THE murder of 29-year-old Jill Meagher in Melbourne a fortnight ago rocked the state to its very core.
The public outpouring a grief following the gorgeous ABC worker's death after being snatched from a busy Brunswick street only metres from her home, was unprecedented.
Strangers visited the site where Jill was last seen on CCTV footage. Woman and men, young and old, united in their grief stood solemnly outside the Sydney Road bridal shop where Jill walked by on her way home from a night out with colleagues.
These strangers stopped to drop off flowers as a message of condolences, they stared silently in prayer for the young women whose life was so viciously cut short. They wanted to see the place where the innocence of a major city was supposedly lost the night Jill was taken before her rape and murder.
The site at Gisborne where Jill's body was left in a shallow grave has forever been memorialised after a local stonemason made a headstone. Bunches of flowers have also been left at the site by strangers wanting to pay their respects to a friendly, fun-loving woman - and to her grieving family, both here and in her home country of Ireland.
A street march along Brunswick's Sydney Road last Sunday was attended by tens of thousands of people who were demanding, as a whole, that safety return to our streets.
Why is it that Jill's death resulted in uniting a community? Was it because she was like so many young women before her who decided to walk the short distance home after a night out with work colleagues? Was it because Jill was like our daughter, our sister, our granddaughter, our niece, our cousin, our friend, our work colleague?
No one can deny the grief felt by Jill's husband Tom and the entire family. While the death of a loved one by natural causes or accident is hard enough to endure, the senseless act of murder is something that no one should have to go through, particularly when the person has such a bright future ahead of them, when their life is really just starting.
That said, the question needs to be asked why does the murder of one person seem to cause a flood of emotions within the entire community, but another barely causes a ripple?
Is the murder of a 17-year-old from Melbourne's outer suburbs or an elderly woman bashed to death by a would-be robber mean any less to those in the community than the violent loss of life of a 29-year-old? It shouldn't. But it did, only because of the sheer weight of community support for Jill.
The fact that Jill Meagher's final movements before she was snatched off the street were captured on CCTV footage and plastered all over the media, including social media like Facebook and Twitter, meant that more people in the community were able to learn about the case and, therefore, became more involved.
Maybe, the fact that Jill Meagher worked in the media may have also attributed to the unprecedented coverage and subsequent outpouring of public grief.
Whatever the reason, Jill's lasting legacy will be that she has united members of the community to fight side-by-side for their right to walk the streets safely.