The tragedy and travesty that is the violent rape and murder of an innocent young woman in Melbourne not too long ago, cannot be overstated enough. It's horrific and a sad sign of the times, where a woman cannot walk through her neighbourhood without a fear of attack or assault.
There has, however, seemed to be a trend on blanketing the responsibility on all men to change, after the perhaps cumbersome comments from Victoria Police, putting the onus on women to be more cautious and vigilant. Many people, men and women alike, lambasted the police for not putting the focus on men.
“This is an area of high community activity,” said local superintendent David Clayton. “So just make sure you have situational awareness, that you’re aware of your surroundings. If you’ve got a mobile phone carry it and if you’ve got any concerns, call police.”
High profile people spoke out such as Clementine Ford and in particular, Lisa Wilkinson on The Project, saying that this is a male problem and men need to change. Even Premier Daniel Andrews contributed, saying "Go about your day exactly as you intend, on your terms, because women don't need to change their behaviour. Men do."
I am not quite sure what exactly men should be doing to change this, but it seems clumsy to suggest that making a public statement that men should not rape and murder women will achieve anything. It simply won't. We live in a world that is not a Utopia, and there are predators. There always have been, and always will be. The statement of Victoria Police was not to blame women for anything, rather exercise common sense in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, and don't put yourself in a situation where you may be unable to protect yourself should an attack take place.
Many argued that this is a not a problem for men, but it is. Most of us will not walk down a dark path or park at night, and if we did, we would be ready to run or fight if trouble was to occur. That's just plain precaution. I agree that men are generally stronger and have a higher tendency toward violence than women due to our testosterone, but that is the universe we occupy and in that universe, it makes sense for women to exercise more caution than men.
Gallantoro strives to bring back the sense of the Gentlemanly behaviour of old, one where men showed respect to everyone, not only women. But even if those times were resurrected, as is the goal, there will still be predators. There will still be evil. And we will still need to be cautious.