30 women in Australia have been killed by men this year. At this rate, it’s more than one a week, on average. And many of us are furious about it on more than one level.
Yet another young woman, Eurydice Dixon, was robbed of her life as she cut through a park, just a few minutes’ walk from home. The usual response, from police and media, has been reminding women, yet again, to take responsibility for our safety.
Don’t walk alone, don’t go to parks, don’t do this, don’t wear that, don’t drink this, don’t say that, don’t fucking so much as exist in public without one of the “good” men for your own damn protection from the “bad” men. And let’s ignore the fact that, statistically, you’re in even more danger at home. Intimate partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 than any other preventable risk factor, according to a Victorian study.
But don’t dare voice that thought, you misandrist, feminazi bitch.
The minute you do, some man will be there to deflect, derail, minimise and deny. They don’t care that we are rightfully angry and frustrated. We DO take care. We ALL do! This is drummed into us from childhood!
We walk with our keys wolverined in our fists, we text each other when we are home, we call each other when we are in a taxi and feeling unsafe, we walk in groups, we take well-lit routes, we lock the car doors. Sometimes our personal risk assessment allows us to walk home alone at night, sometimes it’s just unavoidable. The punishment for this apparent transgression should never be rape and murder and yet here we are. It’s as if our very presence in public is a risk we must constantly mitigate, by not being alone, by not being in the dark, by holding a potential weapon and by being constantly on guard.
And if you’re a woman of colour, a disabled woman or a transwoman, you’re at even greater risk, statistically.
A few months ago, we took the plunge into the nightmarish Sydney property market. That meant spending a lot of time with real estate agents. Needless to say, we now own a small portion of a nice suburban home. Like, we probably own the laundry. At least part of it. Of course, the bank owns the rest and won’t let us forget it, drawing out a slightly horrifying sum from our accounts on the regular. There’s a few differences between renting and “owning”. If we break something, we have to fix it ourselves, for example. But if we want to knock out a wall, we definitely can. We tried that out. Liberating, to say the least.
If you ever wade into the comments sections, you’ll know how easy it is to despair at the world.
An article on the gender pay gap will show you some people denying it even exists. A compilation of statistics about violence against women will have commentary ranging from the victim blamers to the what-about-men derailers. If you see a video about children and gender stereotyping, there will almost always be people complaining about the idea of gender neutrality. An article about racism will be peppered with remarks from those who think it isn’t an issue (or worse, those that embrace it). The same goes for anything online that is shared to do with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism or any other form of human bigotry.