The rape and murder of 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon, an aspiring comedian who was attacked last week while walking home from a gig, has sent shockwaves through Australia and sparked vital conversations about gender-based violence.
On Monday, as the New York Times reports, thousands of people gathered to mourn Dixon at Princes Park in Melbourne, where Dixon’s body was found in a soccer field on Wednesday morning. Other vigils were held in locations across the country.
Hours after Dixon’s body was found, Superintendent David Clayton of the Victoria Police said in a news conference that “all members of the community” should “take responsibility for their safety.”
“Make sure people know where you are, and if you’ve got a mobile phone carry it, and if you’ve got any concerns at all call police,” he said, according to the Times.
Clayton’s comments have incensed many Australians, who say that women should not be saddled with the onus of preventing sexual assault. “We all should be able to walk home, whenever we want, wherever we want, and assume we will make it home safe,” reads a statement on the vigil’s Facebook page. “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.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull echoed this sentiment in comments to Parliament. “Women must be safe everywhere,” he said on Monday, according to News Corp Australia Network. “On the street, walking through a park, in their homes, at work. We need to ensure that we have a culture of respect for women.”
“We start with the youngest men, the little boys, our sons and grandsons, and make sure that they respect their mothers and sisters and all the women in their lives,” he added.
Within 24 hours of Dixon’s death, 19-year-old Jaymes Todd turned himself into police. He has been charged with Dixon’s rape and murder.
Not long before she was killed, Dixon sent a now-poignant text message to a friend: “I’m almost home safe.”
The rape and murder of comedian Eurydice Dixon in Australia has amplified a national conversation on victim-blaming and violence against women pic.twitter.com/mIhrRedDHf
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 19, 2018