Invisible Women, Kylie Fox and Ruth Wykes

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Stacked up in every corner of this house are piles of books that I should have read by now, with INVISIBLE WOMEN being one of them. As the sub-heading puts it: "Powerful and Disturbing Stories of Murdered Sex Workers". The tardiness was regretted even more once I finished the book.

A lot of the power behind these stories is down to the sheer numbers. The index lists 65 women's names - murdered or gone missing since 1970 (the book was published in 2016). To put that into perspective, 46 years, 65 women listed. God knows how many more died during that period, how many more since, and how many more will continue to die until we do something about the scourge of violence in our society.

In a lot of cases quite a bit is known about the circumstances in which the women died, there are examples cited where perpetrators have been brought to justice. There are a frightening number that remain unsolved, despite knowing quite a bit of detail about what happened to the victim's, and then there are those that are particularly chilling as little is known and little seems to have been done to resolve. The way that Fox and Wykes, mostly, recount these stories in a matter-of-fact, no frills manner telegraphs respect for these women. Nothing sensationalised, nothing undignified, with an underlying sense of loss.

INVISIBLE WOMEN provides insight on different levels. It's clearly outlining the injustice and unfairness of a society that views some victims as less important, less worthy of efforts to solve the crimes committed against them. It provides remembrance for those victims and has ensured that their names, and their fates aren't forgotten, and are listed in a publicly accessible manner. Hopefully there's also something in some of these stories that has triggered a memory or tweaked a conscience. 

Year of Publication

When news of a murdered woman hits the headlines in Australia, people sit up and take notice. Unless that woman happens to be a sex worker.

Invisible Women tells the stories of several murdered sex workers – all of whom are somebody’s mother, daughter, wife or sister – whose identities have been erased. Why do we see some lives as less valuable than others, and what price do we all pay for this shocking lack of care? These amazing stories of incredible women are both deeply moving and shocking in their insight and clarity. And definitely way overdue.

Review Invisible Women, Kylie Fox and Ruth Wykes
Karen Chisholm
Monday, January 7, 2019

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