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Phil's Story

No campaign to stop the epidemic of violence against women will be complete until we apologise to the forgotten women, my sister among them, denied justice in our courtrooms.

At 8am on the morning of 26 August 1987 my 25-year-old sister was attacked by her knife-wielding ex-boyfriend as she parked her car outside the kindergarten where she worked.

When Vicki was pronounced dead at the Melbourne General Hospital I cuddled my mother as she cried, ‘Philip, what am I going to do?’. Vicki was Mum’s first daughter, after four boys.

A modern young woman from a progressive working class family, she lost her life to a vengeful man who refused to accept her right to be free of him. In a courtroom eighteen months later this violent misogynist was granted a defence of provocation, found not guilty of murder and sentenced to three years and eleven months in jail.

Researching the history of ‘wife killing’ I soon discovered, sadly, that what happened to my sister, on the street and in a courtroom, was all too common. Just how many women have been murdered in so-called ‘domestic settings’ in Australia we can’t say, for no government agency has engaged in such research.

Might it be close to 3,000 women lost since the publication in 1970 of Germaine Greer’s seminal, The Female Eunuch?