real life

It's only April. And 19 women have already lost their lives to domestic violence this year.

It’s only April. And already, 19 Australian women have lost their lives to domestic violence or alleged domestic violence.

Trigger warning: This post deals with domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers.

The husband of missing Townsville woman Julie Hutchinson, 48, has been charged with murdering the mother of two and interfering with her corpse.

Security guard Michael Hutchinson, 47, has been in custody since Saturday night and Ms Hutchinson’s Townsville house was declared a crime scene over the weekend, ABC News reports.

Ms Hutchinson has not been seen since March 7, but was reported missing on April 9.

Related content: Julie Hutchinson’s husband has been arrested.

Ms Hutchinson’s alleged murder brings the number of women killed in alleged circumstances of family or intimate partner violence to 19.

That figure is 19 people too many.

Julie Hutchinson.

This time last year, it was only one a week. This year, at times it has been two per week. It remains higher than average.

That’s because family and intimate partner violence is the leading cause of ill health and death for women between the ages of 15 and 44.

Bigger than cancer, heart disease, road fatalities — domestic violence is the single, greatest killer of women, and it can be stopped.

If you include women who have lost their lives to violence — like Masa Vukotic, Prabha Arun Khuman or Stephanie Scott —  that number rises to  a horrifying total of 31, according to Destroy the Joint.

Each week, we are confronted with the senseless, cruel and tragic killing of an Australian woman at the hands of her partner or family. They’re killed by the men who were supposed to love them. The men who were supposed to take care of them.

Related content: Stephanie Scott’s family should be celebrating a wedding, not planning a funeral.

Innocent women are dying every, single week. Domestic violence finds women of all races, religions, ages, financial backgrounds and marital statuses — it is a national problem, affecting our entire population.

How loud to we have to scream before this becomes a national priority?

Those of us in the media have an obligation to shine a light on these tragedies until they are corrected — until women aren’t unfairly targeted as victims of intimate partner and family violence. Mamamia will continue to cover every tragic death that occurs in this country – and we’ll be adding a number to the graphic above – until there are no more women killed by the people who should have loved them.

We’re begging you, Australia: please don’t forget these victims or the horrific crimes at hand.

The following women have lost their lives in circumstances where they should have felt safe. Some of these matters are still before the courts, meaning their alleged murderers have not yet been convicted:

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT(1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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