Park at night

Solution to sex attacks: “Don’t walk alone at night”

Aiia Maasarwe took public transport.

She stayed on a well-lit public path, on a major road.

She talked on her phone, on FaceTime actually, chatting with her sister as she made the midnight trek back to her home.

It was a short journey, too – only around 1km. She knew the area and it was populated with a 24-hour service station, a shopping centre, a row of townhouses, and an intersection.

She took every “proper precaution”.

And still, she was still horrifically attacked and murdered.

And still, the response from some people – and I would hazard a guess that they are male – is: Don’t walk alone at night.

What is the alternative, then… Pay for a cab or an Uber home? But what if that is where your attacker lies? Maybe women should just be on curfew from now on, unable to stay out past sunset? I mean, seriously, I want to know – what do we have to do as women to be safe?

I was in Sydney a few months ago catching up with work colleagues. A knockoff drink turned into another, and instead of heading back to my hotel with a little sun still in the sky, it was dark by the time I walked home.

I sheepishly asked a work colleague if he wouldn’t mind walking me back to my hotel on his way to the train station? At the time, I felt a little foolish – like I was over dramatising the risks of walking a short distance by myself at night.

Stories like this remind me that I was not.

Unbelievably, it’s been more than five years since Jill Meagher was killed. Jill had talked on the phone with her brother. She was walking along busy Sydney Road in Brunswick, and her husband was waiting, expecting her home just minutes after she was dragged off the street, raped and murdered on September 22, 2012.

Kate details a harrowing number of other similar brutal murders of women in Australia from the last half-decade on her Twitter feed here.

This is heartbreaking. Watching the footage of Aiia’s devastated father on the news is enough to make anyone weep, and again we start asking the question: what can we do about it?

I don’t know the answer. But I do know that “stop walking alone at night” isn’t it.

Eurovision Australia Decides Artists GC

Three final acts revealed for ‘Eurovision-Australia Decides’

Ten acts are locked, loaded and ready to go for Eurovision-Australia Decides, coming to the Gold Coast in February.

The final three were announced by SBS today, along with five new original songs.

Eurovision – Australia Decides will showcase some of the country’s biggest acts in the first ever national selection show.

The diverse line-up of artists now includes Ella Hooper from Killing Heidi, Tania Doko from Bachelor Girl and Alfie Arcuri from The Voice, rounding out a diverse line-up of artists from across the musical spectrum.

The three join the likes of drag queen Courtney Act, singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke and pop band Sheppard, to name a few.

George Sheppard from Brisbane band told myGC they are absolutely thrilled to be considered.

“We’re honoured, obviously, just to be a part of something like this, where you’ve already had so many prestigious names go through the Eurovision machine,” Mr Sheppard said.

“The fact that we get to do this with a bunch of upcoming and established Australian pop artists, it’s an honour.”

Eurovision-Australia Decides will be presented at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre on Friday February 8 and Saturday February 9 in association with the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland and the City of Gold Coast.

Acting Mayor Donna Gates told 1029 Hot Tomato the Gold Coast has worked really hard to become a global event city.

“We had the Games (2018 Commonwealth Games) successfully run showing that we can do a really big event, and of course followed up with the TV Week Logie Awards, which was another entertainment excitement feature for the coast, and here we go now with Eurovision-Australia Decides,” Ms Gates said.

If you want to be a part of the action at Eurovision-Australia Decides, enter to win tickets for you and three friends to the preview show here:


Quit smoking – and score a trip to New York?

Like many, many Gold Coasters, my mum gave up smoking as her new year’s resolution.

Here we are, more than two weeks into the new year, and she’s trucking along nicely without her daily habit.

She’s also significantly better off financially, as she was choofing through almost a packet at a day, at a cost of around $30 per pack. If she could set those funds aside in a little piggy bank, she’d have almost $10,000 by New Years Eve.

In fact, if Australians who smoke collectively decided to quit their smoking habits, we’d be able to wipe out billions of dollars worth of debt.

The latest stats released this month from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that 13.8% of Aussie adults consider themselves to be daily smokers, lighting up half a pack a day on average.

And new research by comparison site Finder has crunched the numbers on this, revealing that Australians spend around $14.6 billion per year on smokes.

That is more money than I can comprehend, so I feel the need to spell it out in all of its glory: it’s $14,663,600,000.

Spent on cigarettes. Every single year.

In other words: literally every single person who smokes could afford to go on an extravagant overseas holiday each and every year, if only they could kick their nicotine addiction.

New York, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Fiji, the Maldives – take your pick!

If that’s not enough incentive, Finder editor-in-chief Angus Kidman says smokers are financially penalised in other ways – like when getting insurance premiums, for instance.

“Insurance companies generally don’t differentiate between an occasional smoker and a pack-a-day smoker,” he says, adding that some insurers “charge up to 134% more if you’re a smoker”.

In further bad news for my mum and her ilk, Kidman says insurers usually require members to have given up smoking for at least a year before they classify them as a “non-smoker” and reduce their premiums accordingly.

I’m not quite sure how insurers can know your smoking habits for sure, unless they perform an autopsy after your death (too grim?), but it seems to me that quitting cigarettes is the best decision a smoker could make.

Woman questioning man

Do singles have “too high” expectations?

“This is why so many people are single”.

I have to admit – this was my immediate reaction when I read this article.

It follows the tale of a woman who ghosted on a guy (ie ignored him completely and disappeared from his life) after a few weeks of flirty banter online.

And why did she give him the cowardly ditch? It was because, in her own words, he had “never really done anything off the expected life plan”.

“Brendan seemed like the perfect guy for me when I first swiped right on him. He was good looking, fit and had a good career in HR,” the writer explains.

But Brendan had never travelled, “or been arrested, or even bared his bum in public. In short, he was too straighty-one-eighty for me. I like my guys to have a past… I want them to have stories about being arrested in Amsterdam or streaking at the soccer in Rio.”

Alrighty then. Just so I’m clear:

  • Good face.
  • Good body.
  • Good job.
  • Good person.

But if he doesn’t have an arrest record or penchant for public nudity, he’s no good? No wonder my generation is chronically single. It’s an absolute minefield out there and the rules seem to change on the daily!

Step this way, you’ll get ghosted. Step that way, you’ll be subjected to insanely high expectations.

Engage with someone, and you might fall victim to breadcrumbing: where a person leads another person on by contacting them only intermittently (via text, in your DMs or publicly on social media). They reach out just enough to keep the other person interested, but never actually commit. Ultimately, you never know where you stand, making this the digital version of “leading someone on”.

Add to this the fact that a University of Michigan study last year found that 25% of online daters punch above their weight when contacting potential suitors online, and it’s easy to see why more people are single now than ever before.

All of that said, let’s finish on a positive. That same study found that of the people who contact others considered “out of their league”, around 1 in 5 get a response. Perhaps this is strategy is worth pursuing – and the answer to all of our dating woes?!

Travel agent Alisa on why the Gold Coast is Way Ahead!

Meet Alisa from Hope Island, talking about how the light rail has made a difference to her life.

Check out her video to see why she thinks the Gold Coast is WAY AHEAD!

This is a sponsored editorial brought to you by Gold Coast Way Ahead