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Jill Meagher was doing what thousands of ordinary young women do
I know it’s Grand Final eve, but the fun can wait because I believe today tens of thousands of people will be grieving for a person they didn’t know.
Jill Meagher, of Brunswick and Ireland, is dead – which we all feared and suspected. Raped and murdered, police allege, in the early hours of Saturday morning after she was abducted in Coburg.
There will be so much grief today because much of the country had an emotional investment in this.
She wasn’t a crook, she wasn’t one of the players in the gangland wars, and she wasn’t a heroin addict in a dark alley.
And that is the shock. She was just an ordinary young woman enjoying life and doing what thousands of ordinary young women do.
My daughter, your daughter, your friends, your wife. That is the shock and the grief here.
Somehow we expect murder to happen to other people. To people who somehow are part of a different world or taking absurd risks.
She wasn’t part of a different world, and she was doing why any person – male or female – should be able to do in a civilised society.
She was walking a short distance home after a night out for God’s sake. And this is Melbourne; you’re supposed to be safe in Melbourne. This is like a breach of trust.
I know women need to take more care than men because bad men are predators and they prey on women, but anybody should be able to walk a few hundred metres home in inner Melbourne on a Saturday morning without risking their life.
That isn’t why we are shocked and grieving. This comes home and makes us all feel vulnerable, and disgusted too. Disgusted that in this town at this time, a woman can be at risk just because she is living her life.
But we need to talk about this, we need to think about this, we need to learn if it is possible.
We need to learn from this.
Why did this touch you? Why did the case of Jill Meagher concern you? Will it change your habits, make you more aware of your security?
I have a daughter a similar age. I talk to her about security often because I’ve seen bad things and still report bad things.
But this murder of Jill Meagher will be one of that is remembered twenty years from now.
It has been a dramatic and painful night. Police at this stage are not alleging anybody else was involved.
Will this make a difference? Will it change habits? Driving in before 5:00am this morning, I saw a young woman leaving a nightclub walking up King Street alone.
It’s a well-lit area with cabs and people around. She should be able to do that – any person should.
But will they now?
You know all the white ribbons and campaigns. Women are still at risk.
Nor from every man – the vast majority are decent. But some men are predators, as I said, and they prey on women.
UPDATE: It’s believed the body of 29-year-old missing ABC employee Jillian Meagher has been found by police approximately 50 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. Coburg man Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, was charged with Jillian’s rape and murder early this morning.
NEIL MITCHELL: Can everybody just settle down a little over this case of the missing Brunswick woman, Jill Meagher. This is an awful time for her friends and family and what is possibly a tragedy is unfolding here, but the innuendo and speculation is disturbing
SLY OF THE UNDERWORLD: The Age's premiere crime reporter praises the Homicide Squad’s efforts in finding and charging Adrian Ernest Bayley over Jill Meagher’s alleged rape and murder, while calling for people to report any suspicious activity.
DERRYN HINCH: You have to think, that if the mystery man in the blue hoodie had nothing to do with the disappearance of Jill Meagher, then he would have made himself known to Police by now. Read more.
Please feel free to leave a tribute to Jill and her family below. However any comments which may be deemed as prejudicial to the case, contain speculation or are in very poor taste will not be published.
Time to allow women to carry mace with them when walking alone.Peggy Tuesday 2 October, 2012 - 4:54 PM
I am praying for you. I am so sorry for your huge loss.Margo Gabriel Monday 1 October, 2012 - 10:30 PM
There are two issues here that further worry me. Apparently there werea number of woman in this area who were harassed or attacked by a man. Some did not report this to police and that is a problem that needs to be addressed. But more concerning is the fact that some did report their experience to Brunswick police but were apparently fobbed off and no notes were taken by police even when the attack was verbally very threatening. Maybe a profile of a serial attacker would have emerged and could have been acted on. Nothing happened till someone disappeared. Why? I wish Neil could ask Ken Lay about this.Messa Sunday 30 September, 2012 - 10:30 PM
I just wanting to let you know that this Rape and Murder has really hit me. When I hear or see the News I just cry. I feel so sorry for the Family and my heart goes out to them. May she rest in peaceSandra Vaughan Sunday 30 September, 2012 - 3:14 PM
Such a waste. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends. Time will heal you some, but we will never forget.Dan Sunday 30 September, 2012 - 5:19 AM
I have never felt such sadness for such a beautiful young woman who was just doing what all of us have done my love to her remarkable husband and family may you be strong and find peace in the days months and years aheadDebDen Saturday 29 September, 2012 - 11:04 PM