Kate Malonyay lived – and died – about 200 metres from my home in Sydney. I didn’t know Kate, but I’ve walked past her home hundreds – if not thousands – of times. As the news broke first that her bruised body had been found, alone, in her apartment, after work colleagues raised the alert, my heart sank. As the story evolved, and her ex-boyfriend jumped to his own death yesterday to evade arrest for her alleged murder, I felt anger. What sort of selfish and gutless bastard is this guy, to take away the life, the promise, the joy that this woman brought to the world?
And then I was transported back to the UN Women event I attended this time last year, with the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo. Back then I was stunned to learn that – right here in Australia – one woman is killed every week by an intimate partner. Who knew? Kate Malonyay, my unknown neighbour, was just one in fifty women who will suffer the same fate this year. She lived in one of the safest streets in one of the safest communities in Australia, but it wasn’t enough to save her.
I spent this morning, like many Australians, attending a local Anzac Day service. As the bugler played The Last Post, tears rolled down my face for my grandfather, and his mates, and the atrocities they endured. All in defence of this nation that I adore as much as the air that I breath. That they cared so much for their country, and one another, is at the heart of the mateship that underpins our quintessentially Australian culture.
And then I shed a tear for Kate Malonyay. And her family who mourn her loss. And her friends and colleagues who cared enough to raise the alarm. And I wondered what we can do to end violence against women? What more will it take?
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.