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  • Writer's pictureVioleta M. Bagia

We're afraid of monsters, not men

As yet another tragedy strikes Melbourne’s streets, we mourn with Aiia’s family and the rest of Australia as we fall further into the pit of a country we don’t recognize.

Aiia, like so many young women in this country was living her life, contributing to society and enjoying her ‘dream’ of living in Melbourne.

Only days earlier, Aiia posted a picture of herself skydiving, watching kangaroos hopping freely in the wilderness and only days after that, her life was snuffed out by an incomprehensible monster.

Unfortunately this isn’t a first time case, or even a crime that scarcely happens in this country. This is yet another example of how far Australia has yet to come, how much more education we need to give our men and women.

No one has the right to hurt someone, no one has the right to take another life. No one should have to fear being assaulted or killed when they’re trying to get home or walk to work or go for a jog.

The culture must change, the words need to be spoken.

Men, call each other out. Hold each other responsible. Don’t be scared to stand up. This isn’t a time of women, men-bashing, this isn’t a time where women are afraid of men. We’re afraid of monsters.

With each new post that comes out we still see the same, century old mentality of stereotypical gender roles. Why? Why is still the norm? Men are still making jokes about sexual advances, women are still being told to get into the kitchen. What makes someone in 2019 think this is normal?

Somewhere, whether in schools, social media or parenting classes, someone needs to begin the conversation. Teach your boys to respect women and keep teaching them. Don’t stop when they get to school, don’t forget to remind them when they go to uni or start work. Don’t ever stop.

Because nothing, nothing will change until this becomes a part of life, where we finally know that we’re safe, that we don’t have to fear the walk home when night falls.

And this is true for so many people. I for one am anxious about an office move that our company will be making soon. Part of my commute will have to be walking through a park to get to the office, it’s a gorgeous park, full of tranquil gardens and people doing yoga, but when winter comes and the days get shorter, I can’t imagine being on the path alone. I can’t imagine feeling nervous each night when the shift ends, wondering whether I should change my path home or leave work earlier or catch an Uber.

These kinds of thoughts crossed many minds over many generations over many years and this shouldn’t be the case. But the world we have today, makes it so and it won’t change until we start the change ourselves.

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