Why Dead Women Walking?


In 2007 I started listing women killed by known men – their names, ages and the dates of their murders for a display I use for my work with Certain Curtain Theatre Company. We write produce and tour plays exploring important social issues and have been at the forefront of domestic violence drama since 1995.

When touring with our domestic violence dramas, we have a display of media coverage of domestic violence to highlight victim-blaming reporting. The articles also highlight the lack of dv helplines and the lenient sentencing of perpetrators of male violence against women. I noticed that headlines were nearly always about the killers, their achievements, mental illness, stressful job. The names of the women they had killed rarely made the headline or front page news and if they were it was about how the women had had an affair or ended the relationship. I decided to include a list of the women killed, along with their ages in our display, to show that the women behind the statistics are real women of all ages, cultures and class and had a name.

Lessons will be learned

Time and time again we see that the woman killed have been failed – that the warning signs were missed, they were not believed,
in essence that their murders could have been prevented.
Imagine that

prevented

Domestic homicide reviews are published and then I hear the same statement I have heard too many times to count –
‘Lessons will be learned’
and my heart sinks
I cry WHEN? When will women’s lives matter enough
When will we stop failing women and their children?
So these women should be walking – but they’re not because we let them down.
We women are more likely to be raped, beaten and/or murdered by men we know than by a stranger. One in three of us will experience domestic violence. So just as the ‘dead man walking’ phrase means someone who is about to die – we are all dead women walking. Because until those lessons are learned and women’s lives valued, statistically, we will be joining this too long list.
We walk in protest that our sisters are dying at the hands of men and in memory of the women killed.