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Women, violence, and the media--post Meagher

People worldwide were captivated when producer Jill Meagher went missing in the early hours of the morning from an inner-city Melbourne street in Australia. Tragically, her body was found roughly a week later. Local media and commentators did a fair bit of back-patting because very few people raised the: 'Well, what was she doing walking out on the streets, alone, after drinking with her friends?'

Jill Meagher lived only a short walk away from where she met with her friends. Her assailant, Adrian Bayley—who has been imprisoned for 35 years—had a long and violent criminal history. He was a monster and Jill Meagher was his blameless, unwitting victim.


But we shouldn't have been quite so self-congratulatory. Almost two weeks ago, Tracy Connelly was found murdered in a van in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of St Kilda. Initial reports confirmed the murder. Subsequent reports suggested she may have been a sex worker local to the area. (An article on Tracy's life.)

In every report since, Tracy Connelly has been described as a sex worker. The crime was just as violent and disturbing—perhaps more so—but the label takes away so much of the power and devastation of this horrible crime. Women have a right to feel safe walking home at night. Women have a right to feel safe at work, even if that is sex work. The circumstances of Tracy's death are horrible, but the reporting of it is, for the most part, mired in indifference.


I wish I was angry but I just feel disappointed. And the only thing that can make me feel a little less alone is Stewart Lee's epic takedown of Richard Littlejohn from 5:10 of this clip:

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