Trigger warning: This article deals with incidents of domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers.
Tara Brown’s day started like any other.
Just after 8.30am on Tuesday, like so many parents all over the country, she dropped her three-year-old daughter to childcare. The ordinary part of her day finished there.
Upon leaving the childcare centre, the 24-year-old mother-of-one discovered her partner waiting in his car. It must have been a chilling discovery.
Five days earlier she’d gone to the police for help. She showed them a series of text messages from her partner and explained she feared for her safety. She didn’t fear a random ‘road rage’ incident, as many national headlines continue to suggest. She feared what her partner might do to her.
Could she have known, then, how justified her fear was? Could she have known, then, just what brutality awaited her?
That five days later she would be in a coma? That six days later her family would have to turn her life support off? That her three-year-old daughter would be sentenced to a life without her mother?
Could she have known that she would be run off the road at 100 kilometres an hour on a suburban street?
Could she have known that a street full of people would then watch in horror as she was bludgeoned practically to death with a steel rod?
I hope she didn’t know but I suspect she might have. Domestic violence was familiar territory for Tara Brown: would she have turned to the police unless she feared the worst?
Tara Brown is the 61st woman who has been killed violently in Australia this year and, like at least two-thirds of those women, Tara was allegedly killed by a man she knew. She is another victim of this scourge that is killing almost two Australian women every week. Women of all ages, from all walks of life, whom are tragically united by their circumstances.
In every case the facts are shocking. Women are being stabbed. Shot. Hit. Beaten. In every case we watch in horror. We struggle to comprehend how anyone could possibly kill someone they love. We can’t understand how any woman could ever meet this cruel fate. But we cannot be surprised. Not anymore. We are not in the dark and we cannot pretend that we are.
Because the only thing more certain than our collective horror at every violent death that makes the news, is that this will happen again. Maybe in a day, maybe in three days. If we’re lucky five or six days might pass without incident, but it will happen again. And again. And again.