The Line

Counting Dead Women: when will the violence end?

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One woman per week is killed by a former or current partner in Australia.

Only nineteen weeks into 2015 , 37 women have suffered violent deaths, 25 of which have led to convictions. Twenty-four times, the culprit was a male—19 of which were either a current, or former, partner of the victim. Australian activist group Destroy the Joint  thoroughly investigates each case through their Counting Dead Women campaign.

According to a study by the World Health Organisation, domestic violence affects 30% of women worldwide. This violence can take many forms including:

  • Physical battering
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Financial control
  • Sexual abuse
  • Spiritual abuse

White Ribbon estimates that within Australia, 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence within their lives, and as well as 1 in 3 children. Domestic violence is also the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children, and is the leading contributor in death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44. This is an epidemic. So why don’t we hear about it? Is it because these are issues in the private sphere, rather than the public? Or is it simply that subconsciously our society accepts the belief that women, and violence against women, is so normative that it is not important.

Are we so desensitised to violence?

The results from a recent campaign survey, The Line, would suggest as much. In this study, 3000 individuals, between the ages of 12-24, were interviewed. The results were extremely concerning:

  • 1 in 3 believed “exerting control over someone” is not a form of violence.
  • 1 in 4 did not think it was serious if a man, who was normally gentle, slapped his partner when drunk.
  • 1 in 6 respondents said women should know their so-called “place”.
  • 1 in 4 think it’s normal for men to pressure women into sex.

Compare this to Counting Dead Women: from a young age, we as a society are conditioned, whether it’s subconscious or not, to believe certain things as normal. This must be eradicated, beginning with education programs for young people.

Tina Fang, aged 25, was the first Australian woman to die from this silent, “private” killer; her throat was slashed in an Adelaide hotel room.

Rinabel Tiglao Blackmore, aged 44, died on January 2nd after jumping from a moving car on New Year’s Eve. She did this out of fear from her life from partner Shane Dickinson.

January 17th, 26-year-old Leila Alvi was stabbed in her car in Auburn by her estranged husband, despite having an Apprehended Violence Order.

Fabiana Palhares, aged 34, died in hospital on February 2nd, after her ex-partner attacked her with an axe—she was 10 weeks pregnant. Similarly, on February 28th, Tara Costigan aged 28, was killed with an axe at her home in Calwell by ex-partner Marcus Rappell.

Also on February 28th, 22-year-old Dianne Chi, was found in the boot of her car in Otway Ranges – the body of her partner Paul Phan also found intisde the car. Police are investigating a possible murder suicide.

On March 2nd, Kris-Deann Sharpley aged 27, was heavily pregnant when she was shot dead with her seven-year-old son Jackson by father Derek Sharpley.

March 7th, Prabha Arun Kumar was stabbed to death while walking home from work through Parramatta Park.

These are just 8 of the 37 horrific murders that have already happened. When will the next woman be found dead from domestic violence? It’s only a matter of time.