If you watched or read the news today, you’ll know that yet another Australian woman has been brutally murdered, most likely at the hands of a man.
This tragedy brings the number of women murdered in Australia since 1 January 2019 to 20 (Destroy the Joint 2019). Yes, twenty.
In 2018, a total of 69 Australian women were killed by Australian men (Destroy the Joint 2019).
The majority of these women were killed by a current or former partner (Cullen et al 2018). Many others, were victims of sexually motivated crime. To say I’m enraged by these numbers and the preventable loss of lives, doesn’t come close.
The victims’ names, faces, barely hit the news. When they do, it’s for a brief, blinking moment. The perpetrator, always portrayed as a good bloke, a family man, loved by his mates.
The victims are forgotten as soon as the next story unfolds.
Even our government seems committed to turning a blind eye. See nothing. Do little. Take no blame.
On 9 November 2018, a crazed man wielding a knife stabbed three people, killing one man in Melbourne’s bustling Bourke Street. The city came to a stop. A media storm ensued. The Prime Minister spoke out, denouncing acts of violence and terror, promising his government would do more to protect us from the biggest threat to our Australian way of life.
The horror and grief of losing a loved one, colleague or friend in such a violent way, is unimaginable. The male victim didn’t deserve to die.
But neither did any of those women.
A total of 69 women were killed by men in 2018 (Destroy the Joint 2018).
Nine Australians have been killed on Australian soil by terrorism since 2014 (SBS 2018).
Let’s think about that.
At least one woman is killed by a man, every week in this country and our government remains silent.
One man is murdered under the guise of ‘terrorism’ and the highest office in this country responds.
Is it because a woman who dies at the hands of a man, in the home or on a quiet street after dark, has most likely been in a relationship with that man and therefore should have known better?
Because surely, she must have known.
She should have seen the signs.
Should have left the first time he hit her.
Should have known he wasn’t a good choice in the first place.
And if she knew of the danger and the risk, why didn’t she just leave?
Staying in the relationship was foolish.
Everyone knew he was going to hurt her. She knew it herself.
If we’re really honest, she was asking for it.
It was expected, inevitable. It didn’t come as a shock.
So really, she only has herself to blame.
And if she has herself to blame, he’s not really such a bad guy after all, is he?
Is that the thinking behind this government’s lack of urgency?
I have no doubt that this misogynistic brand of thinking is lurking, denied, in the murky patriarchy of government, and the bowels of authority.
Or maybe the apathy is because domestic violence and sexually motivated violence really only terrorises one half of the population – the half that holds fewer seats in Parliament and occupies fewer seats around Board room tables. The less important half.
Hot fury burns in my gut. When will enough be enough?
Leadership and action to condemn this plague and prevent the loss of lives, must come from the top.
When will our government respect women? When will our government care enough to intervene against the plague of femicide in this country?
Scott Morrison speaks of needing to prevent the radicalisation of Islamic boys.
What we need is action to prevent the radicalisation of all boys against girls and women, so that women no longer need to live in terror.
And to do that, we need more women in leadership positions, to make decisions about the safety of all Australians, not just the safety of men. We need female leaders to stand up for women, because our male leaders sure as hell aren’t.
Destroy the Joint 2018. Counting Dead Women Australia 2018 – violence against women in Australia, Destroy the Joint, Australia.
Destroy the Joint 2019. Counting Dead Women Australia 2019 – violence against women in Australia, Destroy the Joint, Australia.
SBS 2018. Deaths from terrorism fall globally as IS power fades [Online], Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/deaths-from-terrorism-fall-globally-as-is-power-fades