Michaela Dunn was allegedly killed by Mert Ney.
Michaela Dunn was allegedly killed by Mert Ney.

Why are we celebrating a milk crate when a woman is dead?

OPINION: On Tuesday night I started seeing posts shared on Facebook, by news outlets and friends alike.

The crux of the joke in each post was that in America they needed guns to stop violence, but in Australia all it took was a milk crate.

Having been working through the day, I had to Google what was the biggest news story in the country - the brutal stabbing murder of a young woman and the alleged offender being taken down by chairs and a milk crate.

I know Australia is the home of larrikin humour and we are rightly proud of our tough gun laws.

But all I could think about as I read the news stories was the young woman who had lost her life.

Michaela Dunn, 24, was a woman with family and friends.

She had her whole life ahead of her until it was brutally ripped away.

But her death has become almost a footnote to the story.

It seems people are much more eager to celebrate the male heroism and laugh about a milk crate then reflect on Australia's greatest shame - another woman, dead by violence, 41 so far this year.

That is more than one week since the start of the year.

We can laugh and celebrate our gun laws and focus on the heroes if we wish.

But I feel like we are missing the much bigger picture, which is one of how misogyny and violence against women is still much too prevalent in our society.

Earlier this month, there was a nation-wide move to crack down on Wicked Campers and their offensive slogans.

Many of those messages are sexist towards women, some even promoting sexual and physical violence.

Slogans such as "fat chicks are harder to kidnap", and "I've often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can't get my wife to go swimming".

Another degrading slogan reads : "don't trust anything that can bleed for five days and live".

The slogans of a sexual nature don't bear repeating in a family-friendly news article.

You might think that this, like the milk crate, are perfectly acceptable jokes.

But it is this kind of attitude towards women that leads to a more general disrespect, to treating women as less than equal human beings.

It's the disregard for a woman dead by violence in favour of celebrating male heroes and a milk crate that drives home the notion that women's lives don't matter.

For years I have watched as laws were changed and campaigns were waged after one-punch attacks on male victims.

Their deaths were no more tragic than a woman's but the response was far different - actual action, tough sentences for perpetrators, government-funded campaigns and lockout laws followed.

For female victims of violence? A brief period of mourning, then back to the status quo.

Michaela Dunn, you will be remembered, just as I remember so many other victims: Stephanie Scott, Lisa Keem, Alison Baden-Clay, Jill Meagher, June Wallis, Aiia Maasarwe, Ingrid Lester, Courtney Herron and Eurydice Dixon.

May you rest in peace.



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