Monday 19 March 2018

Jill Meagher's husband fronts campaign to end violence against women

Jill and her husband Tom Meagher
Jill and her husband Tom Meagher
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE husband of murder victim Jill Meagher hopes to get a “conversation” started amongst men on the issue of masculinity as he fronts a campaign to help end violence against women.

Tom Meagher told how he endured feelings of “revenge” over the 18-months since his wife was raped and strangled in a Melbourne suburb by a man out on parole.

Now, he is focusing his anger and energy towards something positive after leaving Australia to return to his homeplace of Cabinteely, Dublin, where is fronting Ireland’s White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women.

“It is infuriating, there is a good year of thinking thoughts of revenge and the anger is obviously still there it doesn’t really go away - you funnel it into different areas and hopefully try and make it constructive not destructive,” said Mr Meagher.

At times, he admitted he “wanted” Adrian Ernest Bayley dead for what he had done to his wife but neither him nor Jill had ever supported capital punishment.

Louth woman Ms Meagher was raped and murdered by Bayley in September 2012 as she walked the short distance home in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick after a night out with her ABC radio colleagues. The 29-year-old’s body was discovered dumped days later.

Bayley was out on parole after spending time in jail for violent rapes and Mr Meagher has regularly questioned why Victoria’s Adult Parole Board had released him.

He said the ‘what if’ question was a “neverending juggernaut” and there were a “million ways” that it could have turned out. “The worse thing that could possibly happen - happened,” he said, of the loss of his “perfect friend” as they began their plans for a home and family.

He has now left his advertising career and Australia for home where he fronts Ireland’s White Ribbon Campaign, the world’s largest male-led movement, working to change attitudes and behaviours leading towards attacks on women.

“I found it very difficult to live in a city where something like that happened - not because that usually happens in that city just because it happened to Jill,” he told Ray D’Arcy on Today FM.

Mr Meagher now wants to get a conversation started on issues of gender.

“The idea is to make it very clear, that you are not going to enable this, that you are not going to involve yourself in a conversation if it goes to topics that are denigrating women,” he said. “To laugh it off is kind of creating cultural acceptance of these things - which is obviously not on.

“We don’t need men to completely change we just need men to raise their awareness a little bit about these things.”

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