Perspective Top

Dead women are more than numbers

Marchers in Perth protest violence against women. (Marit Nair/YJI)

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA – Less than a month ago, a terrifying stabbing massacre occurred in Sydney’s Westfield Bondi Junction, leaving six dead, more injured and a nation horrified.

Five of the dead were women, with police confidently stating that it was gendered violence.

Before the month ended, more women had gone missing or been murdered, with one being killed by her ex-partner who had previously been released on bail.

Violence against women has been on the news recently and I have three things to say about it. It’s disgusting, pathetic and absolutely appalling.

I find it absolutely disgraceful that we’re a first-world country, but we’re struggling with a horrifying issue, which at its core, is essentially sexist.

I hate that it takes a massacre and lives lost to remind the government of this violence. I hate that politicians are shamefully taking advantage of this “national crisis” to advance their careers, calling for Royal Commissions and happily debating their next steps – all while women are being murdered.

It appears the government thought they needed to shut their eyes, cross their fingers and wish for a miracle to cut the number of dead women at the hands of a partner by 25%. That’s the figure they dreamed up and stamped on their precious National Plan.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, instead of a 25% reduction, the number increased by nearly 30% from 2022 to 2023, with the trend seeing no sign of slowing down.

Isn’t it shocking that something needs to be done to dent a problem that, for so long, appears to be entrenched into the misogyny of Australian culture?

My frustration stems from two sources. The first being the insufficient support that survivors are provided with. It is sickening that Albanese didn’t think of funding housing services.

The second is the discomfort of being in the midst of it yet feeling so disconnected. I know the deaths are terrifying and that this is all so unspeakably wrong, but I can’t feel the grief and fear I should be feeling.

I really wish I could feel more passionately about this, but it might be my degree of empathy that limits me from experiencing that fire that I feel when there’s discussion about food waste or education.

And I think that thing might be the numbers. We constantly describe these women as numbers, all while knowing that they were so much more than that. They were friends, sisters, mothers, but most of all, loved.

Katherine Phan is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Melbourne, Australia. She wrote this commentary.

Marit Nair is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Perth, Australia. She made the photo at the top.

More from YJI in Australia about this issue:

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