December 14, 2006


As part of my criminology degree, I became aware of how global reporting of violent crime can make people's perception of crime higher than their actual risk. Since then, I've been largely ignoring sensationalistic violent crime reporting.

However, I lived in Ipswich for 6 months, so I've been paying a fair bit of attention to the recent murders in Ipswich. It seems quite distant to me, on account of the red light district (such as it was) being clear on the other side of town from anywhere I ever went. I worked, lived and went to the pub in the north east. The red light district is in the south west. I only ever went there when I was going to the railway station. And that was about 4 times in total.

I'm also reflecting on the messages coming through the media. While it is obvious that hanging out on the streets near Portman Rd and getting into cars with single men is a risky behaviour at the moment, there is no encouragement for general women to walk around in other parts of the town just going on with their business. Instead there is a huge message that they should go nowhere without a man. Yes, this is realistic advice to minimise risk. But it also reinforces the restrictions women face in their lives, just because they are women.

When terrorists bombed London, it was seen as important to continue general life as much as possible to indicate to the terrorists that they hadn't won. Meanwhile this bastard has managed to "clean up" prostitution in Ipswich and make have a huge impact on the rest of the female population. I have walked home for the last 10 years, particularly because the more women who are out, the safer we all are. Sure, I pick the route carefully, make sure I have my mobile and do whatever else I can think of to stay safe. But I make a point of taking a risk in order to support something I believe in. I often wonder if I would have been one of these people who took risks to fight for something I believe in. I've always thought I was too much of a coward. So I am surprised to find that I have actually been doing my own quiet work in my own quiet way.

Would I be walking home alone at 11pm in Ipswich at the moment (even over the other side of town). No. I think I am enough of a coward that my principles wouldn't get me through that one.

But it would be interesting if the police response involved things which supported the working girls continuing their lives safely. Things like taking down the license plates of all the clients. Difficult for an illegal industry I guess.

In another weird angle, I'm really enjoying getting to see footage of Ipswich in winter (which I missed), and of the Christmas lights up on Carr St. It's like getting news from an old friend who never writes.

Posted by carla at December 14, 2006 09:17 PM
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