Content warning: This post contains themes of gendered violence some may find triggering.
Jill Meagher was walking home from the pub when she was violently kidnapped, raped and murdered in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick in 2012.
It took just six days for authorities to catch the 29-year-old’s killer, roughly six hours for him to confess and six minutes for a judge to remand him in custody.
Even though the ABC staffer was walking home to meet her husband, some areas of the media and public latched onto details to place blame for the senseless crime. Her clothes and high heels, and the fact she’d been drinking with friends before deciding to walk home alone.
But we knew her name. We knew her story. She was our friend and neighbour, and it was this public knowledge that helped catch her killer.
Tracy Connelly, on the other hand was a nameless ‘St Kilda sex worker’.
When the 40-year-old was similarly murdered in 2013 by a client in the white Ford Econovan she called home, she was just another statistic; the implication being she was killed due to the lifestyle she chose to lead.
Tracy’s murder is still unsolved today.
These events inspired Australian writer and film maker, Sarah Jayne to highlight exactly what’s wrong with this kind of victim blaming culture.
Her award-winning short film and awareness project, Daughter explores the role victim blaming plays in gendered violence through the eyes of three very different women.
"I noticed there was a lot of opposing coverage in regards to how [Jill and Tracy] were being portrayed as human beings in the media, that got my attention because we all felt for Jill, but it was different for Tracy," Sarah told Mamamia.
"It struck me because I was living in St Kilda at the time, and I wanted to know why and more about our behaviours in how we react to things."
Starring 13 Reasons Why's Katherine Langford, Daughter was made with the goal of challenging people's thought processes and attitudes towards gender violence and victim blaming in our communities by taking a crucial first step of starting the discussion.
The film follows three women - a 19-year-old girl heading out with older friends, a sex worker on shift and a journalist having a drink with friends - chronicling their actions across one night of violence.
Documenting the events through the lenses of three women of different ages, demographics and occupations is central to Daughter's main point, which is that we the viewers instinctively feel biased about what is happening to these women.
"When the viewers see these women doing things like drinking, taking drugs, wearing different clothes, we react differently to each character whether we mean to or not," Sarah explained.
"I want the audience to question why - is it what they're doing, how they're behaving, their occupation, or is it what they're wearing? Do we feel they deserved it because of any of these factors?
"It comes back to gender roles, self-respect and the respect we have for each other. It's so important to learn that how the way we speak or think about other people and ourselves enhances the effects victim blaming can have on our society."
Following a screening at Waverly TAFE, Sarah is hoping to expand Daughter's use as an educational tool for secondary students and young adults studying social and gender studies, as well as a fundraising avenue for gendered violence organisations.
Although similar films and TV shows like 13 Reasons Why and To The Bone are seen by some as dangerous for young people, Sarah believes we need more of these kinds of media presented in a way young people can consume and relate to.
LISTEN: Are TV shows and films like 13 Reasons Why helpful or dangerous? (post continues after audio...)
"I liked 13 Reasons Why because it talked about the things we don't talk about with our children. We don't talk about consent and gendered violence with our kids enough and how they feel when they're out on the street and how they treat their friends," she said.
"Giving a tangible name and visual to the victim blaming language we're using, especially in schools is important because often people are talking and thinking in a certain way but not making the connection as to why it's not OK.
"We need films like Daughter to get conversations started, raise awareness and make change."
In partnership with BeamaFilm, Daughter is now streaming through selected libraries and in September, BeamaClub will have Daughter on the list of films able to be used in libraries to hold screenings of up-to 30 people, followed by a discussion on the film's topics.
To implement Daughter into your classroom teachings please go to Beamafilm or ATOM, where you can now stream the film online.