Nearly six years ago, in the early hours of the 22nd of September, 2012, Jill Meagher left drinks at a pub in Brunswick street and began walking home.
It was late – or early, depending on how you consider it; perhaps around 1.30am.
In the short walk between the bar and her home, Jill Meagher encountered a man named Adrian Bayley. He did not know her and she did not know him. He raped her and then he killed her, burying her body in a shallow grave some 50 kilometres from where he first found her.
Australia was angry and defiant and sad and brimming with despair. They took their emotions to the streets.
On September 30, 2012, a 10,000 person-strong crowd walked the streets of Melbourne. Some held signs, none chanted and not one yelled. The message was quiet but deafening: Violence against women is not tolerated, and we’re willing to walk for it. A year later, some 30,000 people turned out to do the same thing on the anniversary of her death.
But of course, you know this already.
The case of Jill Meagher seized the nation, the country collectively and loudly horrified by the fate of the young 29-year-old. Women deserve to feel safe in their own city, we said. They should feel safe in their own suburbs and on their own streets. We despaired for a world where darkness was a woman’s biggest enemy, a world that encouraged her to avoid danger, to exist around and in spite of it, rather than crushing the source of it with all of our might.
Some five and a half years after our despair was a national conversation, 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon was walking home from a gig in Carlton. She was a comedian, an up-and-coming one.