Thousands Join In Remembering Eurydice Dixon
Few words were formally spoken at a vigil to remember comedian Eurydice Dixon on the Melbourne field where she was found after being raped and murdered.
But its crowd of thousands, huddled in silence and darkness, spoke volumes.
Melburnians have gathered in Princes Park to honour the life Eurydice Dixon.— City of Melbourne (@cityofmelbourne) June 18, 2018
Pic: The Age @ejimphoto pic.twitter.com/yMzpppGx69
At least 5,000 people gathered at Princes Park on Monday night to pay tribute to the 22-year-old, while hundreds more did the same at similar vigils across the nation.
"What happened to Eurydice has resonated with so many in Melbourne and around Australia," one of the Reclaim Princes Park vigil organisers, Pia Cerveri, told the crowd in Carlton North.
The vigil was both to grieve and celebrate Ms Dixon and send a message that women have the right to be safe anywhere and at any time, Ms Cerveri said, ahead of a twenty-minute silence during which the light's on the field were turned off.
People could be heard sobbing during the reflection and many held lit candles.
Eurydice Dixon deserved to be remembered for how she lived her life, not how she lost it. She was denied this right. As were far too many others. pic.twitter.com/94qnM6aXxk— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) June 18, 2018
The silence was broken by a choir singing around a makeshift memorial, where flowers and other tributes have been building. It continued to grow at the vigil.
Among the crowd was Sue West, 49, who said she resonated with Eurydice's death, having lived in the area herself when she was Ms Dixon's age.
The mother of two sons, now in Ascot Vale, said it's hard to know what to do to prompt progress that will make things better.
"This is the only way I can really think of, is to be here," she told AAP.
Jessica McBain, 26, from Coburg, said the vigil was an opportunity to assert that women have a right to exist and can only do so much to ensure their own safety.
"You keep being told what to do, how to be safe, but I think at some point there's always going to be a risk, and I think people need to understand that," she told AAP.
For 45-year-old Mark Dickinson, from Fairfield, the event was less about sending a message as it was listening.
"In many ways, I feel like the face, or represent the face, of the perpetrators of these kinds of awful events," he told AAP.
"It's just important for people like me right now to firstly, listen, and secondly, just show themselves to demonstrate support and empathy."
At least 200 people gathered for a vigil in Sydney's Hyde Park in a show of solidarity, where the names of dozens of recent victims of gendered violence were read out.
The crowd was told it was now time for men to "step up".
"Men, this is up to you. Do something," emcee Katie Thorburn said.
The vigils come five days after Ms Dixon was killed on her way home from a comedy show at the Highlander Bar in the CBD on Tuesday night.
Last week, Broadmeadows' 19-year-old Jaymes Todd appeared in Melbourne Magistrates' Court charged with her rape and murder.
Earlier on Monday, the makeshift memorial at Princes Park was graffitied with offensive markings, with Victoria Police investigating the vandalism.