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7 weeks, 7 women. The story we hoped we wouldn't have to tell in 2020.

At the end of last year, we at Mamamia wrote an article remembering the 61 women killed by violence in 2019.

“As December draws to a close and we open presents, spend time with our families, enjoy days at the beach and set resolutions, a whole new group of innocent women are about to start the last year of their lives,” we wrote.

We hoped we were wrong. But we weren’t.

Seven weeks into 2020, we’ve already lost seven women.

WATCH: Women and violence: The hidden truth. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

That horrific statistic – one woman killed every week at the hands of a current or former partner – is so far playing out as we were told it would.

We’ve lost an unnamed 50-year-old woman from Brisbane’s north.

She was rescued from a house fire on Wednesday and resuscitated by paramedics, but died in hospital on Sunday morning from her injuries.

A man – who had already been charged with attempted murder and arson – had his charges upgraded to murder today.

Police have confirmed the tragedy as domestic violence-related.

On February 4, a woman in her 40s was found dead with stab wounds in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.

She was stabbed inside her Seaford house and ran onto the footpath crying for help.

The Age reports that three young children witnessed the stabbing, and a man, alleged to be her ex-partner, was arrested at the scene. He has since been charged with one count of murder.

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On January 29, a 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with murder after he fatally stabbed his stepmother in Sydney’s south.

The 42-year-old was found with multiple stab wounds to her back at a Woolooware home at 1.30am. She was taken to hospital critically injured and later died from her injuries.

The day before on January 28, a Melbourne mother was murdered while she was on a Skype call with family.

Former yoga teacher Maud Steenbeek, 61, was in her home when her neighbour allegedly snuck through a back window just before 8pm.

9News reports moments later, a woman’s voice was heard screaming “leave me alone”.

Her son found her lifeless body.

Maud Steenbeek
Maud Steenbeek, 61, was murdered on January 28. Image: Facebook.

"You were the most wonderful, strong, independent, loving mother and woman we ever had the privilege of knowing. We are truly empty without your presence but your strength and spirit will keep us all united and together forever," wrote her children in a statement, as reported by 7News.

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On January 19, a woman was fatally wounded by a 25-year-old man, who Perth Now reports she was in an arranged marriage with.

He turned up to the local police station at about lunchtime that day covered in blood and was arrested and charged with murder.

Ten days earlier, the body of Christine Neilan was found in bushland near Lightning Ridge in outback New South Wales.

The 39-year-old had been out walking her dog when she went missing. Her body was found with serious head injuries.

"Mum is a loving, beautiful, caring person that would never even hurt a fly. We just want justice. We want somebody to come forward," Christine's 22-year-old daughter Julianne told the ABC.

The body of Kimberley McRae was found in her Coogee unit in Sydney's eastern suburbs on January 14, a week after she was last seen.

The 69-year-old was a transgender sex worker and had lived on that street for more than 12 years.

"She was certainly an icon of Coogee for over a decade. She was 'out there' but she's the kindest person I've known," a friend told Daily Mail.

Unlike the names Aiia Maasarwe, or Eurydice Dixon, the names of these seven women aren't imprinted in our brains.

We've barely heard about their deaths, and yet they too were murdered.

The same outpouring of grief hasn't been felt, despite their families feeling the same depths of grief.

Aiia and Eurydice were both young women killed by strangers in very public places. You are not meant to be killed by a stranger in a public park. It's shocking and horrific and terrifying, and something that we fear will happen to ourselves.

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AIIA-and-EURYDICE
Aiia and Eurydice were publicly mourned. Their faces are easily recognisable by most Australians. Image: Facebook.

But when you die at the hands of a current or former partner, the conversation changes from being an act of "violence" to being one of "domestic violence."

That one little word 'domestic' changes things. Even though it shouldn't.

We don't know who killed Kimberley McRae or Christine Neilan yet, they were possibly murdered by strangers as well.

As we try to grasp at the reasons as to why their stories haven't hit the front pages, the unpalatable truth is Kim's profession in the sex industry and Christine's nationality -  a proud Indigenous woman - most likely are part of the reason.

We simply can't let these seven women and their stories slip from headlines.

We can't let the deaths of women at the hands of violence  - no matter how they died -  be met with any less outrage than those killed by strangers.

We owe it to these seven women to remember their lives.

Mamamia acknowledges the important work of the Counting Dead Women Australia researchers at Destroy The Joint who are committed to the reporting of violence against women in Australia. 

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.

Feature Image: Facebook/NSW Police/Destroy The Joint.


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