This article contains information about sexual assault and domestic violence which may be triggering to some.
Women have always been encouraged to seek help when confronted with violence at home, but the murder of Shana Grice proves why so many still suffer in silence—they're just simply not believed.
The case of Shana Grice, who was murdered by an ex-partner in 2016, has received renewed attention this week after the docuseries Murder In Slow Motion aired on Sky News over the weekend, putting a spotlight on Grice's killing.
In August 2016, a 19-year-old Shana was at home when her then-27-year-old ex-partner, Michael Lane, broke in.
It was six months after she had first complained to police about his stalking behaviour. Shana had reportedly complained five times to Sussex Police, but received a £90 fine for “wasting their time.”
He slashed her throat and set her body on fire, then left her house and went to work.
The renewed interest in Shana's case comes just weeks after Sarah Everard's murder, allegedly at the hands of a London police officer while she was walking home, and law enforcement's aggressive response to vigils held in her honour, with many calling out their lack of confidence in the ones sworn to protect them.
Following Lane's conviction, where he was sentenced to 25 years to life, an independent investigation found that 13 other women had reported him for stalking.
“This is such a tragic murder and all the more so because it was avoidable,” forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes told the Mirror. “The case typifies why women have little faith in the police and why they often don’t report incidents because they are not confident they will get the help that they need.”
Despite domestic abuse prosecutions falling in England and Wales, two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.
The reality isn't all that different in Australia, with at least one woman killed each week in a domestic incident.
According to Destroy the Joint, in 2020 there were 55 women in Australia allegedly killed by a male intimate partner.
The sad truth is, one in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner, according to a 2019 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare—a number that has only increased over the last twelve months.
While Shana's case might have happened years ago, the case has proved itself as yet another tragic example of how the legal system consistently fails women, even when they do everything we're told to do.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800-RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.