'Now we can't even support our friends without being killed.'

Jennifer Petelczyc opened her home to a friend in a time of need.

Her friend, who hasn't been publicly identified, had left her husband and needed somewhere to stay. Her ex had apparently been stalking her. 

Jennifer died because of that good deed. So did her 18-year-old daughter. 

How is this Australia in 2024? Women can't even help and support their friends without being killed?

On Friday afternoon, Mark James Bombara arrived at the Petelczyc family home in Floreat, Perth, demanding to see his ex. When he realised she wasn't there, he didn't leave. Instead, police are currently investigating the theory that he used cable ties and made several threatening phone calls before shooting them both and himself.

Jennifer died at the scene, while Gretl died in hospital on Saturday morning. According to the Red Heart Campaign, they are the 37th and 38th women killed in our country in 2024. 


Leisl, Jennifer's other daughter, is now the sole remaining member of her family. Her dad Jon died from cancer in 2019, according 7News.

Since their deaths, the information we've received has been so familiar it could be copy and pasted from another death. Another woman's story. 

Police have said Bombara was "known to police but did not have a history of violence". 

It's an age-old trope. Police struggle to stop men who are violent when they refrain from actual physical assault, and yet we're shown time and time again how dangerous these types of offenders can be. 

Remember the murder of mother-of-three Tara Costigan in Canberra in 2015? The first time he hit her he slaughtered her with an axe while she held her one-week-old baby daughter. 

We've heard this story before. 


Apparently, Bombara was a licenced firearms holder. We've heard that story before too—men "known to police" but still allowed access to weapons. 

In 2018, John Edwards was able to lawfully obtain a gun despite a history of domestic violence. He then shot both of his children before ending his own life. 

The Prime Minister has sent his condolences to the family and community of Jennifer and Gretl. 


In 2024, women have been shown that they cannot run alone. Samantha Murphy was allegedly murdered in February in broad daylight doing just that. In March we were shown we couldn't even walk. Mauwa Kizenga was stabbed outside a primary school while walking down a suburban street in Perth with her cousin. 

In May we've been shown that women can't even protect their friends without fearing for their lives. We don't need condolences. We haven't needed that empty word for years. 

As Independent MP Zali Steggall wrote for Mamamia just last week before news of this latest horror had even made headlines; "We're in a DV crisis and there's no emergency response. What's a woman's life worth?"

Gretl, 18, died over the weekend from her injuries. Image: 9News.


As she aptly points out, the government keeps harping on about their 10-year plan. A plan that will only be effective if it's underpinned by strong policy changes and funding in all the right places....but it's going to take 10 years! 

Ten years.

What about this year? What about last Friday? What about (inevitably) the next woman we add to the tally of women killed this week?

"Despite the Prime Minister and many politicians saying it's a crisis, a National Cabinet being held to address the issue, only small changes to date have been proposed," writes Steggall. 


This isn't just about women, either. Children are dying too. 

In Lismore, a father killed both himself and his little boy during a custody visit the Sunday before last. There was an ADVO against him on behalf of his ex-wife, but he still had access to his child. 

This year we've marched in our streets in our tens of thousands. We've written article after article. We've continued to shout, and plead and beg those in charge. 

Why aren't they listening?

There's no doubt it's a difficult issue to address, but how is this the best we can do? Surely there's more we can do....

Jennifer was just helping a friend. 

Now she and her daughter are dead. 

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. 

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a Queensland-based organisation that helps women and families move on after the devastation of domestic violence. If you would like to support their mission to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most, you can donate here.

Feature image: TikTok.