Following the murder of 22-year-old comedian Eurydice Dixon as she walked home alone in Melbourne last week, Australian police issued a warning. Authorities urged young women to "take responsibility for your safety" and to "exercise situational awareness" - and it's caused outrage.
One Twitter user deemed it a "disgraceful, sickening phrase", and questioned why we aren't instead asking "men [to take] responsibility for their behaviour?", and why society isn't taking responsibility "for failing to teach men not to be violent".
The wording puts the burden of blame on women for the fact they are sometimes attacked - raped and murdered just hundreds of metres from their front door, in the case of Eurydice Dixon - when actually, it's out of their hands who they come across while travelling alone. The only person who can truly control a situation like that is the attacker themselves, by deciding not to harm the other person.
In response to the police warning, one woman took to Twitter to share a chilling story about a time she was out on her own as it was getting dark. The story illustrates how a woman can be as vigilant as they want, but sometimes it requires simple luck or a proactive other person to help safely remove them from a scary situation.
Thread:- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
One night about 5 years ago, I was driving home from gym. Unfortunately, I had to use the toilet (damn it) and so I stopped at a park I know well.
It was about 5.30 pm’ish in winter, the toilets were right by the road and I had a car.
When I got to the women’s toilets, the door was locked, so I quickly jogged toward the other ones about 80 metres away, just as I saw a man sitting quietly on a park bench looking at his phone.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
Instinct told me to keep away from him
Every woman in the world knows that instinct
I jogged away from him & then doubled back toward the toilets, having given him a wide 200 metre berth.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
When I came out of the toilets, he’d disappeared from his bench. He was now sitting on a seat closer to me, still looking at his phone.
Instinct started to kick in - again.
So I jogged away in the other direction, away from my car, along the road. The man was now positioned between me & my car, 100 metres away.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
As I jogged, I looked back over my shoulder. He was closer now, still looking at his phone, but following me.
It was also getting dark.
I stopped. I’m pretty fearsome in real life, so my plan was to stand my ground and wait for him to pass – or not – and then run out on to the road, (or kick him in the head, whatever).- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
I was shaking as he got closer, still nonchalantly staring at his phone and side eyeing me.
Suddenly a tall guy came out of the dark, jogging past me like a train.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
Jogging Man got about 10 metres past us and then stopped, turned slowly and jogged back toward me.
"You OK?” he asked as he jogged on the spot. He looked past me toward the man lurking beyond in the dark.
“I’m not sure” I replied. I could only see Jogger Man’s face from the streetlight.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
He asked where my car was & then motioned for me to follow him. He then jogged along in front of me, facing backwards toward me, all the while never taking his eyes off creepy man behind me.
So with the aid of my new jogging bodyguard, I walked hesitatingly past the man, slowly and deliberately and got to my car.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
Jogging Man then jogged on the spot near my car as I got in & locked the door, before he waved at me and jogged off into the night.
From the safety of my car, I looked back. Creepy man was now standing under a tree, staring at my car as I roared off.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
My point is, it is very easy for law enforcement & others to tell women to ring the police if they feel unsafe.
Women feel unsafe at night all the time.
And what exactly could I have said in a 000 call to the police?- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
“Hello - there’s a man near me sitting on the bench looking at his phone.”
“Hello – that man is now sitting on another bench, still on his phone.”#eurydicedixon
However, every instinct I had that night told me to keep away from that creepy man.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
I have zero doubt that his intent was malevolent. Any other man would have been aware that they were behaving in a menacing manner and backed away.
But he kept coming closer and closer.
I doubt a phone call would have got any sort of reinforcement to come and help me.- Salty Ronni (@MsVeruca) June 14, 2018
What did save me that night was my own strength and confidence and - the Jogging Man.
Thank you Jogging Man. I’ve never forgotten you & I'm deeply grateful I did not become another statistic.
It's horribly sad that women have to be vigilant while out alone in the dark. It's sad we have to make fake phone calls or aggressively jingle our keys to suggest we're nearly home. But if "taking responsibility for our safety" means never leaving the house without company because we don't know who we might come across or what horrific violence might befall us, then we won't do that. That isn't where the answer lies.
Follow Cat on Twitter.
You Might Also Like