opinion

All the 'dangerous' things Australian women were doing right before they were murdered.

“Women die doing everyday mundane things like walking home…” 24-year-old Toyah Cordingley shared to Facebook in June.

The news had broken that a Melbourne woman only two years younger than her, Eurydice Dixon, had been murdered on her way home from work.

Toyah was sharing the words of Kon Karapanagiotidis. “Stop blaming women,” it read. “Make men the issue.”

That was four months ago.

On Monday morning, her lifeless body was found at the beach.

It was Sunday at around 2pm when Toyah decided to take her dog, Indie, for a walk at Wangetti Beach, just north of Cairns.

Is there anything more ‘mundane’ than that? Taking your dog for a walk on a quiet Sunday afternoon?

When she wasn’t home by 11pm, her family reported her missing.

Once her body was found, police said they would be treating Toyah’s death as a homicide.

Toyah, who worked at an animal shelter called Paws and Claws, was most likely murdered walking her dog in broad daylight.

Where was the danger in that? 

It was 8:30pm on a Tuesday night, just three weeks ago, when 46-year-old mother Gayle Potter was standing on her own property.

The mother of three was killed by a local man named Glenn Martyn who decided to run her over with his car.

Where was the danger in that?

Kristie Powell, 39, was inside her own home, metres away from her five-month-old baby boy when she was murdered.

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It was between 11:30pm and midnight.

Had she just had a shower? Was she putting on the last load of washing for the night? Was she looking forward to getting in to bed?

Where was the danger in any of that?

On the same Saturday in July, a 76-year-old woman named Jan Garrett was murdered inside her home. A man believed to be her live-in carer has been charged with her murder. Then Amanda Harris, a childcare worker and mother of three, was set alight inside her home. Her partner was the perpetrator.

Two women in Australia, within a matter of hours, were killed in the place they believed themselves safest.

In 2018, there have been women murdered on their way home from work, in suburban parks, at the beach, inside their own homes and even inside their own bedrooms.

When bad things happen, we search desperately for a pattern.

If we know why it happened, or where it happened, or how it happened, we might learn how to protect ourselves.

But there is no pattern to be found in the stories of the victims. It is the very randomness of these profound acts of violence that keeps all women, everywhere, in a state of fear. The threat is omnipresent.

And with each news story of another woman murdered, we are served an unhelpful reminder: That there is yet another place where we are not safe.

The danger lies not in where we are or what we do – but the simple reality that we are women.

How can we not be afraid?

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