Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Police blame woman for her murder

Shikha Beniwal was murdered by her former husband Sunil Beniwal. He then killed himself. An intervention order taken out against Sunil Bengal expired four days before he chose to murder Shikha.

This is what Homicide Detective Sergeant Paul Tremain said:

"There was an intervention order taken out in 2012 which expired four days ago,"


"These are just shocking circumstances of two people who couldn't work out their differences and it's ended in a tragedy like this," he said.

A victim of domestic violence murdered by her former husband with form for committing domestic violence to the point where an intervention order was created but the police investigating blame her for failing to work out her problems. The only problem Shikha had was that her former husband was violent and she was forced into contact with him due to their son's custodial arrangements. The tragedy here is a child custody arrangement which forces a woman into contact with a violent partner (and it's telling how much Sunil really cared for his son since the child was in the house when the murder was committed). The tragedy is the entirely preventable murder of a woman by a violent man. The tragedy is a police officer who genuinely thinks its the victims fault for "not working things out".  Police officers like Tremain are why women do not report domestic or sexual violence. It is because we know we will not be believed and we will be blamed.

Detective Sergeant Paul Tremain should be taken off active duty until he has completed intensive, specialist training in domestic violence and victim awareness. He most certainly should not be allowed to make public statements blaming a victim of fatal male domestic violence for her own murder.

Just to make it perfectly clear that the police are correct in blaming Shikha for her murder, journalist Anna Whitelaw included this tidbit:

Mr Kelly said his brother had heard the sound of a woman moaning and heard the little boy crying but believed the couple were having sex so went back to sleep. He did not know the woman had been killed until police ran passed his window the next morning.

Mr Kelly believed the couple were divorced but the wife visited the house frequently and shared custody of their son.

"They had just come back from India. I thought they were trying to work it out," he said.

Mr Kelly said he had never seen any fights or violence between the couple.

"He seemed like a nice, normal guy. I don't know why he turned like this. I can't believe it," he said.

The "nice, normal guy" motif is so incredibly harmful to women and children living with domestic violence. An appropriately trained journalist would not stoop to such patently obvious stereotypes and understand that domestic violence very rarely takes place in the public sphere. They wouldn't include information from a neighbour who thought the noise made by a woman dying was her having sex. Nor, would they include drivel about not seeing any violence - since they would know that domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control and that emotional and financial violence are the most common forms.

Journalists need better training so they don't include such clearly unnecessary and salacious statements into an article on the murder of a woman.

Her name was Shikha Beniwal and she was killed by her former husband. Because he chose to kill her.



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4 thoughts on “Police blame woman for her murder

  • Angie Komninos says:

    Thank you for this. Such horrid reporting by the age & incredible to read such a quote by DS Tremain. I only found you by searching on twitter regarding this & I make a donation to you tomorrow.

  • Sarah says:

    She was a really beautiful person and her passing has destroyed my husband. Anyone who knew her at all knew there was no chance of reconciliation with that monster. I was angry when I heard that comment on the news instead of “here was a man who, because of entitlement and rage, chose to murder a woman in front of her son. What a c*nt”.