In those moments of silence, I thought of my school friend. She’d left her husband. But when she returned to their house to collect some of her belongings he stabbed her to death. I think of the sobs of the woman I nursed back when I worked in a hospital while on night shift. Her husband had laid in wait for her and beat her with an iron pipe when she returned home. I thought of my friend’s daughter who was attacked in broad daylight. Just out for a jog, and a man thought it was okay to grab her.
This is what women deal with, every day. This is why we have vigils. Far too many vigils.
Then came the sounds of a choir in the distance, and we could just make out the lines of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. Then each in their own time, started to move. No ‘thank yous’ or ‘it’s over’. Just thousands of people paying their silent respects to a woman brutally and violently taken from us.
On the tram home, the candle that I had in my pocket fell out and rolled across the floor. The woman opposite me, picked it up, looked at me, and handed it back. She didn’t say anything, I didn’t say anything, just “thank you”, but there was an understanding that we had been part of something bigger than ourselves.
Today, I am filled with sadness and anger at what happened to Eurydice, but I am also filled with hope. Hope that we can continue to come together as a community at times like these. Times when it really matters.
I have hope that we will continue to speak out and act up when we see poor behaviour, whether it’s a sexist joke, a racist comment or violence. If we continue to do that, change will come and hopefully we won’t have to have these vigils in the future.
Until then, let’s keep our community connection, let’s reach out to those who may be struggling, because we do recover better together.
John Richardson is our National Resilience Advisor.