I am desperately saddened by the latest news about Jill Meagher. Mixed in with my sorrow for this poor young woman and her family is fury. I’m angry about the condescending crap spouted by so many people over the last few days about “women’s safety.” This is my response.
So tell me. How far can I walk on my own at night? How many metres, exactly, can I walk unaccompanied without having to fear for my life?
How many drinks am I, an adult woman, allowed to have after work on Friday night before being dismissed as a “party girl” or “asking for it”? How high can my heels be, and how short a skirt can I wear, before being implicated in any crime against me? And, just so that I’m clear, how many metres can I walk to get myself home?
And if something happened to me, how harshly would I be judged? If I vanished on that walk to my front door, what would you have to say about me? Would I be tut-tutted at for not accepting the offer of an escort home? Would idiots take to Facebook to admonish me for supposedly leading some guy on?
Would do-gooders and commentators and Twitterati-types take my parents to task for not raising me to act sensibly? Would they lambast my friends and lovers for not taking adequate care of me? Would everyone in my life suffer because I exceeded my allocated metres of solo walking?
Would every media outlet in the country view my disappearance as an opportunity to point out that, as it happens, women have more to fear in our world than men?
Would you, quietly, at the back of your mind, think that if I’d just stayed home with my partner, like a good wife and woman, none of this would have happened to me?
Are you just looking for one big, smug fucking excuse to say that you told me so?
And just so that we’re absolutely fucking clear, how many metres am I allowed to walk on my own at night?
A small addendum (added 30 September 2012):
Thanks to all who have read, commented and responded. Just to clarify, I am not advocating that anyone put their personal safety at risk for the sake of “principle” – rather, I wrote this post in response to the armchair criticism that certain people made in relation to Jill Meagher’s decisions on the night of her abduction. I wrote a short piece on my Tumblr explaining this further – please read it here if you’d like.
Also, I will not be approving any comments that refer specifically to, or speculate on, the motives of the accused in this case. The Victorian Police have called for restraint on social media in relation to this, and I wish to support them in this.
Addendum to the addendum (added 30 September 2012):
Erm, I also will not be approving comments that contain rape jokes.