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[personal profile] clappamungus
Dear Jill Meagher,

I didn't know you. I likely would never have even crossed your path. But, thanks to the media, both social and traditional, your appealing face is now known to perhaps every Australian with a television and/or an internet connection. And it's branded into my brain.

Everyone knows you were walking home, just five minutes away from your place and your bloke, when some lowlife arsehole abducted you, raped you, and killed you.

As rare as these crimes may be here, you were yet another innocent, just going home, probably thinking of nothing in particular until WHAM! Everything changed. Not just for you, but for all the loved ones who were left behind. And, thanks to the social media machine that led police to your "alleged" killer, for all the people who now know everything about you, the circumstances of your death, the guy who ("probably") did it, and, maybe the final indignity, those who are now claiming you for their own pet cause.

Your death has become public property. People are grieving for you, and over what you represent. People who love Brunswick and are angry about the media representation of the place as dangerous are bemoaning the fact that it's now being painted as haven for rapists. Reactionary mongrels like the despicable Andrew Bolt are using your death for an argument for more surveillance, law and order. Just as reactionary and moronic leftists like the antibogan@wordpress used it as a platform to claim that fascist white males would be disappointed that your killer was an Aussie born, white male (paraphrasing).

But for me, all that wasn't the worst thing. It was going to work today, sitting in the office, and hearing people over at the next bunch of tables talking about you so flippantly. Casually. One bright spark saying that it happens all the time in America, and we're just not used it it over here. A girl saying, matter-of-factly, that she walks around Brunswick all the time and doesn't worry about being raped and murdered. Another girl speculating that maybe your attacker didn't mean to kill you, but got carried away.

And all the while, I listened with my heart at the bottom of my feet. It seemed so wrong, to be hearing this sort of talk about a fellow human being bandied about with such glibness. I know part of it was people's way of deconstructing it, coming to terms with it, but it still seemed too cavalier. The fact that your life was ended so suddenly, so senselessly...surely some sort of gravitas would be more appropriate here? And yes, the same should be said for all the senseless human deaths that occur. But you are now a household name due to the hype, and it's horrible to think that you have become a commodity, essentially a media consumable, and that you'll be spat out once the news cycle has inevitably come full circle and people have forgotten about you.

So I'd like to go a bit further, to mourn for you in my own way. Even though I never knew you, and even though it's self-indulgent.

I'm sorry that you met with such an end. I'm sorry that any woman can seemingly be a random (or, let's face it, not so random) target for such a monster as the man who took your life. I hope that in your final moments, you managed to block out what was happening to you.

I hope that your family, your loved ones, can remember the good about you, and that your memory won't be sullied by the actions of one evil man.

I wish that we could live in a world where this sort of thing did not happen. I really do.

And, even though the same public interest may eventually (hopefully) lead to the justice which is so sorely needed, I'm sorry that your life, your end, and the lives of your nearest and dearest are now open to the sort of public scrutiny that is reserved for celebrities and other assorted commodities. You deserved none of this.

Rest in Peace.


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March 2013

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