The Case of Sarah Everard: London Abduction Brings Wave of Women’s Safety Concerns

kidnapping and murder of a 33-year-old marketing director…

Sarah Everard.

has led to a flood of concern about the safety of women in London and the rest of the UK. Thousands of women have shared their own stories of harassment in a new wave of support for the #MeToo movement.

Miss Everard was reported missing after being found on the 3rd. March had left a friend’s flat in south London, leading to a police operation in south-east England. Police confirmed on Friday that the body, found in a woodland area in the south-east of the capital, was hers and that an officer from London’s Metropolitan Police, Wayne Cousins, 48, had been arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of Ms Everard.

Mr. Cousins, whose responsibilities include oversight of the embassy, could not immediately be reached for comment and it could not be determined whether he was represented by counsel.

The case touched a nerve in Britain, partly because Everard did many of the things women are often advised to do to ensure their safety.

She was wearing bright and flashy clothes when she left her friend’s apartment at 9 p.m. to drive home, which should have taken no more than 50 minutes. She called another friend and said she was on her way. And it’s on well-lit main roads. Yet she was abducted, and according to investigators, by a police officer.

Many women shared their own experiences of harassment or feeling unsafe in the pedestrian areas of the city.

Some described wearing comfortable shoes in case they needed to break in or simulate a loud phone call to scare off potential intruders. Others told how clamping wrenches between their knuckles became their second nature, to do as much damage as possible when they needed to strike, hoping to gain enough time to get away safely.

Officers investigating the disappearance of Sarah Everard conducted a search in Deale, England on Friday.


Paul Childs/Reuters.


Julie Cohen.

said on Twitter that she had to switch because three seemingly normal middle-aged men started harassing her. We cannot know which men are safe, for even those who are supposed to be safe feel able to humiliate us for the sake of it, she wrote.

Fern Brady,

a Scottish actress, wonders how old she must be to no longer fear being killed as a woman. The answer, she says, is never.

The UN agency UN Women published a study this week showing that around 70% of women and girls in the UK have been sexually harassed in public places, and called on the government to do more to tackle the problem. Of the data received, only 3% of women aged 18-24 said they had not experienced sexual harassment. It’s also a global problem, according to UN Women, which reports that in some cities around the world, nearly nine out of 10 women don’t feel safe in public.

A group called Reclaim the Streets has planned a vigil for Ms Everard in London on Saturday night. Similar rallies are planned in other parts of the country, despite warnings from police that they would violate the restrictions of the Covid 19 lockdown. Opposition Labour lawmaker

Harriet Harman.

was one of many people who said she would attend the event, but it’s not clear if she will.

When the police advise women not to go out alone at night, they wonder why they should be subject to an informal curfew. Ms Harman told the House earlier this week. The problem here is not women, but men.

Andrea Leadsom

of the ruling Conservative Party, said she was outraged that women walking home in the dark were afraid someone would walk behind them.

Labour Code

Rose Duffield.

The months of Black Lives Matter protests for racial justice that followed.

George Floyd

was killed in custody in Minneapolis last year.

Sarah Everard turned on us, as did George Floyd – enough is enough, Duffield said.

Some politicians are proposing a curfew for men. While UK government ministers were quick to deny the idea, Welsh Government leader Mark Drakeford said he would not rule it out if circumstances demanded it. He then rejected this possibility.

Meanwhile, anger is mounting over London police who tried to disrupt Saturday’s vigil. The officer arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Ms. Everard had been arrested separately for alleged lewd sexual assault at a fast food restaurant three days before her disappearance.

Several lawmakers have insisted on allowing the wakes without repercussions for organizers, who have asked participants to wear masks and respect a social distance.

The group Reclaim the Streets, which had proposed the event, tried to convince the High Court in London to allow the vigil to go ahead without legal consequences. The court overruled his objection and refused to intervene.

Email James Hookway at [email protected]

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