So this was an attack on women.

As news broke over the weekend of a mass stabbing event at Westfield Bondi Junction, at first we had only numbers. Six innocent lives stolen by a man with a knife.

As the hours passed the identities of those murdered on Saturday afternoon started to filter through, and there was one similarity that was hard to ignore; they were almost all women.

The first story we heard was that of Ash Good, the 38-year-old new mum who thrust her stabbed nine-month-old daughter into the hands of strangers as she tried to grapple with her own injuries. She died soon after in hospital.

Yixuan Cheng (left) and Dr Ashlee Good (right). Images: NSW Police.


It's hard to comprehend the senseless murder of anyone, but the death of a mother and the maiming of her young baby even more so.

Four more women have been named since. 25-year-old Dawn Singleton; a student who was supposed to get married this year. Jade Young; a 47-year-old mother-of-two and architect, 55-year-old Pikria Darchia and Yixuan Cheng; a Chinese national in Australia to study.

There was one male victim, Faraz Tahir; a 30-year-old refugee who had only just started working as a security guard at the centre.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said the stabber — a Queensland man who had only recently moved to Sydney — showed no signs of ideological motivations for the attack. But they are investigating why he appeared to be targeting women.

Footage from inside the Westfield shopping centre shows him avoiding male shoppers — veering away from them even.

Pikria Darchia (left) and Faraz Tahir (right). Images: NSW Police/Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia.


"It's obvious to me, it's obvious to detectives that seems to be an area of interest that the offender focused on women and avoided the men," said Commissioner Webb. "The videos speak for themselves, don't they?"

So this is an attack on women. Again. Another attack on women.

We lose women every week to male violence in Australia. As a publication we've been screaming at those in charge for more than a decade about the glaring epidemic in front of us — women are dying in enormous numbers year after year.

Most of the time, the deaths are quieter. They're considered 'domestic'. Women killed behind closed doors by a former or current partner. But when the murders of these women reach the headlines it's reported that the men responsible have been the subject of numerous AVOS, or have a history with police — a history of abuse. Those in charge say they're listening, they're changing, they're pouring money into services to help, but really, nothing is changing. We report a new death every week.

But this was different. What happened at Westfield Bondi Junction over the weekend was a loud, terrifying attack on mainly women in front of an audience of thousands. This was an act of horror no one can ignore — it's the kind of brazen 'stranger' violence that re-shapes the psyche of a city. Of a country.


Dawn Singleton (left) and Jade Young (right). Images: Facebook/NSW Police.

Will those in charge listen now?

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke to 60 Minutes last night, telling Tara Brown, "The thought that people had lost their lives, and many others injured and traumatised by the events of yesterday directly, comes as a great shock in a peace-loving nation like Australia."

In a press conference on Monday morning, NSW premier Chris Minns said $18 million will be forwarded to the Coroners Office to establish an independent coronial inquest into the Westfield Bondi Junction attack. Any information that leads to change in government policy will run in line with the coronial inquest.


While the perpetrator in this attack is dead — shot by the first police officer on the scene, Inspector Amy Scott — this is only the start of an investigation into what happened on Saturday.

Why did he do this? Was there a sign? Could he have been stopped? What was his motive? His reason?... Was there a reason he targeted women?

As the country mourns the loss of six innocent people, these are the questions detectives will hopefully be able to piece together.

Because their deaths can't be in vain. Surely this horrific incident is a big enough catalyst for true change. Surely this is a turning point for women's safety.

After the Port Arthur Massacre of 35 innocent people in 1996, Australia banned guns. It wasn't popular among some, but then Prime Minister John Howard did it. The slaughtering of dozens of innocent lives with an AR15 semi-automatic rifle was enough of a big red burning warning that drastic action was needed immediately.

Right now Australia is still very much in shock. For many of us, there's a blanket of sadness and grief as we wrap our heads around this horror. We are also fearful this could happen again.

But the anger has started, and it will keep building.

This shouldn't have happened. We can't let it happen again. This is supposed to be a place women can feel safe.

Now, we can't even go to a Westfield without looking over our shoulder.

Feature image: NSW Police/Facebook/Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia.