TW – Sexual Assault, Rape, Murder
The case of Sarah Everard’s murder has rocked many communities prompting there too be a closer look at how women are treated and protected. Label Volunteer, Sydney Tarrant explains further.
On March 3rd 2021, Sarah Everard walked home alone, as so many women do, and like too many, didn’t make it home. Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens was arrested and over the last 6 months horrific details have come to light.
The 33 year old marketing executive was falsely arrested before being raped and strangled, Couzens then leaving her burned body in a woodland in Kent. On the 9th July, Couzens pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey and was subsequently sentenced to life on the 30th September.
The case of Everard has opened up an investigation into the Metropolitan Police about their failures that caused her to lose her life.
Couzens had 3 accusations of indecent exposure and was involved in an incident in which he missed his vetting. Further to this, he hadn’t gone through the 2 year probation. However, many police officers gave character references supporting Couzens.
He was questioned for an indecent exposure allegation just days before he murdered Everard, leading many to argue that it this had been properly investigated she would still be here today.
In a statement by Police Commissioner Philip Allot, he said that women need to be more ‘streetwise’ and ‘learn a bit more about the legal process’. This was heavily criticized being seen once again as blaming women, taking focus away from the crimes that have been committed. Allot has since resigned.
During the last 6 months, there have been many suggestions about how women should protect themselves, with the Metropolitan Police giving the laughable suggestion of flagging down a bus or running away if they are in fear of a police officer.
In March 2020, the Office for National Statistics released a report that states approximately 4.9 million women had been victims of sexual assault in their lives, of this 1.4 million had been a victim of rape or attempted rape. One in ten women aged 16-24 had been victims in the past year, and one five had been a victim of stalking. Not even 1% of all rape or attempted rape charges were convicted in the year 2019-2020.
YouGov poll for UN Women found that seven out of ten women had experienced sexual harassment in public.
After all these facts and figures women are still being told to protect themselves, make adjustments in their lives. such as carrying keys between their fingers, not walking home in the dark, wear less revealing clothing, not to walk along and now learn the legal system. With these being just a few of the many suggestions.
Women shouldn’t be given more and more ways to protect themselves, more measures should be in place to protect them and the focus turned on stopping possible perpetrators. Wayne Couzens never should have been a serving police offices, never had the power to arrest Sarah Everard in the first place.
Her Majesty’s inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue services published a report that found inconsistencies at entry level in how the police respond to violence against women and girls. the Police has to change in order to protect them from people that should never had been a threat in the first place.