Lena Dunham Applauds Jill Meagher’s Husband, Quotes From His Essay On Violence Against Women
"Tom Meagher used his wife's unspeakable death to create dialogue, so bless the fuck out of him."
Lena Dunham has long been a champion of women’s rights. Currently travelling around the US on her Not That Kind of Girl book tour, she’s using her memoir as an opportunity to talk about reproductive rights. She’s so committed to the cause that she recently did the robot while wearing a onesie so young women would make their voices heard on election day.
And now, after her memoir’s release brought to light her experience with sexual assault, Dunham has been starting a whole lot of important conversations about violence against women.
This morning, she posted the following on her Instagram:
Beautiful words from Tom Meagher, whose wife Jill was raped and murdered. To anyone who has accused me/us of vilifying men as a group: analysis of the rampant forces that keep women from speaking about assault should not scare you. It should excite you, because you will have happier, more engaged and empowered partners who trust you and open up to you. I fucking love men, I want to be in dialogue with men. And Tom Meagher used his wife’s unspeakable death to create dialogue, so bless the fuck out of him.
Striking a particular resonance with Australian women, these words were penned by Tom Meagher earlier this year in an incredible blog post for the White Ribbon Foundation. They have now been seen by millions of people.
For those who haven’t seen it, the full article entitled ‘The Danger of the Monster Myth’ was an earnest and intelligent piece discussing the problems with our perception of violence against women. Following the devastating rape and murder of his wife Jill, and the subsequent media circus around the sentencing of her killer, Tom Meagher wrote this to call attention to all the women still suffering with forms of violence and abuse. While he was thankful for the overwhelming support and condolences he received, he wanted to make it clear: his wife’s killer was a rare type of “archetypal monster”. There are far too many forms of injustice and abuse outside of this that don’t get the attention and action they deserve.
“Where men’s violence against women is normalised in our society, often we compartmentalise it to fit our view of the victim,” said Meagher. “If a prostitute is raped or beaten, we may consider it an awful occupational hazard ‘given her line of work’ … If a husband batters his wife, we often unthinkingly put it down to socio-economic factors or alcohol and drugs rather than how men and boys are taught and socialised to be men and view women.”
These thoughts are still pertinent today. Just compare the media’s treatment of Jill Meagher to that of Mayang Prasetyo.
Even if you’ve read the article, it’s worth re-visiting now. Just like Lena Dunham says, “analysis of the rampant forces that keep women from speaking about assault should not scare you”. This isn’t just an issue for women; men have an incredibly important part to play. “Tom Meagher used his wife’s unspeakable death to create dialogue, so bless the fuck out of him.”
If you’re experiencing any form of abuse, you can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14 at any time. If you’d like to talk to someone about sexual assault or domestic violence, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Photo via lenadunham.