When I was 15, I walked into a battered women’s shelter for the first time. I was a part of a group of students volunteering there, and the question that disturbed me most was: “What makes those women different than the women I know – my mother and her friends, my friends, even our teachers?” Looking back, I understand that I was looking for a sign, almost for their very own mark of Cain. And the thing that disturbed me most was the fact that I couldn’t find it.I’ve been looking for that mark for over eight years now. Listening carefully to the stories of my friends and reading books on the subject of abused, battered or simply hurt women, I kept looking for that telltale sign. Being a young woman myself, I felt as if finding that sign would help me avoid unpleasant encounters with men. Logically speaking, the argument goes like this: “I’m a strong, powerful woman (Imagine Madonna and Beyonce having a baby together – that’s how much I like myself), and for that reason, once I understand the dangers I’m facing, I’ll be able to avoid them.” Sounds about right. But the thing is – it doesn’t work like that. This week’s murder brought up a lot of thoughts on that subject. Many of my Facebook friends, especially feminist friends, were mourning a young, happy-looking woman, who was murdered. Many of them, like me, were focused on asking what signs were there – “Had we known that X was happening, we might have been able to prevent Y,” or something of that kind. And again – it doesn’t work like that. Over the years, the only common thing I found between the battered women I was “studying” at the age of 15, my crying friends after a bad date or a party gone wrong and, unfortunately, in many cases myself, was shame. We were all ashamed of letting someone know what was happening with us, like the fact that we were mistreated was our fault. Guess what? Letting your best friends know that your life is pretty sad right now is hard. We all felt like, in a way, it was our fault, like the fact that we said we don’t want to do something only once, twice or three times was on us; or the fact that we stayed long after the first sign of a bad relationship means that we agreed to that. Most of the women I talked to about those things, including myself, felt that something like this was happening to us meant that we weren’t those empowered and brave feminists of the 21st century everyone told us we are. So here’s my conclusion. It’s a pretty simple one. Don’t teach your daughter, young sister or female student that being a woman is being vulnerable. Don’t drive her to believe in that beautiful thesis of “If a man respects you, he’ll put his coat for you in a puddle for you to cross it safely.” Those men are rare and slowly becoming even rarer. Instead, teach your daughter that there’s nothing to be ashamed of; that confessing to her friends, family or anyone else about the terrible thing that has happened to her last night is exactly like asking your friend for notes after class because you were ill. It should be as natural as it gets. It should be okay to say, “Something bad has happened to me last night,” or “My significant other is acting weird lately,” without feeling like you just broke some kind of code. Because maybe, just maybe, by teaching women that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, we’ll be able to prevent the next (alleged) murder. The writer is a 23-year-old student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a former youth delegate to the UN and a recipient of the minister of education’s award for volunteering.