Eurydice and the dark

I have written and deleted this post many times. I have second guessed it and wondered if it can cause harm where I only mean good. I want to say how sad I am that Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered. But my sadness won’t change what happened. I want to say I am angry that I have to take the behaviour of a select few into account when I move about the world. But again, my anger changes nothing. Tonight, vigils are being held in her honour. A young life ended too goddamn soon.

I know why she resonates so strongly with me. She looks a little like I did at her age (I’m 20 in the pic above). A little bit goth, an impish grin and a quirky stance and  the feeling that she was just  starting to make her stamp on the world. She is also a comedian like me, she walked alone at night like me, and she had people who loved her too. But even that feels wrong somehow.

I didn’t know her. I don’t get an automatic right to claim a sisterhood from the little I know of her, but that is one of the many indecencies of what happened to her. The way she died, and the wide brushstrokes of who we strangers understand her to be by the little we know of her life have simplified a complex and unique creature. They have reduced her whole existence to ‘a brutal end to a short life’, and that is outrageously unfair. She may have made a name for herself as a comic, and that’s how I would know what she sounded like when she laughed. Or she may have decided that game wasn’t for her and been a brilliant mum, or a travel writer, or a graphic artist, or a street sweeper, or whatever else she wanted to be, and you and I would never have known her name. But her life would have been her own. As it should be.

She should have been able to walk through that park and to her home. She did nothing wrong. She did not contribute to her death. And yet, we who have done the same thing a thousand times are now more cautious. We are counselling ourselves and each other to stay out of the dark, and away from the unknown. We are trading numbers and schedules and lighting each other’s way. And it’s beautiful, and sad, and enraging.

Whenever a woman meets the violence of a man and the world cries out, I hear the same reaction. “Not all men”. “Don’t brand me with his action”. My gut reaction is anger at their need to make this about them, and rage that they want to silence the warrior in the women who cry out. But I know nothing can come of meeting defensiveness with rage, so I am trying to understand the impulse. I identify powerfully with a woman I never met because I could have been her. Do those men hear an accusation in the fact that some women will subconsciously size up a strange man if we walk past him on the street as to whether he could harm us, and we will put distance between us if we can? Is it that you see yourself as a good man who would never harm a woman and you resent that we will always be a little wary of you? Fair enough. But don’t be frustrated with women for that view. Be pissed off at the men who can’t be civil. Get angry at the animals who have taught women to fear you.

The answer to all this crime and pain and blame and grief isn’t on this page. It certainly isn’t my place to tell you how to feel or who to be. I just hope more of us make it home through the dark.

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