Opinion: Young women, like Grace Millane, are taught to fear

OPINION: If I have a daughter, will I teach her to be scared? Like my own mother, will I pass on my fears to her?

I have a routine of fearful behaviour. As I left the vigils for Grace Millane, and the 14 other women who have been killed in New Zealand this year, I let my flatmate know I was on my way home. 

I considered my mode of transport; it was light enough for me to catch a bus and walk the 500 metres from my stop to my home so I didn't have to Uber. 

If I had caught an Uber, I could have used a function which allows my flatmate to track my journey. I've used it before. If I do have to walk home in the dark, I call my dad. Surely no one attacks a person on the phone right?

Fear is a built-in feature for all the women I know. 

I didn't know Grace Millane but I can guarantee you, she knew how to be scared. 

I stood next to a man who gasped as police read out statistics. Police attend a call for domestic harm every four minutes, 14 women die each year from domestic violence, one in three women will be affected by domestic violence. 

Anna Campbell from White Ribbon summed it up with an apology to the family for Grace Millane. 

"Your pain is our country's shame," she said.

Mark Longley, the father of Emily Longley who was murdered at the hands of a violent boyfriend, told hundreds of people what it meant to be a man. He said being violent, joking about misogyny and allowing to pass is not what makes a bloke. He urged crowds to call out violent language and behaviour among mates. 

If I have a daughter, I refuse to pass on my fears. Something good needs to come from this tragedy. Fathers shouldn't have to identify bodies in morgues. They shouldn't have to answer calls in the middle of the night from scared daughters. We know our statistics, we know our shame - we're going to address it. 

The vigil for Grace ended fittingly with the crowd singing, "'Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved."

Kethaki Masilamani is a radio reporter for Newshub.