17-year-old Masa Vukotic was attacked and stabbed to death by a stranger, whilst walking in a public park in a Melbourne suburb, at about 7 p.m. in the evening on Tuesday.
During an interview on ABC radio on Thursday morning with journalist Fran Kelly, Detective Inspector Mick Hughes, homicide squad, was asked if he had any advice for the local community who, obviously, were freaking the fuck out.
He did have some advice. His advice was directed to "females", and it was that they not be alone in parks.
The interview is linked above, and I've transcribed the pertinent section below. It's at about the 6:00 mark if you want to listen for yourself.
Q. Do you have any advice for the local community, because a random attack like this as I say in the local park, it scares people, it makes them nervous.
A. Absolutely it does. All I was saying yesterday, we just have to be cautious, we have to be safe. A lot has been made of the fact that this poor girl was wearing earphones.
Q. I was just going to ask you about that. That seems to have been a big issue in the reporting of this.
A. I don't think it should be a big issue, people should be allowed to do that but we suggest to people, particularly females, they shouldn't be alone in parks. I'm sorry to say that, that is the case. We just need to be a little bit more careful, a little bit more security conscious. W e as a public need to look after each other. There were four or five witnesses today, really good community people and I'm sure if any one of those had have realised the seriousness of what had occurred, and I'm particularly now talking about the people in the street that he passed, I'm sure we probably had more detail, you know.
Q. I know of course the police are saying to young women 'You've got to be careful, don't walk alone at night' but this was not even night and real life does not have you accompanied - if you want to go jogging, if you want to keep fit, if you want to do whatever you're doing, it's not really practical. Are there other things we should be doing in our parks, some kind of other surveillance measures or alarm measures.
A. I don't think we can live our life in fear. I think we take reasonable precautions. As you know there's a lot of - there's been a lot of advances in things like CCTV. We really just need to look after each other and I guess just be a little bit discrete about where we are. I know it's daylight. I looked at that park and my first thought yesterday was - I used the word, it's like a little enclave. I looked around and thought 'gee this smacks of someone who knows the area, you just would not pick that at random'. That's just my view, we'll see where that takes us.
Look, Detective Inspector. I'm sure Masa Vukotic and her grieving family would be very grateful for your recommendation that if she had wished to not be horribly murdered she should have reconsidered her choice to be female, alone, existing in public. But it's a bit late for her to take that advice, unfortunately. Because she's dead. Not because she was walking in a park, and she failed to use a Womaning in Public app on her phone to check on the current statistical likelihood of her dying that day. She's dead because a man murdered her.
Some people are calling Detective Inspector Hughes on his victim-blaming bullshit. Detective Inspector Hughes is protesting that "We've never actually said that."
P.S. The man charged with Masa Vukotic's murder was known to police in connection to previous violent crimes, including crimes against women. Police are alleging that after murdering Vukotic he committed attacks against other people, including a violent sexual assault.
*waves arms about in badly simulated pantomime of surprise*