Feelings and deep thoughts on Jill Meagher tragedy.

I’ve avoided chiming in on the Jill Meagher story thus far because I didn’t want to just react to the reaction. Now that the horrendous events of that night are official, I feel the need to voice the emotions that I and others are trying to process.

When something this horrific happens so close to home it forces us to reassess our community safety. If shoves the continual issue of gender inequality in our faces and demands consideration, discourse and action.

The emotional aspects of this crime are ones of shock, fear and heartbreak. I have family and friends who live in the area where Jill was abducted. My housemate is female and often rides home late. After such a brutal incident, my instincts want all the women I know to limit their night-life and never go out alone. Yet my sense of justice wants them to feel the same safety that I, as a male, feel in a public space. This is an internal conflict that becomes convoluted when mixed with the intensity of such an upsetting event.

As I leave adolescent life behind, I’ve started to wonder what makes me a man. Being a considerably safe city, the Melbourne streets have seldom triggered my primal impulse to protect others. Only when crimes of this significance take place do I become impelled to seek the physical power needed to unleash my inner ape in dangerous situations. Modern society can create a veneer of security that has made me at times forget the potential for human evil that sits at every corner.

At times like this, I find myself being overcome with a strange rage towards my gender. There is a paradox between wanting women to be equal civilians and being prepared to take a stand agains my fellow men on women’s behalf. Jill’s victimisation reminds us that the ideal society we strive for is still very much at threat from the reality of human flaw; the barbarousness our race retains as decedents of violent and difunctional beasts.

I feel that my personal desires to protect others has become best serviced when reminding myself that there is hope. Reminding myself that positive thought and action will light the future for my sisters, my mother, my housemate, my friends and relatives. Reminding myself that one man cannot combat the evil of another alone. The gender divide will only fall to collaboration.

We have the noble task of creating protection for our community but for now we grieve for Jill and her family. I feel regret that their pain is a reminder that there is still work to be done in making the streets safe for all.

Well done to all those who worked hard to capture the alleged attacker. Thank you to the Victorian Police for efficiency and professionalism.

With patience and clarity of mind, I hope all those in my local and online community can find a personal and interpersonal reconciliation of such a tragedy.

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5 thoughts on “Feelings and deep thoughts on Jill Meagher tragedy.

  1. It’s a terrible, terrible event that should never happen to anyone.Just unfair! So frightening that there are monsters out there that could commit these acts. I pray that Jill rests in peace and her family can eventually overcome this grief. It’s just heartbreaking 😦

  2. Well said. I think a big thing that men can take from something like this is: No one who rapes and murders does so out of the blue. You don’t go from treating women amazingly to suddenly raping and killing them. Little comments, little actions, vague creepiness… It all adds up. If you have a mate who seems a bit suss around women, don’t just brush it off because he’s never done anything to you personally and he’s a fun lad when it’s just the guys. You could be excusing behaviour that will seem incredibly sinister later on. (Obviously not every dickhead is a potential rapist, but let’s attack the “mates-covering-for-mates” mindset anyway.)
    I don’t think all men are rapists or rapist-excusers. I do think there’s a dual culture of, “He’s just being a bloke,” and “She should take care of herself,” that needs to clash and change.
    Also, don’t feel bad for wanting to protect your loved ones right now. I feel exactly the same way. I can’t stop people from raping and murdering, but I CAN bolt my little sister’s door shut from the outside so she can never leave the house again. 😛

  3. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be making political “women versus men” statements right now. That’s not what this is about. Firstly, I’ve followed this, as have so many and I am heartbroken at the outcome. I’m a sole parent to four daughters and a son and it just doesn’t bear thinking about. Secondly, whilst the animal in me wants to strangle the person responsible, the human in me wants to know what his life’s trajectory has been and what aspect of it enabled him to go through with such an horrendous act. People who are taught empathy by deed as children, will find it far more difficult to harm others as adults and although that’s a generalisation, I believe that these are the sorts of thoughts that are far more likely to lead to answers. Revenge, vitriol and ideological rants won’t save the next victim and if anything, will make the problem worse. If we seek to learn from this and to apply the knowledge to our own lives, then we are making a positive contribution in a very personal sense and that’s the best and most dignified way in which to honour the victims. Finally, reading about Jill Meagher’s passing this morning brought me to tears. My heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

  4. “Yet my sense of justice wants them to feel the same safety that I, as a male, feel in a public space.”

    Thank you. This is really important. No one should feel so afraid that they don’t leave the house. Yet this is the sort of thing some people suggest. As you say, it can be an immediate reaction to recent events, and it’s a legitimate reaction, as long as you recognize it as an emotional response and not a course of action.

    You might be interested in reading this blog article from Yes Means Yes:
    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    We can’t lock ourselves away in fear, but we can educate ourselves on the mindsets of people who harass and rape, and we can call out their behaviour when we see it and it is safe for us to do so.

  5. It’s good for me to read this, specifically from a man’s perspective, as many of the women’s sites talk about how men can’t empathize with a women’s vulnerability around these issues of threats that are ‘out there’. I’ve felt terrible sorrow for Jill, for her husband, her parents, her brother, her family & friends – I can only imagine what heartache & shock they’re in tonight having had Jill come home to them in the worst way possible.

    I also feel for so many men in this sickening story – for the one who wanted to walk her home, but respected her choice to go alone; for the ones who walked past her and blue hoodie man in the minute & a half we saw on the CCTV footage, especially the one who did glance back; for her husband, who was sleeping less than 500m from the spot she had her life stolen from her, and strangely (it may seem), for the horrid blue hoodie sicko, possibly the most hated person in Australia today, who was born with a clean slate & has somehow taken a pathway into the abyss of zero empathy or respect for human life.

    And I think its great to just get whatever is in your head-space around this tragedy, out. It’s not always going to be consumed by others as ‘appropriate’ or ‘timely’, but when a story has engulfed our lives like this horrific journey of Jill’s, then we need to be able to grieve somewhere, somehow.

    Thanks for this.

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