News

Eurydice Dixon's death and the woefully inadequate police response that ensued

Eurydice Dixon is the 30th woman to be killed in Australia this year alone.

By Kate Wagner

Overnight, the body of 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon was found in a park in Melbourne's inner-north.

The aspiring comedienne had just performed at the Highlander Bar before heading home about 10:30pm on Tuesday, something she'd probably done countless times before.

Her body, along with a pair of shoes, were found by a passer-by at soccer field in Carlton North around 3am. She'd also reportedly been raped.

What was this immediate reaction to this tragic, terrifying discovery? Police immediately urged people to take responsibility for their safety when walking alone in Carlton North.

"Make sure people know where you are and if you've got a mobile phone, carry it," they said.

But it's not a problem in Carlton — it's not even something just plaguing Victoria. Women are being killed all over Australia every single week and still, the onus is on us to not get murdered.

Police may have said 'people' in their statement, but the subtext is clear: Women won't get murdered if they don't walk home late at night. But if that's the only reason Eurydice died, then why are so many Australian women dying, almost exclusively at the hands of men?

Thirty women in Australia (that we know of) have been killed so far this year, an overwhelming amount by men they knew. In fact, the number one preventable contributor to death, disability and injury in women aged 18 – 44 is inflicted by a partner.

But Eurydice wasn't murdered by a controlling partner or an enraged father; police believe her death was random. The 19-year-old man who handed himself in to the police in connection to her rape and murder is believed to not know Eurydice — they were strangers.

Obviously, police don't want women killed either. They'll do everything in their power to prevent it, including encouraging us to be extra wary after a murder, but their advice reflects an inherent and sinister problem with society as a whole.

Police can warn us not to walk home alone, to have a phone on us, to carry keys in case we're attacked, but it's not going to stop until men stop murdering us. Australia is in the midst of a national emergency and the people at the top are too worried correcting women's behaviour to fix the actual problem.

The problem is so insidious, a group called Destroy The Joint exists with the sole purpose to count dead women.

"We started 'Counting Dead Women' because women's violent deaths would otherwise typically be reported in isolation, one by one," they told Now To Love.

"They would be news for a day, maybe a week or two if the death was sensational, then they would roll away into obscurity. One. One. One. One. We started counting because we want these deaths to count for something and to identify the size of the problem. One. Two. Three. Four… thirty so far this year.

"Thirty in twenty-four weeks says so much more than one now and one a while ago, was it last week or the week before?"

How many more warning signs do we need? How many more women have to die before we admit women wearing headphones or walking home alone isn't the problem.

We know Australian women are being killed at horrific rates, and still preventing domestic violence didn't make Malcolm Turnbull's five-point plan for the 2018-19 Budget. One of the five commitments made by the government was "keeping Australians safe". This ostensibly manifested as increased counter-terrorism and international security measures rather than tackling Australia's more deadly national security issue.

Since 2001, six people—not including perpetrators—have been killed by terrorists on Australian soil. Even if you take into consideration the Australians that have died overseas in terror attacks, including the devastating Bali bombings in 2002, the number still pales in comparison compared to women murdered every week.

Advocates for quashing domestic violence frequently discuss the problematic language surrounding assault when it comes to women.

With the Turnbull government focussing heavily on counter-terrorism, would rebranding domestic violence as a form of terrorism result in more funding?

"If we said this amount of women had died from of terrorism, we'd have the army on the street, curfews would be enforced, and we'd have 24 hour news saturation," CEO of Melbourne's Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Kon Karapanagiotidis told Now To Love.

"But on a systemic and structural level, it is terrorism, that's what I don't understand. Women are controlled by men who inflict a state of constant terror.

"Women are also paralysed by the knowledge they're in the most danger when they try to leave these abusive, controlling situations. Sound like a kind of domestic terrorism to me," he added.

Our hearts go out to Eurydice's poor family and we beg the government, and society as a whole, to step up and stop normalising misogyny. We shouldn't be killed for being women.