MEN MUST CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOUR – A 22-year old Melbourne stand-up comedian, Eurydice Dixon, was murdered while walking home through a park from her gig one night earlier this week. A 19 year old man, Jaymes Todd, has been charged with her murder. As far as we know the victim and the alleged murderer did not know each other.
In the aftermath, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, wrote a post on Facebook, which has been liked almost 100,000 times and shared over 30,000.
Whenever you read a statement invoking generalisations – no matter how sincere, impassioned and well meaning it is – it always helps to substitute other generalisations and see if the statement is still one you would like to make. For example, how would you react to a conclusion that (all) Muslims do (have to change their behaviour)? Or all immigrants? Or all blacks? Or all Asians? Or all homosexuals? Or all Buddhists? Or indeed all women?
Murderers, rapists, abusers are scum and the lowest of the low – and yes, most of them are men. They should be dealt with by the law as harshly as they deserve. We all as a society, men and women, young and old, have our roles to play in trying to foster the better angels of human nature. Short of some radical genetically engineered utopia, we are unlikely to ever successfully eliminate all crime and all violence. But we have been progressing (you can read Harvard’s Steven Pinker’s book, called not-so-coincidentally “Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” for free here or here; I heartily recommended it) and hopefully we will keep on progressing. With a few tiny exceptions, we all want to live in a safer and nicer and more peaceful world.
In the meantime, however, I’m open to any suggestions from Daniel Andrews, what aspects of my behaviour as a man I – and an overwhelming majority of other men – need to change so that more women won’t die.
P.S. Miranda Devine has a somewhat different take: “Since when does warning women to take care when walking through a dark park at night amount to egregious sexism and victim-blaming?”