At around 3am on Wednesday a passerby found the body of Australian comedian Eurydice Dixon on the Prices Park field in Carlton North. On Wednesday night Jaymes Todd, 19, handed himself into police in Melbourne for the rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon.
It is thought Todd attacked Dixon at around 11 pm. She was 22. She had been walking home from a gig.
Tributes have poured in for the comedian, The Highlander Bar in Melbourne, where Dixon performed her final gig said she was a “remarkable, talented, kind, unique and universally loved person.”
By unfortunate coincidence, this July it will be 25 years since Mia Zapata, frontwoman of The Gits, was beaten, raped and murdered on her way home from a gig in Seattle. She was 27.
We talk about childcare, sexist promoters and dying on stage but, oddly, the risk of dying while walking home it isn’t something we’ve addressed at Funny Women when discussing issues specific to women who go into live comedy. And I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because there are already enough barriers up for any woman wanting to start in comedy. Maybe because we don’t want to add to the misdirected fear that’s always whipped up when a woman is killed, I mean, statistically I should worry more about the safety of a woman once she gets home if she has a father or partner waiting for her there than who she encounters on the route she takes.
But both Zapata’s and Dixon’s murders seem to have been random and I guarantee you if there is a comment section anywhere near reports regarding Dixon’s murder people will remark on the time she left the venue, was she wearing that mini dress she’s pictured in? Why didn’t she take a taxi? Why was she alone, or more likely, who let her leave by herself? And why was she walking through the park at night?
As Cosmopolitan noted the police response when Dixon’s body was found was to urge people to take steps to keep safe: “Women are being killed all over Australia every single week and still, the onus is on us to not get murdered.”
Young women are bombarded with warnings, victim-blaming cautionary tales and even fashion advice about walking home late at night. Don’t walk home alone, don’t walk home drunk, don’t walk home with your headphones in, don’t walk home in a short skirt, in fact, don’t walk home. Stay in. It’s easier to police you than deal with the real problem here.
Of course, if you want to go into comedy, you need to practise in front of an audience. You usually start out on a raised platform in the corner of a pub at an open mic. And those tend to run late. And they don’t pay, so you can’t always afford a cab or even a bus home. So you sit through an evening of lazy paedo and rape jokes that the audience (if there is an audience) eat up, before trotting on home. Lalala. Yeah, the problem definitely is with you.
So riddle me this, while we’re mourning Eurydice Dixon and marking the anniversary of Mia Zapata’s murder; when will it be safe for women to perform?