A war on women exists and it's happening in Aussie homes

With 62 women and eight children lost to Australia's domestic violence epidemic in just 10 months, SHERELE MOODY writes it is clear there is only one way to end this terrible war - making abusive men realise that they are the enemy and they need to address their violent and controlling behaviour before another innocent life is lost. This article contains offensive language.

WE are in the middle of a bloody and deadly war and every Australian woman is a potential casualty.

If you want to tour our nation's killing fields, simply walk down any Aussie street.

Here in these everyday homes, behind everyday doors, you're likely to meet a woman in domestic violence crisis and a man on the verge of maiming and potentially killing her.

The killing of a 68-year-old Fraser Coast mum and her 50-year-old daughter apparently by the older woman's 70-year-old husband means 62 Australian women have died as a result of alleged family violence since January 1.

Like today's tragedy, most of these deaths allegedly happened at the hands of male family members.

Men have also allegedly killed about eight Australian child relatives in the past 10 months.

As we head towards the end of the year, I have no doubt we will see the 2016 domestic violence war toll eclipse 2015 when 79 women lost their lives.

My female mates and I believe it's only a matter of time before someone we all know and love becomes an unacknowledged soldier sacrificed in this relentless and unstoppable conflict.

We know the statistics well. One in three of the girls and women in our lives is, or will be, the victim of male psychological abuse and one in four will have been bashed and/or raped by her male lover, father, brother or someone else she calls kin.

In other words, every one of our sisters, daughters, grand-daughters, nieces, female friends, female colleagues and the women we meet daily as we go about our normal routines is a potential victim in this unrelenting, seemingly impossible to stop, conflict.

Despite all the money our governments spend educating our nation about domestic violence and respectful healthy relationships, it seems abusive men still reckon they're above the law and our condemnation.

Why does this war on women exist and why won't it end?

Because Australia has a major problem with toxic masculinity.

Almost any woman in this country can tell you about the time they were groped, harassed sexually, demeaned, belittled or abused by a regular Aussie bloke.

The same Aussie blokes who go down to the pub for a few bevvies and end up boasting about the "slut" they "boned" last night to the entire bar.

Blokes who drive by, yelling "show us your tits" or "walk faster ya fat bitch".

Blokes who cop a feel of a workmate's bottom as she waits for the elevator doors to open then look astounded when accused of sexual harassment.

Blokes who reckon women can't run companies, be prime ministers, play elite football or deserve pay parity.

Blokes who say they're hard done by because their wives walked out the door with the kids, rather than raise them in a violent home, and then had "the hide to ask for child support".

Blokes who will read this opinion piece and make it all about them, crying #notallmen and claiming reverse sexism because I'm not talking about male victims and female perpetrators.

Yes! Australia has a problem and the sad thing is, these abusive blokes know the issue is theirs, but they can't be bothered fixing it.

Why? Because all around them are "good" guys who normalise toxic masculinity whenever they fail to call it out and demand change.

That's right. I'm talking about the good guys - who laugh when a mate demeans a woman, who turn away when a mate belittles women, who ignore a mate who abuses a woman and then say "we didn't see that coming" when a mate kills a woman.

How bloody hard is it to understand that all of us Aussie females have a right to sleep safely in our own beds and to expect our homes to be safe and nurturing sanctuaries where we're encouraged to thrive?

We have a right to never be emotionally taunted, flogged or raped and a right to expect abusers to get help for their angry, controlling and abusive behaviour.

Most importantly, no matter what we do or what we say, we have every right to NOT BE KILLED.

In other words, the date of our death is entirely nature's decision and no-one else's.

Until abusive men realise that women are not theirs to control and kill and until they accept that they are the problem and that they need to reach out and get help, this long and unrelenting war in Australia's homes will not end.

The battlefields will continue to be laced with the blood of innocent souls who died simply because they were female and they loved someone who should never have been their enemy.

APN Australian Regional Media journalist SHERELE MOODY is also the founder and director of domestic violence story sharing platform The RED HEART Campaign.

For 24-hour domestic violence support, phone Queensland's DVConnect on 1800 811 811 or MensLine on 1800 600 636, NSW's Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). If you need mental health support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.