On Valentine’s Day a billion women from different nations came together to stand up for their rights and speak out against the atrocities many have to endure as part of their daily lives.
On the same day in South Africa, television personality and women’s rights advocate, Reeva Steenkamp, was allegedly murdered by her star Olympian boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius.
In Egypt, commentators called the daily violence unleashed against women activists at Tahrir Square, where two years ago that nation’s Arab Spring played out, an ‘epidemic of rape’.
A woman was burned alive, ostensibly for witchcraft in Papua New Guinea, while two others barely escaped the same fate as they tried to speak out against the rape of a young girl.
Many women of all ages across the globe are regularly subjected to physical, emotional and mental brutality and it appears to be on the rise.
The triggers are hard to fathom - is it the proliferation of social media; is it that women are becoming too outspoken; is it the way we women dress?
In places where their victimisation is sanctioned, some women resort to extreme measures to protect themselves and their families.
Many become displaced as a result.
Of the more than 43 million displaced people in the world, some 50% are women, while about 44% are children.
Experts predict that more women will be represented in the number of asylum-seekers attempting to find protection in Australia, as families try to reunite.
But as is too often the case, our public discourse tends to overlook the contexts that lead people to seek refuge.
Behind the headlines of boats arrivals and people smugglers, the notion of women fleeing their countries to escape gender-violence is seldom, if ever broached.
As Monash University’s Professor Sharon Pickering points out, we need far deeper consideration and discussion of the reasons so many people cross borders to respond to asylum-seekers in a more “sustainable” and humanitarian way.
If more people knew about how women are targeted and killed, surely we wouldn’t turn them away … would we?