She was 19. A talented soccer player, an adored daughter and an aspiring lawyer. In the early hours of Saturday morning Laa Chol was stabbed to death, becoming the 37th woman in Australia murdered violently in 2018.
A 17-year-old boy from Sunshine North in Melbourne was charged by Victoria Police with her death on Monday. The attack occurred after a dispute between two groups at a party in a short-stay apartment. Emergency services were called to the CBD building but Chol died at the scene.
Skye United, her football club, paid tribute to Laa Chol on Sunday and her family and friends have remembered her as a happy and positive soul.
Her death has not been met with the same outpouring of public grief as Eurydice Dixon’s. Some flowers have been left at the base of the building where she was killed.
— Eva Sarr (@evacsarr) July 25, 2018
Peter Dutton, the Minister for Home Affairs described her death as “tragic and needless” but also proof of a “major law and order problem” in Victoria. “We don’t have these problems with Sudanese gangs in NSW or Queensland,” he said.
Victorian Police have confirmed Chol’s death had nothing to do with gangs.
“It’s not related to ethnicity, we’ve seen murders occur in similar circumstances ever since I’ve been in the police force,” Commander Stuart Bateson, who leads Victoria Police’s African-Australian community taskforce told 3AW. “This is not to do with warring factions. The suggestion that Laa Chool, the victim, was a member of a gang is just not true.”
— ABC Melbourne (@abcmelbourne) July 23, 2018
What we do know is that Chol was a victim of violence against women and she’s the 37th woman to have paid with her life this year.
Laa Chol was the 37th woman murdered in Australia this year and the 37th woman whose death was not known to be associated with or linked to any gang.
The “issue” of crimes being committed by Sudanese gangs in Melbourne is taking centre stage in the public discourse right now, with even the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull weighing in. The reason for this is damning as The Project’s Waleed Aly explained last week.
The “truth” about these gangs? The PM knows that being “tough” on this part of the community wins votes in this country.
— Georgina Dent (@georgiedent) July 19, 2018
Aly said: “The government is facing the Super Saturday elections next week, and to put it crudely, they want to appear tough on Sudanese migrants despite the fact those migrants are responsible for just one percent of crime, because being tough on that community wins votes in this country.”
If it does win votes it’s a poor indictment on Australia and it’s shamefully opportunistic.
To use it as political football in the realm of violence against women – which isn’t a subject either Peter Dutton or Malcolm Turnbull have spoken out about recently – not even when 3 women were killed in a single day – is deplorable.
The absolute least Laa Chol deserves is to have her death misconstrued to perpetuate a damaging myth about the Sudanese community.