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Police Need To Stop Telling Women To ‘Be Careful’ To Avoid Rape And Murder

Another Australian woman is gone and something needs to change

After finding the body of a young woman, now identified as 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon, in a Melbourne park earlier this week, police responded by telling women to be careful and “mindful of their surroundings.”

“My message is that people need to be aware of their own personal security,” Detective Inspector Stamper told media this week. “If people should have any concerns at any time about their personal security, call triple-0.”

That advice is, of course, a given. Women are very aware when they’re walking alone at night. Watching out for ‘bad men’ is something that’s been ingrained in us since we were children. In fact, a recent study revealed that over half of Australian women don’t feel safe walking home after dark and 30 per cent agreed that “girls should not be out in public spaces after dark”. 

The above statistics are incredibly disheartening. Are we really teaching women that it’s their fault if they get raped or murdered because they dared to leave the house? 

Take Jill Meagher for example. She was walking along a well-lit street in one of Melbourne’s busiest areas, she called her brother so she was talking on the phone and she was five minutes from her home. Still, she was raped and murdered. 

Eurydice was clearly aware. She knew to message her friend to tell them she was almost home and safe. It was midnight, she was just two blocks from her home and police suspect she had been stalked for up to four kilometres by her killer.

Carrying keys, having a mobile on hand and not wearing headphones won’t stop the real issue: that there are people out there intent on causing women harm.

Surely, if we’re past telling women they ‘asked for it’ if they’re wearing a short skirt, we’re past teaching them that the way to avoid being attacked is to simply be aware.

The lesson in these – and so many other – heartbreaking and pointless murders is that things need to change.

Men need to be receiving harsher penalties when they are violent. Rape allegations need to be taken seriously, investigated and prosecuted so men don’t think they can get away with it. And, if we’re going to focus on women, we should be training them in how to best physically protect themselves in violent situations. 

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