As you may or may not know, I don’t usually take to blogs or online for more serious matters or matters that I am not an expert in. Or something that has nothing to do with music or media. However, for some reason, on the occasion of the recent case of rape and murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher, I am strangely compelled to write something to find out why I am so upset about this. Yes, I am aware the general reaction to rape and/or murder is one of repulsion, shock and sadness. One of empathy to another human being’s suffering and to the grief of friends and family. All this I understand and I feel this too. But I did not know Jill, yet, I am finding that I, along with many others, am finding this difficult to comprehend.
I found myself watching this unfolding on national media as Jill was reported missing and last sighted about 700 metres from her home on Saturday morning. She went for a drink with some ABC Radio colleagues and then declined an offer to be walked home and was never seen or heard from since. Her bag was then discovered – credit/bank cards inside but no mobile phone – in a laneway close to her her home. CCTV footage emerged of her walking down a relatively busy Sydney Road at 1.41 am Saturday and being stopped by a man in a blue hoodie. My limited experience from studying many crime cases that if it is uncharacteristic of a person to be missing for a length of time and that person just disappeared for more than 48 hours with no activity on their bank account, things aren’t looking good. They always want to find the perpetrator of an abduction, kidnapping etc, within about two to four days of their disappearance.
Many people have emerged with the old story of “women shouldn’t walk home alone and this is the lesson we should take from this”. I understand that old adage that someone’s death should not be in vain, but that message is not the only thing you should take from such a harrowing account. Yes, my male friends walk me to my car because they feel that it is not safe for me. Not because I am walking by myself and it is my fault for being unescorted but because there are some unstable people around who see women as targets. I don’t mean to take a certain stance here, but why can’t it be said that the man now charged with Jill’s murder was some sort of nutcase, and Jill’s decision to walk home unescorted had nothing to do with it?
It is so upsetting that this woman, who, by all accounts, was bright, intelligent and a month shy of her 30th birthday, and she didn’t do anything wrong – she just walked home. I think that’s what I find so disturbing and distressing. She was out having a nice time then heading home, someone else made the decision to take her life. I think that’s why everyone, including me, is so upset.
I understand now we have to be careful with what we say online to ensure the man charged is prosecuted and no one knows the full story yet- but my aim with this post was to try to understand why this affected me so without being uncaring towards her family’s and friends’ grief, because as I said, I did not know Jill personally.
I feel for Jill, her family, friends, colleagues and her husband, and I can’t express how they must be feeling. It is such a tragedy. RIP Jill Meagher.