We should all be talking about the murder of Louise Allison Langhorn.

Last Wednesday 59-year-old Louise Allison Langhorn was assaulted by a group of men in a suburban Perth street.

Louise did not immediately contact police but reported being assaulted when she was taken to Royal Perth Hospital on Friday, February 8.

It was there that she died two days later.

Her death has not made headlines – a Google News search shows just three articles following her death. There has been no public outpouring of grief.

All we know about Louise is her name, her age and the tragic way her life ended. We have just one photo of her which shows her as a smiling, grey-haired woman.

Her killers are still at large and police are also searching for the driver of a dark car who intervened during her assault, likely saving Louise’s life that night though sadly she died of her injuries days later.

It’s a stark contrast to the coverage the rape and murder of Aya Maasarwe received around the country last month.

Aya Masarwe
21-year-old student Aya Maasarwe. Image: Facebook.

Aya's face, her big, infectious smile, were published everywhere. Her loved ones described her as an angel and Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his condolences to her family.

In October 2018, 24-year-old Toyah Cordingley was murdered while walking her dog on a beach near Cairns. We remember Toyah as a vibrant lover of animals and Harry Potter. Her mother described her as "full of life".

In 2012 the nation grieved the death of 29-year-old Irish woman Jill Meagher who was raped and murdered while walking home from work drinks at a Melbourne pub. Her death led to the overhaul of Victorian parole law.

To be clear, the the coverage of Aya, Toyah and Jill's deaths - as well as all the other (far too many) women whose lives have been taken - was absolutely justified and important. It was vital. But Louise's death is just as important.


Journalist Sherele Moody started the Red Heart campaign after spending 12 months reporting on domestic violence in Australia.

Using the red heart as “a symbol of strength, hope and survival,” Moody wanted to give those who had experienced domestic violence a voice, and ultimately increase the understanding of intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and familial child abuse in Australia.

The campaign's image of red hearts across a map of Australia is confronting. Each heart represents the violent death of a woman or child.

In a Daily Telegraph article and Facebook post, Sherele said she had read more than 1700 media reports of murdered women, coming to realise a hard truth:

"Drug addicts, homeless women, old women, middle-aged women, women from diverse communities, women who aren't mothers, sex workers, strippers, other women living on the edge... they rarely get the kind of media attention and community outrage that murders of younger prettier women get."

She asked multiple questions, admitting she didn't know the answers.

"We do need to ask ourselves what it is about Louise's murder that fails to make our blood boil?," she wrote on Facebook.

"Is it because she was middle-aged, rather than "young and vibrant" like Aya - does her age make her invisible to most?

"Is it because her killers did not rape her?

"Is it because Louise died in suburban Perth rather than inner-city Melbourne?

"Is it because she was not seen as vulnerable as Aya?"

It is probably a combination of all of these things - we only have to look at the ageism and sexism faced by women as they age.

We grow up being defined by our youth and beauty, but it seems this continues in death.

The full impact of violence cannot be understood as long as only certain deaths are amplified, while others ignored or forgotten. There should not be one 'perfect victim'.

Sherele's Red Heart data shows that 79 women were killed in Australia in 2018. At least 69 of them were killed by men, with 46 allegedly due to domestic or family violence.

As of February 14, eight women have been murdered so far in 2019.

This is more than one per week. It is an epidemic.

We must share the same grief, the same horror, at the unnecessary deaths of ALL women because the lives of ALL women are important. No matter their age, location or personal circumstances.

Just as Sherele wrote: "Equality in death is the least we can give murdered women."

If this article brings up 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.