Grace Tame Dedicates Artwork To Victims Of Gendered-Based Violence In A Special Issue Of InStyle

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses domestic violence, and gendered-based violence.

A special issue of InStyle Australia addressing the national crisis of violence against women has been released online, featuring original artwork by Grace Tame. The sexual assault activist, advocate, and survivor shared that she dedicated the illustration to the 49 female lives taken at the hands of men in the last 190 days.

In April, people across the nation rallied to end gendered-based violence when 26 women had been killed by men only 117 days into 2024. After these rallies the government declared the issue a national crisis and unveiled a $925 million initiative.

We are now 190 days into 2024, and 49 women have been killed at the hands of men.

Demonstrators take part in a national rally against violence against women. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

As highlighted by InStyle Australia, after three months of working on the special feature that tackled the national issue, they faced the appalling problem that “the story and statistics always quickly became inaccurate” due to the fact that the number kept rising.

“Today, it stands at 49 women in 190 days,” wrote the publication. “Tomorrow, that number could be different.”

On the front cover of the special edition is a stunning illustration of a pair of hands holding a human heart. Stuck on the heart is a piece of paper with the number 49 marked on it.

This powerful image was drawn by the hands of former Australian of the Year, Grace Tame.

Source: Instyle / Instagram.

Grace Tame shares why she made her front cover for InStyle cover

In a post to her Instagram about her artistic process, Grace Tame showed behind-the-scenes images of her artwork’s evolution. In a slideshow of images, the first step pointed out that when she started the illustration the amount of women killed was 43.

By the time the artwork was published, the number was 49.

Tame recounted that when she was asked to create the piece she had “vivid, jarring visions” from her early 20s when she worked as an artist in Los Angeles. Memories of violence, in many forms, at the hands of many people in her life, including an ex-partner.

Tame then highlighted the many issues with how the issue of gendered-based violence is conveyed.

“Part of the problem is that unless we have seen it up close, we readily ignore violence because it’s too confronting. Even some of us with lived experience unconsciously downplay or deny it,” she wrote.

“For all its desperate sensationalism, the mainstream media never gets to the heart of it. The darkest, most vital and marginalised stories rarely make it to print. Individuals are dissolved into statistics by the 24-hour news cycle.”

Demonstrator holds a placard during a national rally against violence against women. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

However, according to Tame the “real burning issue” comes from viewing the cases of gendered-based violence as individual instances, rather than a much deeper problem.

“Instead we tend to view it as a social problem affecting certain individuals or groups, and not all of us as a community of complex human creatures who are capable of causing harm,” Tame wrote. 

“We speak of victims and perpetrators as abstract, distinct cohorts and not people we know and love. Incidents rarely happen in a vacuum, they typically form part of a wider pattern of abuse, enabled by a culture of normalised violence.”

Grace Tame then slammed “superficial” and “ineffective” government solutions for being idealistic (but acknowledged their importance), and highlighted how what Australia needs is “a holistic suite of solutions that engage every industry and demographic”.

“This is a crisis of public health,” she concluded.

As the publication highlighted, the ten weeks since the national rallies where Anthony Albanese declared a national crisis have been followed by “silence” from the government.

In that time, 18 women have lost their lives. More needs to be done.

The full special edition of InStyle Australia containing Grace Tame’s words and art can be found online here.

Help is available.

[Image: Getty/Instagram/Grace Tame]