports she was a standout, emerging talent. Working her way towards the big time. By the reports of people who knew her, she was going to make it.
Walking home through Melbourne’s Princes Park late one night. She sent a message, “I’m almost home safe, HBU.” Except she wasn’t. Hours later she was found, raped and murdered.
The truth is, this is the reality that all women dread, as they clutch their car keys between their fingers. My own mother told me a story today about getting to work in the still dark, seeing a strange car, and getting a colleagues number ready on her phone ‘just in case’ as she crossed the car park.
I don’t say that as a revelation. An “oh as a man I’ve finally realised this and so now it must be true.” No. That’s not what I’m getting at.
I’ve spoken at length this week to my female friends, to colleagues. Trying to get a grasp on what it must be like, to perpetually feel that fear, to get an idea of what it could possibly like to have it lurking under your skin, to be in your brain always. To be so much a part of your life, that you almost become numb to it. Almost.
But I can never know. not really. As a man I can never get it. I can never know what it must be like every time you walk home to be afraid to your bones. I mean, I’ve felt the fear of not being safe, but there is no constancy to it. It never invades my subconscious the way that it does for the women in my life.
I had another post written for today. I moved it for another, one that touched on this but wasn’t totally about it. But I couldn’t move myself past it. This symbol of a culture of violence and sexism that pervades every inch of society. Creeping through the cracks like weeds. Given enough time, that kind of infection can tear a building down, and looking around our society .. at the domestic violence rates, sexual assault statistics, murder reports .. I have to wonder how much longer this building has left before it comes crashing down.
The hardest part, selfishly, is knowing that I am a part of a machine that has taken centuries to build up. It would be so easy to cry out “not all men” which is just cowardice for “not me”, or to focus on a single element of this culture as a small series of isolated incidents (although 30 women around Australia have been killed in similar circumstances in 2018 alone – so “isolated” is a bit of a fucking stretch).
In a tsunami of domestic violence, unsolicited dick picks, work place discrimination, cat calls, ass grabs in bars and clubs, and the type of shocking online vitriol that forces stars like Kelly Marie Tran and Millie Bobby Brown off of social media, we can hardly be surprised anymore. Which is sickening. Somehow more sickening still, is that mere hours before a ‘Reclaim Princes Park’ vigil was to be held honouring Eurydice, the site where her body was found was vandalised. Tagged with as-yet-undisclosed but lewd graffiti.
Because somehow being raped and murdered was insufficient. Someone, and let’s be real, it could have been a female but I’d stake all the money in my pockets that it wasn’t .. ‘Someone’ came along and thought ‘this is where she lay, dying’ and whipped out a can of spray paint.
That’s our societies value of women in a fucking nutshell, isn’t it?
A lot of the blogs I’m reading, a lot of the social media posts are trying to make sense of it, to encourage the discussions, the ways to move forward, to address it. Friends have held vigils across the country. Honestly (and surprisingly) I’m not there yet. I didn’t even know her and yet I am filled with a rage and grief that is so hard to even articulate. And I have to ask the question; in a world where a woman’s death isn’t even enough, where some putrid piece of shit has to come along and find a way to lower her further, how do we honestly talk about moving forward?
The chorus of ‘not all men’ is already full throated in it’s pathetic and feeble protests. Thousands gather in silent vigil all around the nation. The temporary national interest is appropriately outraged, but it will fade. Until the next time. And there will be a next time. I don’t have any answers, but I want them.
I want to help. I want to be a part of a solution that I can’t even articulate yet. I know that that cannot come from a place of anger, but I am arranging to speak with several women’s rights groups, domestic violence groups, to write more about it, to speak so much more openly about it, to call out the behaviour when I see it, and even to identify it in myself. To hold myself to a far higher standard.
In the meantime, the very least I can do is to help burn this moment into our zeitgeist. Because the rage will fade, for me as much as it will for the rest of Australia, and with it, the motivation to move forward. Until we’re jolted again, by the next atrocity.
I didn’t know Eurydice, but I wish I had had the opportunity. I wish I still could. That we could meet by chance at a comedy festival. Work together as colleagues. Maybe even become friends. I wish that was a chance we both still had.
Her name was Eurydice Dixon. Remember it.