Following the sexual assault and murder of Eurydice Dixon, prominent members of the Wagga community share their thoughts on the debate that has ensued.
The body of Eurydice Dixon, 22, was found on the Princes Park field in Melbourne by a passerby about 3am on Wednesday, June 13.
Following the horrific crime, discussion has blown up over how the topic of safety should be discussed.
Gail Meyer, manager of the Wagga Women’s Health Centre, said it is unacceptable to place the onus of the crime on the victim.
“Any situation where the victim of a crime is blamed is inappropriate, it is horrendous,” she said. “The story of Eurydice is such a sad story, but unfortunately it is one we hear all too often and there are so many other crimes that happen where the victim is not blamed.
“If you’re car is stolen the victim is not blamed, but why is it when a horrendous personal crime against women the victims are blamed? It’s unforgivable.”
The 2017 Personal Safety Survey revealed one in two women had experienced sexual harassment in the course of their lifetime. Women aged 18 to 24 were the worst affected, with 38 per cent reporting acts such as inappropriate comments about their bodies and sex life, indecent exposure or grabbing in the past year.
Ms Meyer said the root cause of violence needs to be examined and discussions needed to lead to action.
“Research is showing that it is a gendered crime,” she said. “People’s attitudes such as roles people have in society and women not having a high representation in leaderships roles are all some of the factors that can affect people’s beliefs around individual’s right to be safe.”
District commander of the Riverina Police, superintendent Bob Noble, said police are not victim blaming when it comes to cautioning women to be safe.
“I always say whenever you are going out for the night, doesn't matter if you're a young girl or bloke, the first thing you want to consider is how you’re getting home,” he said
“Yes we blame the offenders, they should be held accountable, but if there is way to avoid risk you should do so. You can’t always eliminate risks, but you should do what you can.”
If you, or someone you know has been affected by sexual harassment call 1800 RESPECT or Wagga Women’s Health Centre on 69213333 and in an emergency 000.