Two grisly deaths in two weeks. Two lives lost. Two more women who should have, could have been protected.
Trigger Warning: This post deals with issues of domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.
When a man kills a woman at home, it’s easy to ignore. It’s behind closed doors. Police officers, neighbours, journalists, even some friends and family, instinctively consider it a private matter.
But when a woman is slaughtered in front of strangers on a Melbourne street corner, or thrown off a high-rise balcony in the Sydney CBD, it’s not so easy to ignore. It’s bloody, devastating proof of the domestic violence epidemic in Australia.
The same goes for residential streets and public car parks. When a woman’s corpse is found on public property, we’re forced to confront what happened. There is no door to close. We have to pay attention to the public murders, even though the most dangerous place for a woman in this country is actually inside her own home.
On Friday the 9th January, 23-year-old dancer Nikita Chawla was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband, 29-year-old Parminder Singh. Reports say he used her phone to send a text message, which apparently confirmed his suspicions that she was having an affair. They were reportedly seen near their West Brunswick apartment block.
On Saturday the 17th January, 26-year-old Leila Alavi was allegedly stabbed to death by her estranged husband Mokhtar Hosseiniamraei, against whom she had an AVO. She was found in her Holden Astra, in a car park near the hairdressers where she worked. Leila was living in a women’s refuge at the time of her death, having taken an Apprehended Violence Order against her husband – presumably scared of the exact fate she met.
Both Nikita and Leila died in horrific circumstances. Their families will mourn their deaths and remember them as beautiful, strong, courageous young women. That is their role here.
Our role, as strangers, is to keep fighting for change.