OPINION: 'Last week we couldn't run. Now we can't even walk.'

This story includes descriptions of violence against women. 

Mauwa Kizenga, also known as Melanie, was walking down a suburban street in Balga, Perth on Saturday night with her cousin.

It was only 8pm. 

There were people around. Many of them rushed to her aid when she was attacked. 

The two young women were right out outside a local primary school when Melanie was stabbed. 

Melanie was stabbed on a Perth street on Saturday night. Image: Facebook/WA Police.

Witnesses tried to stem the bleeding with a pair of socks, but the injuries were too severe. 


She was only 22. 

Members of the public also chased her alleged attacker. They cornered the 30-year-old man and forced him to drop the knife. He was arrested nearby by police. 

Police believe he knew Melanie's cousin. Not her. 

"It appears to be a violent and completely unprovoked attack," Detective Senior Sergeant Katharine Venn told the media.

"We don’t have the motive for that at this time."

Melanie was just walking. She was murdered while walking the streets of supposedly one of the safest countries in the world. 

But women can't even run alone here. Let alone walk. 

For the last week, runners have been dedicating their runs to another woman killed on our streets. 

Samantha Murphy was out for a jog in February when she was allegedly murdered by a 22-year-old man in Ballarat. 

It was a deliberate attack on the mother-of-three's life, but police say they didn't know each other. Their only link was a small-town connection; she worked as a uniform shop volunteer at the primary school he once attended. 

Samantha Murphy was out for a morning jog when she was murdered. Image: Facebook/Vic Police.


Patrick Stephenson was only arrested in early March, after weeks of searching for Samantha. As the truth started to unravel, an outpouring of rage reverberated across the country.

As women, we're always warned not to run late at night just in case we get murdered. 

We're told to lock our doors. Keep our keys in our hands to use as a potential weapon. Take an Uber. Keep someone on the phone. 

But Samantha was running on a mild Sunday morning near her home when she was murdered. 

The rage. It was visceral. 'Why can't we go for a f**king run?' wrote Mia Freedman.

We've barely caught our breath and now boom, another woman taken. Another brazen attack on a woman simply out there in the world trying to live her life. 


How many times do we have to scream it? We have a problem in this country. Men's violence is a huge, glaring out-of-control problem. We lose at least one woman a week to it. 

Every year we lose dozens upon dozens of women. 16 women murdered in Australia in 2024 and it's only March.

But these murders - the deaths of Samantha and Melanie - show us that these men. These fathers, sons, brothers and boyfriends; they're not just killing behind closed doors. The brazen, cruelty of deciding to take a woman's life while she simply walks down a street. Or jogs down one. 

Why won't they stop killing us? 

Why won't men stop killing us?

How many lives does it take, because it's honestly starting to feel like the number doesn't exist. With every new horror story, comes more complacency. Another thing is added to the list of what women can't do alone. 

So, where exactly are we safe? 

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: Facebook.