Australia is in the middle of an epidemic.
Just days after the brutal rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon, 22, in a Melbourne park, another young woman has been attacked, this time in a park in Junee, near Canberra.
According to a report by Daily Mail, the 19-year-old had just left her friends and was walking through the park at around 1.30am on Saturday, making her way home, when she was set upon and raped.
Speaking to Daily Mail following this latest horrific attack against another woman, police issued a statement advising people to walk home in groups.
It’s just not good enough.
As previously reported by Mamamia, 31 women have been murdered by men in Australia so far this year. And it’s only June.
Meanwhile, we’re only just starting to discuss the prospect of making it legal for women to carry tasers or pepper spray in an effort to try and defend themselves against such senseless attacks.
I know this isn’t something I should be openly admitting, especially given the current legality around it, but I actually do carry pepper spray in my handbag.
And I wouldn’t hesitate to use it if I felt threatened or at risk of being attacked.
In fact, I would recommend all women do the same, regardless of the law, because it’s becoming more and more evident that as women, we are still not safe in this country.
For the record, it's not like I actively set out in search of pepper spray.
I was actually opposed to the idea at first.
But last year, I was living in Los Angeles (where pepper spray is legal) and working nights in a seedy neighbourhood.
My mum, who was back in Sydney, was concerned about me walking back to my car alone at night, so when my sister came to visit me, she instructed her to go out and buy me some pepper spray.
I argued with her about it at first - having been born and raised in Australia, the concept of carrying pepper spray felt a little dramatic, strange and foreign. Wasn't it something only the police were entitled to?
But after more and more reports of people being attacked and even murdered in the streets around where I worked, I finally relented.
So, my sister and I went to Walmart together (kind of like Big W), and bought pepper spray.