For 90 minutes each night for the past few weeks, Emily Barclay has been standing alone on a stage at Sydney Theatre Company, heavily pregnant, telling the true story of a woman who was held captive, starved, beaten, raped, stalked and eventually murdered by her husband in Melbourne.
Lethal Indifference spotlights not just this specific, brutal story but the structural issues at the heart of it – the more complicated questions that won’t make it to a bulletin. Why did the police require her statements be made in person when, like many women, she was too scared to leave the house? Why hasn’t the government found a way to give women’s shelters and services the funding they need? Why does the community expect women to leave, when many of them have nowhere to go, and when leaving can present the biggest risk?
And why do we act surprised every time another woman is killed, when we’ve done so little to fix the underlying causes that are staring us right in the face?