And Women Not Going Out for their Own Safety
Opinion by J Salmon
Thank you to those who have celebrated the wit and vibrance of Eurydice Dixon.
A target, regardless of gender, race, culture or colour, may not have been wealthy enough for cabs or uber or a car. There is rarely a train or bus. People get attacked in carparks and on bikes (well, I have). The person who walks you home is possibly as vulnerable as you are.
Basically this is far bigger than terrorism.
Thing is, “Don’t go out independently” is rarely an option for a modern woman or a young man. They have to study and work. There are dangers at home.
Rattling on about the unsafety of just some areas or situations is to deny the ubiquity of the problem.
The autism of Ms Dixon’s alleged attacker is a good reason to continue to improve access to autism therapy but NOT an excuse for harming anyone. By virtue of his age, the alleged attacker missed out on early intervention. There may have been better trained teachers if we also had Gonski for Disability.
These are a bargain compared to the cost of a life … or a life spent in gaol. Again, no cuts to NDIS. Folk with high functioning variants of autism need the therapies to help shape their awareness of the individual choices of others. And to operate successfully at work.
The whole situation is dire. We must get the wrongness of rape through to men. Where does a sense of sexual entitlement come from? Bohemian poets and artists? The army? Libertarians? Musos? Traditional patriarchies? Pastoralists? Religions? The lot, actually.
Men and women should never have dominion over another autonomous person’s body. Never.
People with intellectual disabilities can usually be taught that. So how about the “neurotypical”?
Frankly, modern women need viking lessons from an early age. Apparently most female vikings were too feral to mess with. Lot to be said for that. This pacificist is beginning to identify with sword-wielding Hindu grannies.
I certainly wish someone had taught me to be less meek before I was crash tackled as a daggy, naive 17 year old in a university library carpark (the bike, a fine weapon, was crook). I got away with only mild strangulation, broken arm, split lip and gravel rash. I got out of there because I was lucky. Context is everything, this side of death. Earlier exposure to DV didn’t help.
My screams were reported to cops. They didn’t come. Then they blamed the assault on the warmer weather. Really. The “What were you wearing?” question arose.
I’ve subsequently been triggered on buses, in economics tutorials with rugger types, at some workplaces and generally anywhere near all-male institutions. Relationships can be awkward. It’s quite a load to carry.
It was a long time ago. But it wasn’t ok then and it sure as hell is intolerable now.
Fancy taking a life just because you can’t “handle” yourself properly! Apparently the vandals of Euridyce’s death site think that’s ok.
Now I’m the mother of boys with some ASD. I will be with them seeing an expensive but wonderful private therapist at the time of Eurydice’s vigils. And, in a sense, I have been holding a vigil for decades. I am working to raise caring, respectful males.
I am grieving for Eurydice Dixon but also for every person who has become habituated to a culture where sexual violence or abuse seems “normal”.
We have a long, long way to go.