Meagher on violence against women
Tom and Jill Meagher's wedding day. Picture: Supplied

The husband of former Perth woman Jill Meagher has spoken about the first time he was confronted vocally by his wife’s killer Adrian Bayley.

Tom Meagher describes the chilling reality of being faced by a man not the monster that he’d formed an image of in his mind.

“I had formed an image that this man was not human, that he existed as a singular force of pure evil who somehow emerged from the ether.

“Something about his ability to weave together nouns, verbs and pronouns to form real, intelligible sentences forced a re-focus, one that required a look at the spectrum of men’s violence against women, and its relation to Bayley and the society from which he came,” he said.

Mr Meagher is retelling the emotional horror of his wife’s death and the subsequent trial for the White Ribbon campaign.

The campaign supports abused women and Mr Meagher hopes he can change the views of people about “ingrained sexism” and the dangers of the “monster myth”.

He says from the outpouring of support and compassion it was obvious people “identified with this particular case, it was something that I hoped could be universalised, not localised to this case, but for every instance of men’s violence against women”.

In an interview with ABC TV’s 7.30 program Mr Meagher said that Bayley’s jail sentence was a “disgrace” and blamed the Victorian parole system for failing to protect his spouse against the serial sex predator.

“This man is unrepentantly evil. He’s been let off too many times by our justice system,” Mr Meagher said.

Bayley was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 35-year non-parole period for the strangling murder of his 29-year-old wife in a Melbourne laneway in September 2012 — about half a kilometre from the couple’s home.

Bayley will be 76 when he becomes eligible for parole in 2048.

Bayley’s shocking history includes two prison stints for sex attacks against eight women, including raping five street prostitutes in St Kilda — crimes that the 41-year-old was out on parole for at the time he killed Ms Meagher.

Mr Meagher said, since Jill died, “I wake up every day and read a quote by Maya Angelou – ‘history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.’

“Male self-examination requires this courage, and we cannot end the pattern of men’s violence against women without consciously breaking our silence,” he concludes.

The West Australian

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