I didn’t know Jill Meagher, and neither did you.
There’s so few words to say about something like this. But I do know this – though we didn’t know her, it is appropriate for us to grieve.
I grieve her death with a particular pain and horror that only survivors of street violence might understand.
I survived my unknown attacker in a blue hoodie, walking alone at night, and for the last couple of months I’ve convinced myself that it was ‘only’ this and ‘only’ that, but yesterday as I stood heaving in panic over my sink, the knowledge that my survival was not lucky or a result of my actions but just a product of the fickle hand of fate – hit me like a tonne of bricks to the windpipe. I could easily, so fucking easily, have been Jill Meagher.
I think of Jill Meagher and I want to crawl back into my cave and stay off the streets at night. I think of the people blaming her for her own death because she had the audacity to walk alone at night, and I want to throw things at walls, wail – the reaction is visceral because despite all my wordiness, I can only feel a great knot of terror, anger and helplessness rise in me. And it stays there – a knotted cord of despair unable to worm to the outside.
Do you know how many women around this country feel similar right now? I can’t fathom the number.
The world is not safe for you if you are a woman. There are men who want to find you and hurt you. I wish we had another truth but there are people, usually men, who want to make sure we don’t live and breathe in safety.
I’ve given up on thinking we can change anything. I don’t think we can. All we can do is arm ourselves, be vigilant, and know that nothing is enough, it isn’t our fault.
Most of all, let us honour our screams, ignore the world and mourn our sister.
Goodbye Jill Meagher. You deserved so very much more.
Please take a moment to think of her respectfully with Everything’s Turning To White (Paul Kelly).
It was too hard to tell how long she’d been dead, the river was that close to freezing
But one thing for sure, the girl hadn’t died very well to judge from the bruising
They stood there above her all thinking the same thoughts at the same time
There’s so much water so close to home