The rape and murder of aspiring comedian Eurydice Dixon in an inner-city Melbourne park – while deeply shocking – is part of an avalanche of gendered violence perpetrated against women in cities every day.
Nothing can protect women from the random acts of violence committed by some men but engaging with the stories of women and girls is crucial for making cities safer. Planners, architects, the police and politicians need to put aside the traditional expert perspective to learn from – and design for – women’s experiences.
In the case of city parks, two thirds of all women engaging with the Free to Be Sydney survey who had stated they had an unsafe experience in a park said they would never go back alone. And 13% said they would never go back an all.
Urban spaces reflect our shared social values and the crisis of sexual violence against women in public spaces must propel the transformation of our cities.