Melbourne was in shock following the rape and murder of well-loved comedian Eurydice Dixon on the 12 June 2018 as she was walking home from a comedy event. A vigil was held near where Eurydice Dixon died in Princess Park the following week and was attended by the over 10,000 people. Directly following the vigil, Julie Kun, CEO of WIRE (Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc), wrote the following article, posted on WIRE’s Facebook page and reposted with permission here.
Julie Kun is the CEO of WIRE (@WIREwomensinfo), the only Victoria-wide free generalist information, support and referral service run by women for women.
It's been an incredibly tough week
On Monday night I stood with 20,000 other people, holding candles against the darkness and the cold, in silence, as we mourned the loss of another young woman.
This powerful moment of grief was important, for the community, for all of us, and as someone said on the night, the politics comes later.
But not too much later.
We’ve held enough vigils, haven’t we? For Jill Meagher, for Eurydice Dixon. Years of Reclaim the Night marches. And so many others like Qi Yu whose murder last week slipped by with little attention.
We need structural and cultural change, and we need the funding to ensure it happens:
- The media must hold people to account for their violence and publish the phone numbers of men’s behaviour change support lines at the end of every article about family and relationship violence, or public violence, rather than just publishing phone numbers for victim/survivors.
- We need to build on the Victorian government’s respectful education training initiative so that all primary schools across Australia can provide respectful relationships education training.
- We need to train all police officers in critical receptive listening skills to ensure police believe women’s stories and understand key behaviours of trauma survivors.
- We need specialist women’s violence liaison officers to listen to women’s reports and to encourage women to report violence.
- We need to train police media spokespeople to deliver appropriate responses to acts of violence that hold perpetrators to account and do not victim blame.
- We need funding to identify poorly lit areas of our cities and to increase lighting in those areas.
- We need even more funding for prevention of violence against women, so that all men who use family violence can be offered a tailored and responsive intervention to support the safety of women and children.
- We need consent training and violence diversion programs to be a part of the justice response for all juvenile offenders.
WIRE is grateful to the Victorian government for its current focus and funding for primary prevention programs — WIRE itself has recently received funding to roll out our exciting Lead For Change program. Lead for Change will provide education and support to our fantastic volunteers so that they can have conversations with people in their local communities about topics such as men’s violence against women. Conversations such as these will change attitudes and behaviours about violence against women being acceptable or unavoidable. Violence should never be an option.
Together, we can be an incredible voice for change, but we need to speak up. We need to keep up the momentum. Will you join us?
Thank you for everything you do.
Julie Kun, WIRE CEO