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"A baby born motherless." For Australian women, September has been our most lethal month.

Over the weekend, 32-year-old Helena Broadbent gave birth to a baby she never got the chance to meet.

Police believe Helena was threatened inside her home at Keilor Down in Victoria, and then again in a car, by her partner. The argument is alleged to have continued, until she fell from the backseat of a moving vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.

Helena was five months pregnant.

Already a mother of two, Helena was airlifted to hospital, where her baby was delivered by emergency caesarean section. The newborn remains in critical condition in the same hospital where her mother’s heart stopped beating. 

We know that a 35-year-old man is in custody over Helena’s death. Believed to be her partner and father to their three children, the man has been charged with dangerous driving causing death and has not applied for bail.

Women and violence, the hidden numbers. Post continues below. 

Perhaps the most distressing detail about Helena’s death is that it wasn’t the first of its kind this month.

It wasn’t the second.

And it wasn’t the third.

Helena, according to Destroy The Joint, the project responsible for counting dead Australian women, was the eighth woman killed by violence in less than four weeks.

September has been one of the most lethal months on record for women in this country.

Before Helena there was Trudy Dreyer.

On September 26, a travel agent contacted police after receiving word that Trudy and her partner Tim Ogle had missed an international flight. No one had heard from them.

When police arrived at the couples’ residence in Doyles Creek, NSW, both Trudy and Tim were dead.

Police are treating the case as a murder suicide, believing that Trudy was shot, before her partner turned the gun on himself.

Forty-nine year old Trudy had two children, and was looking forward to her trip to South Africa with her partner of nine months.

The day before, emergency services in Queensland received a call from a six-year-old girl. Something was wrong with her mother.

Selma Adem Ibrahim, 24, was found inside her home in Crestmead with fatal facial injuries.

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Her 24-year-old partner, and the father of their two children, has been charged with her murder.

Victoria. New South Wales. Queensland. And on September 23, it was South Australia.

Kim Chau, 39, didn’t show up to work. And then she missed a social commitment. Friends called police, concerned for the Adelaide woman’s safety.

Her body was found inside her home, bearing stab wounds.

A 21-year-old man who is believed to have been known to Kim has been charged with her murder.

Then there’s 25-year-old Mhelody Bruno. Police were called to her Wagga Wagga home at 8am on Saturday morning, September 21, and found her unresponsive.

She was meant to be on a two month holiday from the Philippines, due to return home less than a week later.

Despite emergency efforts to revive Mhelody, she died the following day. A 31-year-old man has since been charged with manslaughter.

In Western Australia, the family of Jessica Bairnsfather-Scott became concerned after her husband refused to allow them to speak to her over the phone.

They arrived at her home, beating down a deadlocked door in order to gain access. Jessica, 32, was dead. Days prior, neighbours allegedly heard screaming.

Her husband has been charged with her murder.

In Victoria on September 14, police and emergency services arrived at a property in Nunawading, where a 36-year-old woman had been killed in front of her eight-year-old son.

Yingying Zhou was found dead in a parked white Audi. Her former partner, 40-year-old Wei Hu, died a short time later in what is believed to have been a murder suicide.

It is understood that their eight-year-old son was in the backseat.

Then there’s Ivona Jovanovic.

On September 8, the 27-year-old Queensland woman was shot in the chest. She died in hospital.

Police are speaking to an ex-boyfriend. So far, no charges have been laid.

Finally, there was Ioli Hadjilyra, 26.

Council workers found her body in bushland in Clayfield Queensland. Her clothes were partially removed, and she was bruised and bloody.

Police have since arrested a 34-year-old man who has been charged with her murder.

Five different states. Eight different women. All killed in the space of one month.

For some, it looks to be at the hands of men they loved and trusted. For others, it was at the hands of men they had tried to escape.

This year, the Morrison government threw an unprecedented $382 million at combating domestic violence, with most of that funding going towards safe hours and frontline services.

It’s a step in the right direction, but change of this scale will not occur overnight.

Our job is to remember these women. Young and old, black and white, coming from as far east as our country spans, to the far west.
We must never lose our sense of outrage.

Mamamia would like to recognise the incredible work of Counting Dead Women Australia, researchers of Destroy The Joint. Every year, they count the Australian women killed as a result of violence. You can follow them on Facebook, right here.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.

 
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