Why are women still left feeling unsafe in 2015?

Why should women have to be in the company of another person to be safe? In a modern society, why are women constantly oppressed and placed into fear of purely existing as a female? Surely there is something we as women, can do to support one and other in this crazy cruel world.

In March 2015, 17 year old Masa Vukotic was walking along her usual trail walk when she was stabbed to death in a random rage attack. Less than a week earlier, 41 year old Prabha Arun Kumar was also stabbed to death whilst walking home from her place of work through Parramatta park.

In a modern world, why cant women walk alone anywhere in our society and not feel like their safety is in jeopardy, and potentially loose their lives?

Chief detective of the homicide squad, Inspector Mick Hughes spoke to ABC radio days after Masa’s tragic passing, discussing women’s safety which sparked many women’s rights activists and open feminists to protest against his suggestions. Detective Hughes noted

“I suggest to people, particularly females, they shouldn’t be alone in parks… I’m sorry to say that is the case. We just need to be a little bit more careful a little bit more security conscious.”

Many women around Australia took to Twitter to contest against the statements made by Inspector Hughes.

A VicHealth poll conducted on 17,500 people in 2014 focusing on the publics knowledge, attitudes and responses to physical and other forms of violence. The study found statistics proving that attitudes have not changed much since 1996.

“Holding women at least partially responsible for violence against them is another attitude that makes it more difficult to hold perpetrators to account”.

Minister for Women and Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson suggests, as a community we need to start taking action and begin focusing on offenders, not attempting to adjust the behaviour of victims.

Destroy The Joint is a feminist Facebook page that was launched in February 2012. It was set up and run by women for women, who support equality and safety of Australian women, and women around the world. They focus towards violence against women and keep an up to date count of the amount of women whose lives were tragically taken due to an act of violence, and by whom. With over 63, ooo followers on their Facebook page, DTJ is striving to bring awareness to gender equality and violence against women through sharing of news articles and stories happening around the nation and the world.

Groups like Destroy The Joint are changing the game in social awareness and promoting social change in ways that was once unachievable. Facebook is a social media platform that allows communication to so many people in a short space of time, over great distances.

In recent years there have been phone apps developed specifically for safety of women, as well as men. One of these is bSafe; an app available for download on all smart phones which utilises the GPS feature which allows users to send SOS messages, fake incoming calls and track your mobile phone, as well as record through the camera and audio if the user is feeling threatened or unsafe.

This is yet another way technology is able to enforce social change that is discussed on Destroy The Joint and in the media lately, and proving an application for the phone for users to feel that extra bit safer when traveling alone or in places that seem unsafe.

As a young woman living in Western Sydney, I feel it is our job as women to come together, unite and enforce a safety network for one and other. For 13 years, I lived in a suburb of Mt Druitt that was deemed as unsafe for women and children, especially at night. Personally, I would go out of my way to fill my car up at a petrol station two suburbs away to avoid the people who would linger around the local shops, majority of whom were men. I had experiences of going there in the past and people would approach you and ask for money. Early in 2015, I joined a private Facebook group called the ‘2770 watch…’, where members of the community can share and report of events, crimes and incidents occurring in the area and surrounding suburbs. Members share a variety of content from recent thefts, break-ins and crime to sharing of services such as 24 hour plumbers in the area.

This was a lightbulb moment. My proposition for this social change project in order to create a close group on Facebook for women in my local area and surrounding suburbs as a central communal place where members can share similar content such as crimes, places to avoid or if your in a situation and your alone, if there are people around they could meet you and walk together. I would call the group ‘Women’s Watch’ and it would be openly accepting of women within Western Sydney to come together as a force to create change and promote awareness of issues women face on a daily basis. A online platform for woman to share current affairs, news articles, YouTube clips and government proceedings that are central to women and how to facilitate change within our society.

As our ancestors fought for women’s rights, its time women come together again to create a safer environment, even if it needs to begin with a Facebook group where we can help one and other raise awareness and strive to bring change to our society.

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