The murder and assault of 22-year-old comedian Eurydice Dixon on Wednesday has provoked a larger discussion in Australia about violence against women and victim-blaming.
Police tell the BBC that Dixon was attacked not far from her home after leaving a bar in central Melbourne. According to The Age, she did what I and I assume so many other women do when they’re traveling late at night, and texted a friend “I’m almost home safe, HBU [how about you].” The day her body was found, a 19-year-old man named Jaymes Todd (who did not know Dixon) handed himself over to police, where he was charged with Dixon’s rape and murder.
In footage of one of her last sets posted to Twitter, Dixon jokes dryly about sexism and gender equality. “I tend to worry a lot about things I shouldn’t worry about....sometimes I worry that I’m going to end up in a slave society?” she said. “You know, just girly things! Normal shit, right? ”
Comedians in Australia have been tweeting about Dixon’s death out of sadness but also anger towards the police handling the case. A detective told the ABC: “My message is that people need to be aware of their own personal security and just be mindful of their surroundings...If people should have any concerns at any time about their personal security, call triple-0.” Many have rightfully interpreted those mind-your-safety comments as blaming Dixon for her death.
A 2017 report on violence against women conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that “Australia has a disturbingly high rate of violence against women.” On average, one woman a week is murdered by a former or current partner and one in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
There is now a vigil planned on Monday for Dixon at Princes Park, a soccer field where Dixon’s body was found. “The emphasis is on reclaiming that space,” vigil organizer Pia Cerveri told the press. “It belongs to everyone and everybody deserves to feel safe there.”