BONE-CHILLING. Blood-curdling. Horrific.

Mere days after the commemoration of International Women’s Day, the nation is now coming to terms with a crime the nature of which sets a new low in our country.

Yet again, the case involves reports of a jilted lover — a man who felt the gruesome massacre of innocent people was a just reward for being rejected by a woman.

But the brutal murders of Abigail Chapman, 41, her daughter Olivia, 15, and Olivia’s schoolmate Michaela Mason, 14, are reminders that crimes against women affect all of us. Also murdered was Abigail’s landlord, retired school teacher Michael Scott.

What must have been going through the mind of the killer when he killed all of these people in cold blood?

We express the deepest condolences to all of the families and loved ones of all of the victims. The tremendous suffering triggered by this incident is simply unimaginable.

Whether a crime of passion or premeditated murder, justice must be done.

The police must leave no stone unturned as it seeks to ensure that the facts are unearthed and that the criminal justice system is able to take its course.

There are reports Abigail had been verbally assaulted only a week ago by a man she had been dating for about a year. Questions have been asked as to whether she sought protection from the relevant agencies.

Unfortunately, given the poor track record we have as a society when it comes to supporting the victims of domestic violence and misogyny, it would not be surprising if a woman were to decline to report a matter. She might feel such a move could leave her more vulnerable.

At the same time, when faced with the difficult situation of being in an abusive relationship, it is difficult to see the light or to know where help can be obtained from.

In this regard, more support should be given to agencies such as the Police Service’s Victim and Witness Support Unit as well as the Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Despite how hopeless a situation may feel, people need to know there are places where they can get counselling, even if they do not take the step of making a formal report to the police.

Meanwhile, as a society we cannot dismiss this incident as merely a crime of passion. It is as much a test for our systems of law and order as any other crime. It requires a full and thorough investigation to ensure sound evidence is marshalled in court. And to dissuade others from doing the same thing to another woman and her family in the future.



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