She screamed for help. No one came. Now she is dead!
Is this the kind of society that we have become? One where old ladies are of so little value that no one thinks to ring the cops when an elderly woman calls out for help as she is bashed to death by brutal thugs, asks SHERELE MOODY.
SHE screamed for help.
They did not call the police.
They did not come to check on her.
They did nothing.
Now 77-year-old Vicki Ramadan is dead.
On April 6, a handyman came to fix Vicki's fence - instead of the elderly woman greeting him at the door, he found her beaten and bloody body in the house she called home.
Vicki had been dead for about five days - brutally bashed on April 1 by people unknown.
As media descended on her Sydenham neighbourhood in northwest Melbourne this week, locals told reporters they heard Vicki screaming around the time she was killed.
They also said that squatters - who had taken up residence in an abandoned house - had been giving Vicki a hard time.
Locals told media that Vicki's life was threatened repeatedly, her home was broken into and that one stage she fled to Queensland to get away from those who were targeting her.
The locals described Vicki as "kind-hearted" and recalled how she would sit on her porch, watching the world go by.
Living with the debilitating impacts of both dementia and Parkinson's disease on her body and her mind, Vicki was extremely vulnerable.
She had no contact with her estranged family, so there were no loved ones to keep an eye on her.
Locals knew she was scared, they knew she was in danger and they knew she was alone, yet none of them thought to call the cops or to visit her home when they heard her yell out in pain.
Perhaps if someone had acted, Vicki might still alive but we won't know this until the police have finished their investigation.
Still. This one thing is frightfully clear. Vicki's community failed her and each and every one of those who heard her screaming that day, should hang their head in shame for not bothering to act.
Vicki's story is a shocking indictment on how often our society devalues the frail aged.
One in seven Australians - 3.8 million residents - are aged over 65.
Research shows older women, in particular, are more likely to suffer income and housing insecurity than their male counterparts.
This is because older women often have small or non-existent retirement nest eggs - the cost they pay for raising children instead of working.
They often separate from husbands later in life.
Usually, it's the men who walk away with the lion's share of superannuation, because their stable employment histories have given them the funds to pay for property division legal fights.
Adult children may abandon older people, not wanting to shoulder the burden of caring for a frail aged parent.
To make matters worse, about five per cent of older people will experience financial abuse.
The aged are almost invisible thanks to a youth-obsessed media that rarely shows us people over a certain age.
The most recent State of the (Older) Nation Report says 46 per cent of older Australians feel less valued than when they were young.
The report says about two-thirds of aged people exist on less than $30,000 a year, meaning they can barely afford medicines, healthy food or to enjoy leisure activities that stave of chronic social isolation.
"There are ... too many older Australians feeling ignored, left behind or discriminated against in society and this report shows action is needed urgently," COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates said while launching the State of the (Older) Nation Report five months ago.
The murder of Vicki is a glaring example of the low regard Australians can have for older people.
It is outrageous that - in her twilight years, after raising two children and having never harmed anyone - this vulnerable old lady was beaten to death in the sanctity of her little house.
But it is even more appalling that that no one cared enough to help as her screams rang through her street.
What a sad, horrible and lonely way to leave this world.
I hope that Vicki becomes the public face of our forgotten elderly and that her death is enough to inspire a more caring and thoughtful attitude towards Australia's most vulnerable residents. - NewsRegional
News Corp journalist Sherele Moody is the recipient of the 2018 B&T Women in Media Social Change Maker Award and has multiple Clarion and Walkley Our Watch journalism excellence awards for her work highlighting violence against women and children. She is also the founder of The RED HEART Campaign, the creator of the Australian Femicide & Child Death Map and is an Our Watch fellow.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support phone the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.