The one tip that will stop women from being killed.

I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before…

This morning, 31-year-old Melbourne man Sean Price faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court charged with the murder of teenager Masa Vukotic. Price is the man that police allege stabbed Masa on Tuesday evening while she was out for a walk — in daylight hours — less than 500 metres from her home.

The fault for Masa’s death lies solely with her murderer. It was a senseless act of random violence.

Even so, the public conversation on this issue insists on reflecting on what Masa could have done differently. What was she doing that made her a target? What precautions could she, should she have taken to stay alive?

Maybe she shouldn’t have been walking alone.

Maybe she shouldn’t have been wearing headphones.

Maybe she shouldn’t have had the audacity to leave her fucking house.

More: Masa was a student. She was a daughter. She was a friend. She could have been any one of us.

On Thursday, Victorian homicide squad chief Detective Inspector Mick Hughes told ABC Radio National that the attack highlighted the need for people, particularly women, to remain vigilant.

“I suggest to people, particularly females, they shouldn’t be alone in parks,” Inspector Hughes said.

“I’m sorry to say that is the case.”

Detective Inspector Mick Hughes.

At a later press conference he qualified the comments, insisting that the police were not victim-blaming.


“We’ve never actually said that,” he said.

He offered the advice that people walk together — or rather that women walk together — for their own safety.

But, here’s the thing: as women, we’ve heard the advice. We’ve had it drilled into us consciously and unconsciously since birth. We hear it so often, so loudly and from so many sources, it is deafening.

And, as women, we’ve internalised that message. Women take precautions. We walk with our keys between our fingers, we carry our mobile phones, we travel together.

We take precautions. And we are still killed.

We are killed in our parks like Masa Vukotic and Prahba Arun Kumar.

We are killed in our streets like Jill Meagher

We are killed in our homes.

Prahba Arun Kumar was murdered last week while walking through a park in Parramatta.

The oft-repeated data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us that 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and more often than not it occurs in their in their homes.

17% of Australian women have experienced violence by a current or previous partner in their lifetime.

17 of us have died as a result of domestic violence this year alone.

And it is not our fault. There is nothing – nothing – we do that causes someone to attack us.

The memorial outside the Doncaster park where Masa was killed.

We put so many restrictions on girls growing up. We tell them what to wear, where to go, who to hang out with, what time to get home.

Perhaps it’s time for us to place a deliberate focus on teaching our sons that girls are their equals. We need to teach them from the day that they are born that they need to treat women with respect. Women’s safety is not a women’s only issue. This is not something we need to teach girls — we need to start with the boys.

As women, we’re all given the same advice from childhood. Advice on how to protect ourselves. If men were all told one simple thing from childhood: respect women, they are not yours to kill – imagine how different things would be.

Bill Shorten: ‘We need a national crisis summit to tackle family violence.’

It doesn’t matter what Masa was doing when she was killed. Whatever she was doing, we would have found some way to analyse it and suggest that she somehow, in some way, caused her own death. At the moment it is wearing earphones and walking alone. But even if she hadn’t been, there would have been some other suggestion that she was doing something “wrong.”

The fact is that her death was a random, heart-wrenching tragedy. But the grim reality is that more often than not when a woman is killed in Australia, it is not random.

Violence against women is endemic and the focus shouldn’t be on what women can do to stop it. The onus is on the perpetrators to stop doing it.

There’s only one piece of advice that will stop women from being killed and that advice is not for women, it is for men:

Stop fucking killing.


Mamamia aims to publish a variety of opinions on the important topics of the day. For are differing opinion try this: “An open letter to women, from a man who is concerned about their safety.