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Domestic Violence Killed 6 Women in Australia Last Week

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Australia is in a domestic violence crisis. One woman a week currently loses her life at the hands of a former or current partner. Instead of victims, women and girls deserve to have every opportunity to be the best versions of themselves. Global Citizen campaigns on gender equality and gender-based violence. You can take action on these issues here.

Editor's note: This story contains language and details of violence.

Last week, while the nation was consumed with the Brett Kavanaugh hearing, needles in strawberries, and the Bachelor finale, six women throughout Australia were slain by a man previously known to them.

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On Oct. 3, an unnamed woman was dumped in Sydney. Her body was discovered bound and collared. That same day, mother-of-three Gayle Potter was purposefully run over by a vechile in Victoria. One day later, a woman was found dead in the Northern Territory after an assault.

Dannyll Goodsell was discovered dead on Oct. 5 after firefighters were called to her home in Ballarat. Later that day, Kristie Powell was found beaten to death on her Wollongong property. Then, on Oct. 6, Jacqueline Lynn Francis was stabbed to death in Rockingham. 

In the majority of these cases, the male charged with murder was the victim's current or former partner.

"For the past 10 days, we woke up nearly every morning to a new and horrific incident of a woman dying at the hands of a man that is known to her,” Tracy McLeod Howe, CEO of womens protection organisation White Ribbon Australia told Women’s Agenda.

“If this were any other incident involving mass deaths, immediate action would be taken to ensure no more lives were stolen," McLeod Howe added. "If this was terrorism, our troops would gather into action, if this was a health outbreak, our health system would be on high alert; we can no longer sit back and watch it happen.”

Domestic violence advocate and journalist Sherele Moody echoed McLeod Howe's thoughts. Moody, and women throughout the nation, claim the lack of mainstream media attention and government funding in the aftermath of the killings has been equally as disturbing as the deaths themselves.

For Moody, federal government funding of just $130 million a year for domestic violence, an offense that kills one woman a week, is absurd. Especially, she claims, when juxtaposed against the fact that the nation spends $35 billion a year on terrorism and national security, despite a total of three Australians having died at the hands of a terrorist in past 20 years.

"The war on women will continue unabated unless every single person in this country takes a stance against violence,” Moody stated in the Courier Mail. “Until then, we will continue mourning grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, colleagues, and friends. If this is not a national catastrophe, what the bloody hell is?”

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in 2017 that since the age of 15, 1 in 4 women will have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner and 1 in 6 women will have experienced stalking or sexual and physical violence. 

In 2010, all territory and state governments agreed on a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children in an effort to see a “significant and sustained reduction in violence" by 2022. The action plan has yet to see any quantifiable reducations in domestic violence cases.