Edit May 8, 2014: An update is posted HERE.
Maybe there are police reasons for this, but having looked at the video of the police appealing for help, I don’t think so.
If you haven’t heard of the case, Shey Webber was found in her home beaten and left to die. Her injuries are described by her sister as life-changing. I don’t know if this means horrifically scarred or brain-damaged, or possibly both.
I first learned of this case several days ago, yet Shey was found on November 6. When Jill Meagher was murdered there was media coverage almost 24/7, or at least that is my recollection. Yet in this case the media published a few articles and Shey made the cover of The Herald Sun on one day only that I can recall.
The difference between the two women? Jill was married and snatched off the street, raped and murdered. Shey was beaten in her own home and left to die. Beaten so badly her own sister walked past her in the emergency room and didn’t recognise her. Shey was single and active on dating web sites. Is this why there doesn’t seem to be the same media coverage? I am reminded of The King’s Tribune terrific article by Jane Gilmore analysing the public reaction to the murder of Tracy Connelly and can’t help wondering if this is a similar reaction. Tracy disappeared off the front page in a day. There have been a couple of follow-up articles about Shey, but nothing major. Social media hasn’t been alive with her name.
I noticed today Sarah Cafferkey’s killer is appealing his sentence.
The two-time killer pleaded guilty to the crime, committed 11 days after his parole ended for kidnapping and assaulting a man.
Jill, Tracy and Sarah are all dead. Shey’s life will, according to reports, never be the same again. Will she recover from the horrendous injuries?
As the policeman says in the video, on-line dating is no different to meeting a man at a social event, yet I do wonder if, as with Tracy’s case, there is an element of “oh, but she was using dating sites”. The poor woman is lucky to be alive. She is a daughter, sister, co-worker. Just like Jill, she is a person. I’d like to quote Gilmore from the above-mentioned article about Tracy:
… she wasn’t a person, she was a “prostitute”. No one wants to feel a sense of community or sameness with her. She was something other than us and therefore we don’t need to feel fear or grief at the fact or the manner of her death.
Just as we should have felt a sense of community or sameness with Tracy so we should with Shey. Because next time it could be our wife, daughter, sister, aunt or even our mother.
As a community, we need to care. We need to catch the person responsible.
Update December 17: It has been reported by several media outlets that Shey has been brought out of the induced coma, but is still unable to communicate (3AW report). Forensic experts have also indicated the injuries may have been sustained by a fall, however investigations are ongoing.
“The investigation remains ongoing, with detectives still attempting to determine whether Ms Webber was assaulted or whether it was a terrible accident,” she (police spokesperson) said.
“She was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where she remains with serious injuries and unable to communicate.”