I Walk Home At Night, So It's My Fault, Right?
Please tell me what the alternative is.
For any young woman who dares to walk home at night, they are feeling deeply disturbed by what happened to Eurydice Dixon right now.
Because we are Eurydice.
We’ve sent those texts.
We’ve made jokes about our safety, because it feels better to laugh than live with the fear.
I am deeply disturbed by her death because I walk home alone at night too. Keys threaded through my fingers, headphones off, I throw glances over my shoulder at any movement behind me. This is how I made the seven-minute walk home from the station around 9 pm on Tuesday night.
I think consciously about getting through the dark spots (after the lights of the station, before the next telegraph pole with light) and making it to the safety of the petrol station where I've counted four CCTV cameras. Of course, I don't know if they're actually recording and therefore can’t fully trust or rely on them, but it weirdly comforts me to think they are.
Four more minutes.
A few weeks ago my housemate and I had a conversation about the cameras and I told her how I consciously think about being recorded by them, as Jill Meagher was. I joked that I almost give them a smile and wave, aware of the timestamp I’m making.
I think about the ridiculousness of the last Instagram story I made. If something happened to me, maybe they could trace me back to the last Insta story I took. I sometimes make them on this walk home. Perhaps they'd see I was fine at 9.15 pm when I was talking about how I didn’t enjoy Ocean’s Eight. How ridiculous.
I note the white van outside the open garage next to the driveway with a pile of timber, forensically cataloguing my observations in case I need to recall them later for a police report.
I take all these precautions every day, every single day, and if something happens to me, is it my fault because I was in one of those dark spots?
Now we look back at Eurydice’s work and life. The portentous time where she said she was worried about gender inequality in one of her comedy sets and we feel a sharp sting for how aware she was that this could happen to her -- and then it did. She was aware of the danger, and that makes it even harder to sit with, because I am too.
Will this article you’re reading right now become a foreshadowing piece of a puzzle, something that makes you feel the sadness more acutely and look back and think, she was aware it could happen to her, and yet it did.
And some dare to say women let it happen. Because it's not a matter of if this will happen again, it's if this will happen to me.
Please tell me what the alternative is. Tell me. Don't be out after dark? I guess that means not working in winter. Pay for an Uber or taxi? It's less than 10 minutes walk. Quicker if you run. Easier to get away if you're on a bike.
This is the way we, young women brave enough with enough courage to go out at night, have to think, and what happened to Eurydice Dixon drives this home.
So when I’m walking home from the station tonight, I’ll be thinking about Eurydice.
About how I get to go to work on Monday and she doesn’t.
How I get to go to a party with my friends on Saturday, and she won’t.
I get to live out my cliche dreams and make all the mistakes that will come along with them.
That is, of course, if nothing happens to me on the seven-minute walk home.