Another week, another brutal murder we should have prevented.

Trigger Warning: This post deals with issues of domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.

Another week, another woman allegedly murdered by a man she loved.

Another woman we’ve failed to protect.

A 33-year-old woman has reportedly been stabbed to death, by a man who was allegedly her former partner. In broad daylight. In full view of horrified strangers in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine. She’d literally just stepped out a woman’s refuge centre when she was ambushed, leaving her body limp on the side of the road.

The crime scene in Sunshine, Melbourne.

The 38-year-old man who is allegedly involved turned himself into police this morning, after running from the scene. He has been charged by homicide detectives this afternoon and is due to appear in court today.

The man, who is yet to be identified publicly, was known to the police because the woman has lodged complaints about domestic violence before and the couple were in the middle of a legal dispute. The police knew him as an alleged violent abuser and yet he was able to walk the streets, allegedly get hold of a large fishing knife, trail his partner, approach her in public during the day and take her life in the most violent way imaginable.

But she’s not just a woman who has been killed, allegedly by a former partner. She’s the victim of a legal system that failed her. She’s the victim of a government that would rather spend money setting curfews for drunk nightclub visitors than respect its duty of care to women in danger.

This woman’s death was senseless, violent and abhorrent.

It was also preventable. And that’s what takes my breath away.

It makes anger catch in my throat, it puts rage in my belly, it stops my heart beating every time I think of it. Had the police kept this violent man in custody or better protected this woman, she would be alive. Her children would have a mother.

The deceased woman’s belongings, left on the street where she was killed.

Now she’s known to the police because she’s the body they have to remove from the street. She’s famous now, this woman, because she died in public. But until her death, she was just another woman forgotten by the system, neglected by the government, in constant danger of a violent partner who should have been in gaol.


Until we have a name and a photo to identify her, this woman is Lisa Harnum, who was killed before she could make it out of her relationship. She’s Rosie Batty, who couldn’t protect her son from his own father.

She’s every anonymous victim of violence who should have been protected better. She’s this horrific statistic:

One woman a week dies at the hands of her partner in Australia.

One woman a week dies at the hands of her partner in Australia.

One woman a week dies at the hands of her partner in Australia.

Vulnerable women are dying in their homes and on our streets. They’re staying in vicious relationships because we haven’t given them a safe way out. Mothers and sisters and best friends will continue to disappear from our families until we find a way to keep them safe.

How many more scared, vulnerable women have to die before we make protecting them a priority? How many vicious men will kill, maim and injure their partners before the government declares domestic violence a national emergency?

The single most dangerous thing to be in Australian society is a woman. A young woman, an Indigenous woman, a homeless woman, a poor woman, a married woman, a single woman. Until we change that fact, we are not a civilized society. A female life is worth as much as any other, and until we honour that, we are failing half our population.

Those of us in the media have a responsibility to shine a light on domestic violence until it becomes a national priority. Here at Mamamia, we will continue to publish alarming statistics and horrifying victim’s stories until someone at a federal level says enough is enough. We will not stop until every woman is safe in her own home and safe from the people she loves. We will not stop.

If you believe you may be an abusive partner, you can receive help via Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277. If you have experienced, or are at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can receive help by calling 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732. If you are in immediate danger please call the police on 000.

If you would like to express your desire for reform, you can contact Prime Minister Tony Abbott using this Contact your PM, or tweet him at@TonyAbbottMHR. You can contact Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, using this contact form or on Twitter at @SenatorCash.