'This isn't just about me. It's about all women. It could have been any of us.'

‘This isn’t just about me. It’s about all women. It could have been any of us.’

women killed
I woke up this morning to an ABC update.

A woman’s body found on the corner of Little Bourke St and Celestial Avenue in Melbourne.

I wanted to throw up.

Any act of violence against a woman, particularly one which results in the death, is sickening, reprehensible – as is the rhetoric that comes with it.

Last year after Eurydice Dixon and Qi Yu were killed, I felt despair. I was scared, I was angry, and eventually, I had to turn off the news, step back from social media and disengage.

What hit me most about the news this morning was how much it felt like a near miss.

I was in that exact part of town with my two best girl friends from high school on Saturday night. I walked through there with one of my male friends the day before yesterday, and again, the day just gone.

But this isn’t just about me. That woman represents all women. That could have been any of us and, statistically, it might be. Every death is a near miss.

In a country where more than one woman a week is killed at the hands of a current of former intimate partner, we’re all a walking statistic. In 2018, 69 women were killed, 16 more than in 2017. If it’s not you one week, it might be you the next. That’s absolutely terrifying. But more than that, it isn’t good enough.

Every time I see a piece of news detailing violence against women, it fills me with dread and fear. Because, like many other women and non-binary persons, I wonder how I can continue to exist in a world which is rigged against me.

A world where I need to be looking over my shoulder all the time, where I shouldn’t walk home, but I shouldn’t catch an Uber (Shebah isn’t always available) as that puts me in a confined space with a man.

I shouldn’t be out in open public spaces, but I shouldn’t be in the home – after all, that’s the place I’m statistically most likely to experience violence or be killed.

Be aware of how you dress, make sure you cover up so as not to tempt unsuspecting men – but don’t cover up too much, because then they’ll be curious and equally as likely to target you to see what you’re hiding.

Women and non-binary persons already spend a significant portion of their brain power on personal safety.

Why are women and non-binary persons continually hearing judgements around what they should or shouldn’t be doing, when these incidents (against men, women and non-binary persons) are overwhelmingly committed by men? Why aren’t those same voices telling men NOT to rape and murder?

How do you reconcile living in a world where you can’t win?

I don’t have the answer, but I have dedicated the last three years to creating change, to contributing to a world where women can embrace equality and exist to embrace their infinite potential. It’s not easy. It will take a lot of hard work, and we need our leaders to come with us. We need more action from persons at all levels of society and leadership to create the change we need.

So, no, not all men. But, yes, all women. It’s got to stop. We don’t want your condolences, your rhetoric or recommendations. We want change. And we need it now.

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