Eurydice Dixon: Changing the culture of sexual entitlement

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Thousands attend a vigil for murdered comedian Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne (Screenshot via abc.net.au)

Jane Salmon was assaulted as a young girl and continues to live with the trauma. She shares her very personal response to the murder of young comedian, Eurydice Dixon.

THANK YOU to those who have celebrated the wit and vibrancy of Eurydice Dixon.

A target – regardless of gender, race, culture or colour – may not be wealthy enough for cabs or Uber or a car.

There is rarely a train or bus. People get attacked in carparks and on bikes (well, I have). The person who walks you home is possibly as vulnerable as you are.

The thing is, advice such as “don’t go out independently” is rarely an option for young women or men. They have to study and work. There are dangers at home. Rattling on about the lack of safety of just some areas or situations is to deny the ubiquity of the problem.

The autism of Ms Dixon’s alleged attacker is a good reason to continue to improve access to autism therapy, but not an excuse for harming anyone. By virtue of his age, the alleged attacker missed out on early intervention. There may have been better-trained teachers if we also had Gonski for disability. And there should be no cuts to the NDIS.

These are a bargain compared to the cost of a life… or a life spent in gaol. Folk with high functioning variants of autism need the therapies to help shape their awareness of the individual choices of others. And to operate successfully at work.

The whole situation is dire. We must get the wrongness of rape through to men. Where does a sense of sexual entitlement come from?

Men and women should never have dominion over another autonomous person’s body. Never. 

People with intellectual disabilities can usually be taught that. So how about the “neurotypical”? 

Frankly, modern women need Viking lessons from an early age. Apparently, most female Vikings were too tough to mess with. There's a lot to be said for that. This pacificist is beginning to identify with sword-wielding grannies.

I certainly wish someone had taught me to be less meek before I was crash tackled as a daggy, naive 17-year-old in a university library carpark (the bike, a fine weapon, was crook). I got away with only mild strangulation, a broken arm, a split lip and gravel rash. I got out of there because I was lucky. Context is everything, this side of death. Earlier exposure to domestic violence didn’t help.

My screams were reported to police. They didn’t come. Then they blamed the assault on the warmer weather. Really!

I’ve subsequently been triggered on buses; in economics tutorials, with rugger types; at some workplaces; and, generally, anywhere near all-male institutions. Relationships can be awkward. It’s quite a load to carry. 

It was a long time ago. But it wasn’t okay then and it sure as hell is intolerable now.

Fancy taking a life just because you can’t “handle” yourself properly! Apparently, the vandals of Eurydice’s death site think that’s okay. 

Now, I’m the mother of boys with some autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). I was with them seeing an expensive, but wonderful, private therapist at the time of Eurydice’s vigils. And, in a sense, I have been holding a vigil for decades. I am working to raise caring, respectful males. 

I am grieving for Eurydice Dixon, but also for every person who has become habituated to a culture where sexual violence or abuse seems “normal”. 

We have a long, long way to go.

You can follow Jane Salmon on Twitter @jsalmonupstream.

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