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Tom Meagher reveals his "unhealthy obsession" with his wife's killer.

By SHAUNA ANDERSON

Tom with his wife Jill.
Tom with his wife Jill.

He has turned his anger and grief into something he hopes is constructive “not destructive” but Tom Meagher – the husband of Jill Meagher has told an Irish journalist he still has thoughts of revenge on his wife’s convicted rapist.

It was two-years ago when Tom’s wife Jill was raped and murdered in Brunswick – she was found in a shallow grave six days later 50km from her home.

Jill had been walking home from a night out.

The public response to her murder was widespread. More than 30,000 people marched down Sydney Road in her memory three days after she was found.

A serial rapist who was out on parole at the time was jailed for 35 years for the crimes.

But for Tom Meagher living in the same city where his wife was murdered was too much. Meager left Melbourne to return to live in Ireland mid way through this year saying

“I found it very difficult to live in a city where something like that happened – not because that usually happens in that city just because it happened to Jill,”

He took up a position with White Ribbon Ireland in the hopes to get men to think more deeply about the culture of masculinity.

“The idea is to make it very clear, that you are not going to enable this, that you are not going to involve yourself in a conversation if it goes to topics that are denigrating women,”

Not all rapists are monsters.
Not all rapists are monsters.
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In a recent Irish radio interview on RTE Radio he said that he had gone through an obsession with finding out how Jill’s attacker  had come to be free and rape and murder Jill.

Focusing on him as an individual was damaging in a way, too much of an obsession, but I got through that and over it.”

Tom has written before of how society needs to understand that not all rapists are “monsters”.

In a post for Mamamia he wrote that

“The monster myth perpetuates a comforting lack of self-awareness. When I heard [Jill’s murderer] forming sentences in court, I froze because I’d been socialised to believe that men who rape are jabbering madmen, who wear tracksuit bottoms with dress shoes and knee-high socks.

The only thing more disturbing than that paradigm is the fact that most rapists are normal guys, guys we might work beside or socialise with, our neighbours or even members of our family.

 

He told Irish radio that Jill’s attacker is “beyond help”. He said he knows some “bits about his upbringing” which included physical abuse by his father, sexual abuse by a woman and a “cycle of violence”.

“I suppose in regards to him – I’m quite blinkered. I think he has done this too many times, the same crime. There’s no way back from that.”

When asked if he could ever forgive his wife’s killer Tom Meagher said “Absolutely not”

“He occupies my thoughts… And when he does, I wish him harm. That is not a pleasant thing to say or a pleasant thing to feel. But it’s the truth.”

He has spoken previously about his anguish over the parole board’s decision to release Jill’s attacker.

Tom on Adrian Bayley "I wish him harm"
Tom: “I wish him harm”

However in his work with White Ribbon what he wants to focus upon is changes to the “sexist and patriarchal society we live in”.

Tom Meagher has told media often of how he reads a quote every day by Maya Angelou

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

“Male self-examination requires this courage” he says “and we cannot end the pattern of men’s violence against women without consciously breaking our silence.”

If you are in immediate danger call Triple 0

Contact White Ribbon http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/

National Domestic Assault family violence counseling service 1800 737 723

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