The invisible women
Last month tragedy struck in Melbourne. A much-loved local man, Sisto Malaspina, was murdered in a senseless and violent attack. Ask anyone on the street today, or even in a year’s time, and his name would be easily recalled, as too his wonderful contributions to his community. And rightly so.
But today it struck me: What about the women who are murdered?
Ask anyone on the street today and they could not tell you how many women have been murdered in senseless and violent attacks so far in 2018 (it’s 60 at time of writing this article) let alone tell you the women’s names and their wonderful contributions to their communities.
In October, a record 11 women died, and I dare you to remember one of their names. It’s not because you don’t care: the collective grief for Sisto shows me the community’s great capacity for grief, solidarity and empathy. It’s because it’s still not reported on or talked about fairly – at least not in any way that cuts through.
Women are invisible, whether this is women murdered by their partners or women caught in the crossfire between two men in politics having a dick-swinging competition. Women only seem to become visible when there is blame to apportion. Otherwise we’re merely nameless, invisible pawns whose contributions to the community are not given adequate consideration by our mainstream media, governments and society.
After Sisto’s murder, I listened to a 60-minute radio program dedicated to unpicking the intricacies and motivations of terrorists and terrorism. It examined the whys and wherefores of terrorism and what ordinary people can do to help stop it.
Imagine if a program like this aired every time a woman was violently murdered? A program dedicated to unpicking the intricacies and motivations of misogyny, inequality and patriarchal terrorism. I suppose this wouldn’t leave much room for other programs – but at least violence against women would be in the national conversation.
Today it isn’t – and it begs the question why? I just read an article from 2015, which asked the same question – so I guess nothing has changed.
Women are invisible. Their deaths don’t count. Their contributions are meaningless. Their worth only rises to the surface to serve the motivations of men.
That’s the message. And yes, I’m angry! Yes … I’m invisible.
Women Dead in November: 5
Women Dead in 2018 so far: 63
DO YOU NEED SUPPORT?
- If you or somebody you know is in immediate danger, call 000
- Domestic Violence Line
1800 656 463
1800 671 442 TTY (Hearing impaired)
- Rape Crisis Service
1800 424 017
- Interrelate Family Centres
1300 736 966
- 1800 RESPECT – 24-hour hotline for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence. Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit 1800respect.org.au.
- Safe Steps is a 24-hour family violence response centre. Call 1800 015 188 or visit safesteps.org.au.
- MensLine Australia(24 hours)
1300 789 978 (24 hours a day, seven days a week)
- Lifeline provides all Australians with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 131 114 or visit lifeline.org.au.