The photo of David Millane, the father of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane, looking ashen with red rimmed eyes brought tears to my own eyes.

Another beautiful woman dead — another family devastated.

Immediately the gossip started and by crikey social media went wild.

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There are only two people who know exactly what happened the night Grace died but she will never be able to have her say.

Whenever something like this happens the warnings are circulated again.

"Women should think carefully about going anywhere by themselves", " there is safety in numbers", and the message we have been telling our children since the day they were old enough to understand "don't talk to strangers".

But hang on a moment, women should be able to go out by themselves.

Men can. No one tells men not to go to a bar alone, not to walk in dark areas alone and not to talk to strangers.

Women should not have to be afraid and it's men who need education about their attitude to women.

Right from the day they are born, both sexes should be taught to respect each other.

As I write this, news that another woman has been found dead in South Auckland is breaking. A man has been arrested for her murder.

When is this going to stop?


If this sounds as if I am a man-hater — I'm certainly not.

All the men I know would never be violent towards a woman, or anyone for that matter. That goes for 99.9 per cent of the male population — well at least it did - now it seems it goes for perhaps 99 per cent of the population.

To understand better what I'm getting at I'll relate what happened to me earlier in the week.

I was walking through a park at 6am when I saw a man walking towards me. He wasn't walking a dog, he was just there.

Immediately my stomach fluttered in fear and two things went through my mind.
There's no one else anywhere near, and what would I do if he did attack me?

He didn't, but I bet he wasn't scared when he saw me walking toward him. There will be thousands of women out there who have had that experience.

Walking alone, spotting a man and immediately having that little flutter of fear. When I told Mr Neat his reaction was "I've said before you shouldn't walk through there at that time of the day by yourself".

We had a "discussion" about the fact that it would be okay for him to do it and it just was not acceptable that I shouldn't be able to.

Women are not prey.

They have every right to be wherever they damn well please, just as our children have a right to feel safe in their own home.

Violence is just not acceptable.

And neither are pitiful sentences like the one handed down to Patrick Dennis Tarawa in the High Court at Whangārei earlier this week. In a fit of road rage he punched Christopher Vujcich twice in the face. Mr Vujcich died the next day from a blunt-force head injury.

Tarawa, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, was sentenced to 10 months' home detention and 400 hours' community work.

That, in my opinion, is just outrageous.

Because Tarawa couldn't control his temper a man died. The sentence is an insult to Mr Vujcich's family and every other victim of violence in this country.

If we want the next generation to respect each other we should be leading by example both in our homes and in the courts of law.

Everyone deserves justice.

• Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.