How many women can you name that have been murdered in 2018?
One? Two? Four? 31 women have been murdered this year, and most would struggle to name more than one, that of Eurydice Dixon, a talented young woman murdered last week.
Ms Dixon was murdered as she walked from a gig, shortly after texting her friend that she was safe, and almost home.
Her body would be located by members of the public, and the police would warn women to have “situational awareness”, to take care, be aware of their surroundings.
Ms Dixon’s death, and this messaging from police, have created an outrage in the community – and rightly so. The public is furious that women are being told, yet again, that we can somehow stop our attacks, and that we can somehow keep ourselves safer.
Whilst the community outrage grows, Ms Dixon’s friends and acquaintances remember Ms Dixon as a loved woman, a talented woman, a woman who had so much to live for, so much time. And she should have.
As should have the other women murdered in 2018.
There’s a certain sense of whataboutery that’s about to come here. And it feels tacky to write it. Like the men who come to articles and posts discussing violence against women and cry “what about the men!” But Ms Dixon was the 31st woman murdered this year, and there’s not been nearly this much outrage about the other 30 women. This could be for many reasons – like the death of Jill Meagher in 2012, women relate easily to Ms Dixon. She was walking home after a gig, like so many of us have done. She texted a friend to say she was safe, like so many of us do. And yet her life was taken, in a way that many of us fear.
For some reason, the other victims did not elicit such empathy, such awareness, such outrage.
Some of them barely rated a few lines of a news article, with barely a follow up if someone was charged. Some, a few tweets, a few “let’s stop this”. The victims of domestic violence garner more outrage, more coverage, more social media inches. But they don’t elicit the same outrage, the same curiosity.
Sally Roethe was murdered in February this year, and it would be some time before police would locate her alleged killer. There was media coverage, but mostly surrounding the man hunt, and not Ms Roethe. We know barely anything about her life, and most would not even know her name.
Le Ngoc Le was murdered in Melbourne's north west when out walking her dogs. Who was Ms Le? We know her age, and precious little else about her.
Due to the horror of the murders in Margaret River, we heard about Katrina and Cynda Miles.
But who are Marija Karovska, Debbie Combarngo, Noura Khatib, Katie Haley, Margaret Indich, Antonia Tatchell, Amelia Blake, Nancy Barclay, Mary Freeman, Radmila Stevanovic, Marija Karovska, Simone Fraser, Teah Rose Luckwell, Kay Shirley Dix, Ros Thomson, Cecelia Haddad, Ingrid Enalanga, Karen Ashcroft, Caroline Willis, Gail Winner, Qi Yu, and the many women who cannot be named?
These are all "someone's mother, sister, daughter", they're all someone. They're all someones who are deserving of vigils, of outrage, of horror at their deaths.
And we need to start talking about this – about them all. Because we have had 31 women killed in 24 weeks of 2018, and nothing is changing. Men are suspected in over 90 percent of these murders, and we are not having conversations with men on how to stop violence. These women are someone's mother, sister, daughter – and their murderers are someone's father, brother, sons – in many cases, it's their own.
Telling women to have situational awareness, telling us to keep ourselves safe isn't working – we are already doing everything we can.
So imagine if we had this outrage, this action, this condemnation every time a woman was murdered. Imagine if we mobilized every time. Yes, it would be exhausting. As someone who tracks the deaths of women in Australia, I can tell you it is exhausting. But maybe this is how we bring about change. Maybe this is how we bring about the discussions we need to have. Maybe this is how we keep women safe.
Ms Dixon’s life was important. It is important. Her death should not be for nothing. And nor should any of the other 30 women who have been murdered in 2018.