Dead Women Count

Jean counts dead women. Not women
wiped out in warzones by bullets and bombs,

nor the 50 million missing in India – Rita Banjeri
is keeping count of them. Nor is she counting

the Korean Comfort Women, piecing
together what’s left of their bones

from the fire pits where they perished. No,
she is counting women killed closer to home.

But not the victims of wild-eyed strangers they drilled
us to evade: Stay with your mates when you leave

don’t walk down darkened lanes
don’t get into vans, don’t take shortcuts

through woods alone, don’t wear too short skirts,
too high heels, low-cut tops, don’t end up

a headline a corpse a break-a-mother’s-heart statistic
in a ditch. No, not those. She is counting women

killed with knives, shotguns, ropes,
with septic tanks and fists, with poison,

cricket bats and fire, each killed by a man who
would have sworn he loved her once; a father,

brother, boyfriend, husband, partner, ex.
A man she’d trusted in her home.

A man who thought her life no longer counts.
But Jean is counting. Every week. Every one.

And we are counting with her.

– Magi Gibson

 

Women in the UK are more likely to be raped, beaten and/or murdered by men they know than by a stranger – one in three women will experience domestic violence. Jean Hatchet cycles to raise funds for Wearside Women in Need. Each cycle is dedicated to the memory of a woman murdered by someone she knew. Jean has recently been diagnosed with very serious ovarian cancer but is continuing to cycle to raise funds and awareness. Jean’s blog is here.