It’s been impossible to so much as look around in the last week here in Melbourne without being confronted by images and stories about missing Brunswick woman Jill Meagher. Unfortunately, as we are now sadly all too aware, her body was located in the early hours of the morning and a Coburg man has been charged with her rape and murder.

The confirmation of this despicable crime, the extinguishing of the last remaining hope held out by her family and friends, and the outpouring of emotion from people as close as her husband to as distant as complete strangers has shown the best and the worst of our society and the human race of which we are all a part. A beautiful young woman, slain in the prime of her life, her husband now a widower, her parents without a daughter, a life cut far too short for seemingly no reason. One wonders, why? Just, why?

I know if someone did something as inexplicable and horrible like this to the woman I loved, I would be absolutely devastated in ways words could not convey. To have lost someone as dear as your daughter, sister or partner is a feeling I cannot begin to understand, and hope never to have to. Though relating that feeling, even hypothetically, to my own situation only makes me feel even more grief and sorrow for the family and friends of their now-lost loved one.

But sadly, this heartbreaking episode that has unfolded since the early hours of Saturday morning is just one small event of this nature. Without in any way belittling the hurt and sadness of the Meagher family for the sudden and unfair loss, this is but one of many incidents of this type to occur in the world we live in. It is one, like the other 91 murders that occurred in Victoria in the last twelve months to June. It is one, like the 2,044 rape offences that occurred in that same period.

Again, I don’t mean to belittle this tragedy, but I aim to point out that tragic events like are sadly all too common. I sincerely hope that the publicity surrounding this specific case leads us to formulate a response that protects others who may otherwise have fallen victim to foul play. If this incident can lead to measures being implemented that prevent even one of these crimes occurring again, we’ve at least then done what we can to make the best of a truly terrible situation.

The suspect, who has now been charged in this case, led police to the body of the victim. I find his actions truly deplorable and abhorrent, truly abhorrent. I am of the opinion that crimes against women, particularly of this nature, are the lowest of low. I am horrified of the concept that a man can bring himself to rape a woman, let alone then murdering her afterwards. I simply detest any crimes against women, and the people (generally men) who perpetrate them.

However, this man, as deplorable as I may find his actions, is now in the hands of the system. He will now be subject to the processes and procedures of our judicial system to determine his guilt and deserved punishment. This is a fair and reasonable outcome. While the instincts of some may be to seek revenge in a very primitive way, I feel we must let justice run its course. Nothing can bring her back now, and seeking to make another suffer just lowers us to this despicable man’s level.

Let us now leave the system do its job. And most importantly, let us now leave this poor family to grieve, and hopefully put this extremely unfair and unfortunate chapter of their life behind them.

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