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Friday 28 September 2012

Jill Meagher's body found, man arrested and charged. Let's stop this victim blaming mentality

With the deeply upsetting breaking news that Jill Meagher's body has been found, and the arrest of a 41 year old man in relation to her murder and abduction, there is a palpable sadness and fear surrounding the death of Jill.

Everywhere, women - and men - are asking: why did this happen? And are we safe anymore?

I've read several opinion pieces on this, with this one below - titled 'Can we please stop the victim blaming', by Clementine Ford - raising the most pertinent questions.

An excerpt:

The "Help Find Jill Meagher" community Facebook page included the following comment from a 'member':
"She was obviously at a bar/club, left there in the early hours of the morning, obviously partially pissed/drunk, and she 'lead someone on' [sic] and the consequences followed her. if she is going to flirt with someone, make sure that you go through with it because someone is obviously pissed off with her….in my opinion, it’s now old news, she met with foul play as a result of her actions inside the pub/bar OR as I mentioned before…ask the husband." 
If you think it’s disgusting to speculate on whether or not a still-missing woman might have been ‘asking for it’, you’d be right. (I’m sure I don’t even need to repeat that the idea of anyone, man or woman, ‘asking’ to have violence of any sort inflicted upon them is utter codswallop, no matter what they might have been wearing/doing/drinking at the time.)
What is this?
So, it's her fault? I don't say you should put yourself in harm's way - ever, men or women - but: have we started to lost our right to walk anywhere, alone, at any time?

C'mon, admit it. How many times have you said to a friend, "No, I can walk back to my car. It's just further up," feeling like you shouldn't 'bother' someone with the 'hassle'. Or, "That's okay, I'll just wait for a cab." Or,"It's just a short walk home. My home is just five minutes up the road."

It could've been you or I. Make no mistake. The saying, "There but by the grace of God, go I" comes to mind.

What is also gutting to me is that not only are we dealing with a society where rape and abduction is now sadly part of life... but murdering your victim? So brutal, unnecessary, an abrupt, horrible end to a life, a life that did nothing to deserve this end.

In offering advice on safety, Charlie Bezzina, former Victoria Police Homicide Detective, said on TV's 'Breakfast' this morning: "You've got to be mindful of not making yourself a target; whilst you've got the right to walk the streets as you please, be mindful of... alternatives... being walked home, or being walked to your car, or walk to a tram stop. I know we shouldn't live that but that's just a fact of life."

Kathryn Robinson from the show asks: what makes you a target? "Walking along the street, talking on the phone... you're distracted. You need to be aware. You should be walking the street like you're driving a motor car. With your vision going everywhere... your sixth sense will tell you if there's something amiss, and you'll react accordingly. Just be aware of your surroundings, and react with what your judgement is."

While Bezzina is not suggesting for a second that any woman - or man - is to blame, he is suggesting we are vigilant of what's going on around us.

That of course doesn't mean a single thing in the end, when someone is determined to strike and end someone's life. There is indeed no single answer.

What's your take on this whole very upsetting story?

RIP Jill Meagher. Tears.

1 comment:

  1. This whole story makes me deeply sad. What a horrible world we live in...