If you love your girlfriends then you should never be afraid to question their safety

I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that the aftermath of the Jill Meagher rape and murder has left a deep impression on me that I feel sure won’t fade for a long time.  If ever.

There are few of us women that haven’t had the conversation recently of ‘that could have been me’, ‘that could have been you’ and so forth.  Anyone that’s been out late, had a few drinks and then made their own way home without a friendly escort has felt the shudder of what ifs?

Although we all wish from the very core of our hearts that Jill Meagher was still alive, the way to really honour this young woman violently robbed of her life is to forever remember her ‘what ifs’ so we protect ourselves from our own.

I have a lot of girlfriends who are married and now raising young families but I have an equal measure of those who haven’t found the right partner, or quite simply, have put their love and focus into other things.  Perhaps their careers.  Every one of these women I admire for their own paths and their own values.

As we all get older, I think we also know what we want from our friendships more than we did when we were younger, but that doesn’t mean to say we’re looking for someone who is in our eyes perfect.  It just means we’re more aware of what the whole package consists of with the friends we choose to keep close.

One of my favourite girlfriends is a far more sexual being than the rest of us, and that’s her thing and at times I’ve looked to her for advice.

I’ve rarely felt the need to question her beliefs, until recently because she’s an exceptionally strong woman in more ways than one.  In fact, she’s probably the last person I’d ever worry about in terms of looking after herself.

Regardless of her strength, I had a burning quandry building prior to our night out, one that had been bothering me in light of the Jill Meagher case.

My issue was, that in the past my friend had been known to have a stay-over let’s call it, with someone she’d meet out at night.  Before you judge her, there are lots of women out there, in varying age brackets that might be looking for overnight love, rather than a long lasting kind. It’s not my thing but each to their own.

I kept debating in my head whether it was my place to quiz her, whether she still thought this sort of arrangement was a good idea?

Was I being judgemental?  Would I be crossing the line of supporting a friend’s desires over what I now felt to be a real worry?

I decided to bring up the conversation as we started our night, and I said to her “I don’t want to sound like I’m being judgemental or a pain in the bum, but this Jill Meagher case has really made me re-assess so many things.  And one of them is, I just have to say it worries me that you will allow a stranger to take you home and enter your house.”

Whilst she wasn’t dismissing the atrocity of what had taken place, she stands firm that we can’t live our lives in fear and that her intuition on her men, was enough to make her feel safe.  In reference to her last overnight relationship, she said she ‘just knew he was harmless’.

It took me a while to let it go, as I couldn’t agree that one can ever really be that intuitive to know that someone hasn’t got a Jekyll & Hyde other side.  But I had to let it go because she is her own woman.

So although we have agreed to disagree on this one, it was a conversation that was uncomfortable to have, but for me anyway, far more uncomfortable to not have.

10 thoughts on “If you love your girlfriends then you should never be afraid to question their safety

  1. Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I am also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  2. Hey Amber,
    Another great ashtray of conversation.
    What happened to Jill has been happening for too long. I commend her wonderful husband for not refusing one opportunity to speak to the media, even when he himself was under interrogation. I learnt a lot from that alone. If I was innocent, why would I not do the same?
    Moving forward, I attended the March on Sydney Rd with my daughters who are 9 and 10. We walked in silence for 2 hours with tears appearing sporadically. At Club Etiquette. Hope Street. Duchess Boutique where her last visions were filmed. But the most emotive moment was in the moments before the march commenced. 30 thousand people standing in silence suddenly burst into applause. What were we clapping for? For Jill? For the unification of Melbournians? To send a message to the predators who lurk within the shadows that they are wrong and the sick minority? To send a message to our fellow citizen that they will never walk without another watching their back? I don’t know. Perhaps all of these things. For me, I was there to walk against violence towards women, to reclaim the night as they say.
    As much as I want to cocoon my girls from the hardships in life the reality it there is danger. We must be vigilant always and take no risks on those we love.

    • Thank you darling for your comments and sharing how you took your daughters to the march. Good on you! I think sometimes in the past we’ve thought we should totally shield our kids from this sort of stuff, but I think actually we should better educate them of how to grow up as a young woman and not get carried away with thinking we don’t need to look after ourselves. It’s also empowering to march in these sort of things because it sends a message to ourselves and others that we won’t be victims and that we’re looking out for predators and looking out for ourselves. I admire you in the way you’ve used this tragedy to empower yourself, and your precious girls. xx

  3. From: Cliff Yeoman
    Subject: Your column in Advertiser 17/10/12

    Message Body:
    I hope I can be of some encouragement to you in regard to your comments in yesterdays Advertiser. You expressed some concern over speaking your mind to your friend re her befriending virtual strangers to satisfy her sexual appetite. There is an ancient but very true saying “faithful are the wounds of a friend”. There is no place to say we are friends with are care for someone if we are not prepared to put that friendship on the line for their good. Having been in the Police service for many years and still dealing with victims of crime I believe I can speak with some authority in saying that a woman (or a man) who invites strangers to be itimate with, are doing so at the risk of real peril to themselves. It would be wonderful in a perfect world to socialize where, when and however we like. To dress however we like or to leave or homes unlocked when we leave etc. However the reality is that these cockroaches will take advantage of our vunerability if we let them. For a significant
    period of time I have also facilitated courses for men to help them to face their responsibilities in life including their attitude to sexuality. Men are strongly influenced but what enters their “eye gate”. You couple that with a distorted view of sex, potentially fueled by alcohol, drugs, pornography and the like and you have a very damaging mix, not only for them but particularly women who inadvertenly or naively place themselves in a place of vuneralbility. As our new Police Commisioner expressed in a recent column. Legislation and law enforcement will only ever assist in providing a safer community, but the rest of us must remain vigilant. To the women in our community I say make sure you really know the people you are befriending because wolves come in many disguises. Be careful where you socialize and to state the obvious never, ever walk home without someone with whom you have a long standing trust. To the men who have the responsibility to care for the women in their
    life. If you don’t know whom you loved ones are socializing with, where they are, how they are getting home etc them MAN UP, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND FIND OUT. Those and other simple precautions just may prevent another horrible statistic.

    This mail is sent via contact form on Amber Petty http://www.amberpetty.com.au

  4. amber petty notjustforhippies@gmail.com
    Oct 19 (5 days ago)

    to Cliff
    HI there Cliff,

    Thank you SO much for taking the time to write. You’ve really backed me up with some excellent, first hand insights. I am about to post the blog and I am so glad I have a letter like yours to hammer it home. I like your message too, ‘simple precautions to prevent another horrible statistic’. It’s just that. I hope many others and stopping and thinking alot more these days.

    Take care Cliff, and bless you!

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