Our Right to Life: 16 Days, 16 Women

As part of She’s Right’s participation in 16 days of activism to end violence against women, each article is dedicated to a New Zealand woman who has lost her life due to gender-based violence. The final article in our 16 days is dedicated to Barbara Ann Quinn, killed by a man on or around 7 December 2019, at the age of 41.

Content Warning: This article contains graphic details which readers may find disturbing. 

By Jessica Sutton.

16 days of human rights awareness

International Human Rights Day is celebrated each year on the 10th October to commemorate the United Nations’ adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.[1] This is a foundational document, which, although not legally binding, has had an enormous influence on International Human Rights Law. Article 2 states that the rights and freedoms in the declaration are afforded to all human beings, no matter their race, language, religion, beliefs, or sex.[2] International Human Rights Day signals the final day of UN Women’s 16 days of activism to end violence against women, reinforcing that women’s rights are human rights, and cannot be marginalised or pushed aside.

Our 16 days of activism have brought writers and creators together to bring awareness to violence against women. Producing 16 consecutive pieces of material has allowed us to demonstrate a tiny portion of the challenges faced by women daily in New Zealand and overseas. This goes to show how complex and wide-ranging women’s rights issues are. They are not a tiny subset of issues which are only relevant to few, they are core human rights issues which impact half the global population.

We would like to end our 16 days of activism by coming back to the 16 women we have dedicated our work to each day. We chose to begin each article with a dedication to a New Zealand victim of femicide, most of whom gained insufficient media attention at the time of their deaths, and who are not sufficiently present in New Zealand’s public memory. A majority of these women were killed this year.

These 16 names are representative of a much larger crisis. Each of them was also a unique individual, killed in circumstances that make the strongest of us want to look away. But in looking away, we do these women a grave injustice. By sheltering in ignorance, or explaining away their deaths through victim blaming, we deny gender-based violence, and therefore deny these women the respect they, and all the others like them, deserve.

16 Days, 16 Women

Jasmine Wilson, 30, was viciously beaten by a man and dumped at Whanganui Hospital, where she died shortly afterwards. A detective stated her injuries were among the worst he had ever seen.[3]

Feona McKay-Patea, 23, was killed by her partner. Her whānau led a march against domestic violence the day her killer appeared in Court. [4]

Azalia Wilson, 22, was killed by her partner in a “horrific” attack. Her daughter is only a few months old.[5]

Crystal-Lee Selwyn, 38, died in hospital a few days after being brutally beaten by her partner.[6]

Jennifer Hargreaves, 17, was strangled and drowned by a man with prior kidnapping offences. The man was on parole at the time of her murder.[7]

Taylor-Jade Hira, 22, died in hospital three days after she was beaten by a man in a brutal assault.[8]

Edith Roderique, 70, was stabbed to death by her partner, who was held mentally unfit to stand trial.[9]

Blessie Gotingco, 56, was intentionally run down by a car, raped and stabbed to death by a man. The man had a prior conviction for kidnapping and molestation of a five-year-old girl, but the Judge had declined to sentence him to preventative detention.[10]

Agnes Ali’iva’a, 12, was found dead in a ditch, with items of clothing missing. The case remains unsolved.[11]

Virginia Ford, 20, was beaten consistently by her partner, causing severe injuries and a brain haemorrhage, before the final assault which caused her death.[12]

Dimetrius Pairama, 17, was ferociously beaten, tortured and hanged to death by a group of people.[13]

Nicole Tuxford, 27, was raped, beaten, strangled and had her throat slit by a man who was on parole for the rape, torture and murder of Kimberley Schroder, 24 years earlier.[14]

Lynace Parakuka, 22, was pregnant when she was beaten to death by her partner.[15]

Katie Rose Bruce, 20, died, along with her infant son, in a house fire started by her former partner, who intended to kill her.[16]

Irina Scantee, 45, was stabbed to death by a man recently released from a psychiatric care unit.[17]

Barbara Ann Quinn, 41, was found dead in her car after disappearing from outside her place of work last week. A man is in custody, and a homicide inquiry is underway.[18]

day 16 – what next?

We want to live in a world where femicide is history. We want to live in a world where Lynace Parakuka lived to have her baby, where Virginia Ford lived to finish her University degree, where Dimetrius Pairama lived to see her 18th birthday. UN Women’s 16 days of activism reminds us that this world is possible, and the more we discuss gender-based violence and act against it, the closer this world becomes. 

To our contributors, thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts, for your beautiful writing and passion for women’s rights. She’s Right’s goal is to be a platform for us to discuss marginalised issues and raise awareness, and these 16 days have been a hugely rewarding part of our first year of operation. As an organisation, we will build on this foundation to promote empowerment, engagement, and education around preventing violence against women all year round.

To everyone who read our articles, enjoyed our podcast, and gave some thought to the women in our dedications over these 16 days, we thank you most of all. Engaging with this material, thinking deeply about gendered issues, and educating those around you, is the best step towards a world that will keep our mothers, daughters, partners, sisters, and friends, safe from harm.

And to Jasmine, Feona, Azalia, Crystal-Lee, Jennifer, Taylor-Jade, Edith, Blessie, Agnes, Virginia, Dimetrius, Nicole, Lynace, Katie, Irina, Barbara, and the many women like you – we fight in your names. Rest in peace.


[1] https://www.un.org/en/observances/human-rights-day

[2] https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

[3] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/115641680/family-of-dead-whanganui-woman-jasmine-wilson-want-others-to-speak-up-about-violence?cid=facebook.post

[4] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/116376185/whnau-speak-out-after-violent-death-of-whanganui-woman-feona-mckaypatea?rm=a

[5] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/117523882/mother-didnt-approve-of-slain-daughters-partner

[6] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117702538/beautiful-strong-mother-of-eight-dies-after-assault-in-hamilton-home

[7] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=2999986

[8] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/115273741/ranapera-taumata-charged-with-murder-of-taylorjade-hira

[9] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/113123538/dementia-sufferer-unfit-to-stand-trial-for-murdering-edith-roderique

[10] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11642267

[11] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/faces-of-innocents/80915025/faces-of-innocents-agnes-aliivaa-was-let-down-by-those-she-trusted-before-death

[12] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/76686662/jesse-ferris-bromley-admits-killing-partner-university-student-virginia-ford

[13] https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/09/witness-describes-gruesome-killing-of-dimetrius-pairama.html

[14] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12216916

[15] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/116148066/murder-conviction-after-pregnant-mother-lynace-parakuka-beaten-to-death

[16] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/102236070/coroner-rules-expartner-killed-his-family-in-taup-house-fire

[17] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12259740

[18] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12291874


Photo by Paddy O Sullivan from Pexels

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