Triple j Drive host Gen Fricker has shared some powerful words in light of the recent tragedy surrounding the sexual assault and murder of Melbourne comedian, Eurydice Dixon.
The 22-year-old woman was attacked while walking home from a gig she’d been performing on Tuesday night, with her body found in a North Carlton park in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The horrific crime prompted renewed warnings from police for women to be more “aware of their surroundings” and take responsibility for their own safety, which in turn sparked a social media backlash from the ladies of Australia, who are sick of the onus being placed on them to change their own behaviour in order to feel safe.
And now, Gen has added her voice to the conversation, calling for an end to the so-called “monster myth” and claiming that Eurydice Dixon “could have been any of us”.
“It’s infuriating to be told, ‘Oh, you need to look out for yourself better and you need to be more aware of the dangers’, when I think that women are so, so aware of the dangers,” Gen says, arguing that change needs to come from other men calling out their mates for disrespectful and intimating behaviour towards women at the most basic level, before it has a chance to escalate to things like rape and murder.
“If you are a man and you see your friends making someone feel uncomfortable, if you see them making a remark to a woman or you see your mates on social media attack a woman or say something nasty about her: call them out,” Gen says.
“That’s where this starts. These men aren’t formed in a vacuum. It’s not like that. It grows from those little things. So, I think if you really feel powerless in the face of something as tragic as this, that is one thing you can do to make women feel safer.”
Read her incredible speech below, or listen to the audio right here.
Gen Fricker: ‘Eurydice Dixon could have been any of us’
Earlier this week, there was some incredibly tragic news about the death of a young woman called Eurydice Dixon.
Eurydice was a comedian and she was 22-years-old. After doing a gig the other night, she was walking home. She was later found dead, just minutes from where she had been performing, just a few hours before.
As someone who is a comedian, as someone who is in that community, I have just seen so many of my friends devastated by this news. And beyond those communities, I’ve seen people absolutely shattered by what has happened here, because she could have been any of us.
We’ve all walked home after a night out or even just after work or whatever, because we haven’t had money to get a cab or we couldn’t get on to public transport or there wasn’t public transport where we were going. We’ve all walked home alone and this time it just — someone decided to make sure that that she wouldn’t make it home. And I’ve just been thinking about it for so long, because I’ve seen so many beautiful things come out of something that is so mind-numbingly tragic.
Last time I checked there’s been like $45,000 raised in Eurydice’s name to go to charities and to go to her family. I’ve seen all of the women I know try and approach this problem, of women being assaulted and women being attacked in the streets, and figure out how to better protect ourselves. Women I know have been sharing their phone numbers with each other and making sure that people have enough money to get home or calling ride shares or making sure that they are looking out for each other. I’ve seen people pitch apps, being like ‘can we do something to record where these things are happening and spread awareness about places to avoid?’.
And then I’ve seen people, like the police, come out and say people need to be more aware of the dangers around them. And that’s when I saw all of the grief and all of the sadness turn into anger. I’ve seen so many women that I know so angry that they’re being told to look after themselves better or to be more aware of the risks when women have always done that.
I was trying to think, when did I start carrying my keys in my fist when I was walking home at night? Who taught me that?
I just started doing it, but I don’t remember when. Who taught me to keep my eyes down when I walk past a group of men at night when I’m by myself? Who taught me to text my friends when I get into a cab alone? Or just laugh off men who push boundaries with you and try and make you feel uncomfortable? I don’t remember when I learnt those things or who taught them to me, but I just do them. It’s a reflex. And I know so many women who do that. So, it’s infuriating to be told, ‘Oh, you need to look out for yourself better and you need to be more aware of the dangers’, when I think that women are so, so aware of the dangers.
And so, it just made me think about after Jill Meagher’s death. Her partner Tom wrote this essay called ‘The danger of monster myth’ and basically it’s about how often we think that the men who attack women in the streets like this — or even men who attack women in their own homes, places where they should feel safe — that they’re somehow not ordinary men. That they’re monsters or they’re subhuman or that they were born evil.
But the truth is that all of these men are ordinary. They have families and they have friends and they have jobs and they go to school — there’s nothing special about the men that do this — but when we say that about them, we somehow make it like it’s this unstoppable thing, that it’s predestined, that these things are always going to happen…
So, while I see women trying to solve this problem I think something to keep in mind, especially because it’s Friday and I know that so many people are going to go out tonight and walk home or expect to get home safely, there’s something I really want to ask of you. If you are a man and you see your friends making someone feel uncomfortable, if you see them making a remark to a woman or you see your mates on social media attack a woman or say something nasty about her: call them out.
That’s where this starts. These men aren’t formed in a vacuum. It’s not like that. It grows from those little things. So, I think if you really feel powerless in the face of something as tragic as this, that is one thing you can do to make women feel safer.