One third of young Australian women don’t feel they should be out in public places at night. Quite simply, they don’t think it’s safe.
Commissioned by Plan International Australia and Our Watch, a report called A Right to the Night was released this week, and it’s based on the responses of 600 women aged 15 to 19 from all corners of the nation.
A quarter of those questioned also didn’t think young women should travel on public transport alone. Ever.
Many are saying the findings are “shocking”, but I’m sad to admit that they didn’t surprise me one iota.
The fact is, some women, myself included, feel a sense of unease seep into their chests when daylight is over.
It’s something in the back of my mind every night as I walk the block from the bus stop to my house, removing my headphones from my ears and clutching my house keys in hand just in case.
Can you really blame me or the young women who feel strongly that their safety could be jeopardised when the sun sets and the street lights cast their glow onto the pavement?
In March this year, a group of women were celebrating a hen’s night out in Sydney. A witness told News Corp that two men made sexual comments to the group outside a fast food outlet.
“The women defended themselves and he said ‘if you don’t shut up I’ll punch you in the face,” the witness explained.
“He punched four to five girls in the head, holding them by the neck and punching them.”
In November 2013 a then 20-year-old woman was heading home in a taxi after a night out in Ringwood, Victoria. She sat in the front seat and was sexually assaulted by the driver. This week, her perpetrator was spared jail time due to the magistrate’s concerns over the long delays between the attack and charges being laid.
One of the defence counsel, Ben Mallick’s arguments was that “she could’ve avoided this incident happening by sitting in the back seat.”
Yes, as though her horrific ordeal was down to a poor and unfortunate choice of seating.
There are other tragic examples that have been tattooed onto the Australian woman’s psyche.
Jill Meagher, Masa Vukotic, Stephanie Scott.
Masa Vukotic, the 17 year old who was stabbed to death walking in a Melbourne park last March.
Stephanie Scott, the 26-year-old dedicated school teacher who was murdered last year when visiting her school out of hours, just one week before her wedding.