For nearly a week I was gripped by the case of missing woman Jill Meagher, every morning turning on the news hoping to hear the news everyone else so desperately wanted to hear too that she would be found alive and safe. On Friday morning I sat down and flicked on Sunrise and was confronted with Mel standing there saying that over night a man had been arrested and “charged with the rape and murder of Jillian Meagher”. I looked over at hubby and muttered oh no, a lump starting to form in my throat. I almost felt like I was going to burst into tears.
No, I didn’t know Jill Meagher. I’m not from her community of Brunswick and I don’t work for ABC radio. But I, like many other Australians followed the case of her disappearance and in a way became invested in the story, hoping, praying for a wonderful outcome.
Over the last couple of days I’ve read many online stories and comments about Jill’s disappearance and the subsequent arrest of her alleged rapist and murderer. Many asking the media to stop reporting on it. Many thanking, praising the media, hailing them as the hero in ‘solving’ this case so quickly. Many rubbishing that thought and hailing the police. Personally, I don’t care how this man was identified and caught I’m just glad he was caught. The police obviously did what they do best and no doubt used the media to their advantage, and love them or hate them, the media and public appeal no doubt helped in some way.
The comment was made on a popular women’s website, why do we care so much about Jill? What about all the other ‘less attractive, less fortunate’ people that go missing? Why don’t we give them the same coverage?
To me, Jill could have been my work colleague, my next door neighbour, my cousin, my sister, my brother’s girlfriend, my best friend. She could have been me. And with all that in mind, I think that is why it touched so many people on a personal level.
I read these words on Facebook last night, “Don’t tell your daughters to not step out in the night. Instead teach your son’s better”.
Rest in peace Jill. Thoughts are with your family and friends at this heartbreaking time.