This hasn’t been edited, so I want to apologise in advance if any part of what I write next is unclear. I know how sensitive you can be about your male identity and I wouldn’t want to cause offence.
I’m sure you know what’s happened. You’ve seen it either on the news or on your social media feed. Maybe you’ve even commented on it. If you haven’t, please allow me to fill you in.
Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered.
She was a young woman, only 22, living in Melbourne and walking home. I’m almost home safe, she had messaged her boyfriend.
At 2:40am on Wednesday last week, her body was found in Princes Park, North Carlton by a passer-by. She was just 900 metres from her home.
I don’t normally write about these news stories. There are far more talented, better informed writers out there who can do the story greater justice than myself.
But today I realised how easy it is to say that. It’s so easy to cover my ears with my hands and insist this isn’t happening or that it doesn’t affect me. It didn’t happen to me, after all. It didn’t even happen to someone I know.
But that’s just it, isn’t it?
Every time a woman is killed in Australia (and around the world), the dialogue is always so personal, so singular.
We mourn and then we warn other women to not do the same thing. Don’t walk home at night. Don’t catch taxis. Don’t wear skirts. Don’t draw attention to yourself.
Let someone else be the victim.
If anything is ever going to change, we need to stop looking at things so personally.
I don’t make racist comments, but that doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist. I don’t harm LGBT+ people, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen at the hands of people just like me.
Women know how to look after ourselves. We’ve had it instilled in us since birth. We’re hyperaware of our surroundings. Only a few nights ago I was walking home from work at 6:30pm as I do every weeknight. It was dark and a side street, but where else am I meant to go when it’s the street I live on?
As I was walking, I sensed someone following me. I didn’t want to turn around because what would happen if they knew I knew they were following me? Instead, I made sure my keys were in my hand between my fingers like we’ve been taught and I subtly increased my pace. I took out my headphones to make sure I could hear anything that would give away an imminent attack.
I heard him start running and I felt panic course through my veins.
And then I saw him run across the road to his car.
Not all men rape and murder women, but all women fear men raping and murdering them.
Rosie Waterland and other women have made the comparison between Eurydice Dixon’s murder and the men king hit in Sydney.
[We didn’t say] “Well that boy shouldn’t have been out in King’s Cross so late at night, he shouldn’t have been drinking, he should’ve had more situational awareness” … No — we changed the term ‘king hit’ to ‘coward punch’, [and] laws were reformed so that the punishment for perpetrators would be more severe.
Look guys, we’re not stupid.
We know that even if we change the dialogue, there are still going to be women who are raped, just like there are still men out there who are coward punched.
We know that no matter what, we will always have to be wary of our surroundings, because there will always be someone out there who does the wrong thing.
But it would happen a hell of a lot of less and we’d all be a hell of a lot less angry, if men stopped covering their ears with their hands and pretended this wasn’t happening.
I can’t tell you how many comments on social media I have seen in the past week where individual men felt the need to defend themselves against assumed allegations.
Sick of all guys being accused of being called would be rapists.
Stop putting the blame on all men saying we’re rapists, sex addicts and animals.
Maybe walk with a friend or two
Maybe don’t walk alone at night
Maybe avoid clubs where this keeps happening
Let me put it simply. You’re not helping.
We know not all men rape. Most of us have loving friends, boyfriends, husbands, brothers, fathers — just like you have girlfriends, wives, sisters and mothers.
Stop taking everything so fucking personally.
All we want is for you to call out bad behaviour when you see it. Does that girl look uncomfortable? Ask her if she needs help. Has one of your friends called a girl a slut? Tell him that’s not okay.
We don’t want to look at every man as a threat, but we can’t do that without your help.
About the writer
Cassidy Spencer is a woman living in Melbourne who’s tired of being mansplained to. She hopes for a safer future for her nieces.