I needn’t even mention the name of Sarah Everard (below) without, I hope, everybody agreeing that her story is heartbreaking. She met a particularly grisly end at the hands of a serving police officer who deployed the most depraved methods to lure her into his grasp. But she is not alone. Statistics show that since her death in March, a mere seven months ago, some 80 women have been killed by men. 80.
The statistics and available data make for grim reading. Under 2% of accusations of rape reported down south even mean a charge is brought. A staggering 50% of all police officers found guilty of sexual assault stay in their jobs. We have a problem. A big problem.
But you wouldn’t think it.
Last October, many months before the Everard tragedy, I wrote an article on ‘Misogyny’ (https://thescotslawblog.com/2020/10/04/misogyny-should-it-be-a-crime/). Indeed, I also wrote a subsequent article in April 2021 -( https://thescotslawblog.com/2021/04/03/is-there-a-rape-culture-in-britain-and-what-might-be-behind-it/) again ostensibly raising similar concerns.
I am becoming increasingly concerned that most, all (?) women now see themselves as an easy target. As effortless prey. Not just by men but by those specifically entrusted with their protection and safety. Indeed, chillingly, as the evil Wayne Couzens was receiving his whole life order the very same court building was hearing the charge being put to the man accused of murdering teacher Sabina Nessa two weeks ago as she walked to meet a friend.
Before we all yelp that these are ‘isolated’ and ‘extreme’ incidents and that ‘not all men and police officers are like that’; yes there is some truth in that. BUT, they do form a very harrowing section of the public that are causing perpetual fear amongst females across the country. Women are requiring to perform the most appalling judgement calls day and daily and regularly on multiple occasions.
‘Which route will I take home?’ ‘I can’t take that way, it’s usually too quiet.’ ‘Oh God there’s a guy. I hope he doesn’t turn around’.
For those of us that do not and would not ever engage in any form of harassment against females, we are all now tarred with the same brush. If I find myself even coming out of a supermarket, walking across the car park to get my car and I see a woman in front of me, I will often preposterously ‘hang back’ to put as much distance between us as humanly possible. Preaching by those who are completely out-of-sync with reality will tell you that women are just being ‘sensible’ but, in reality to have to live like that is oppressive and unacceptable. In the extreme. This is 2021.
Rather than treat this cancerous blight on society, we heard yesterday from the much maligned Metropolitan Commissioner that women who are stopped/arrested by Police should calmly and deftly ask which police station they are from, resist arrest if they believe that to be the right course of action and, in extremis and most ludicrously of all, ‘flag down a bus’. What…?????
I can only hope that women, en masse, tell the Met (and others) to ‘get stuffed’ (or other suitable phrases). Why issue such farcical ‘advice’, rather than accept that there is a problem, a major problem that needs addressing now. Part of the issue is, of course, misogynistic views and behaviour and an insistence that somehow it is women who are to blame. They are not. It is us men.
We need to stop saying ‘it’s not an issue for me as I don’t engage in this behaviour’. We need to collectively call out this hellish behaviour and misogynistic views whenever we see or hear it. Do not tolerate remarks made on a night out, on a post or tweet or dismiss it as ‘banter’. It is not. It is deeply and grossly offensive and, as we have seen all too often, very damaging and can (and does) lead to loss of life.
Some forty years ago, the country was in the midst of the Yorkshire Ripper’s reign of terror. The SIO from back then (in)famously said that…… ‘he (Sutcliffe, the Ripper) hates prostitutes….but (he) is now killing innocent girls’. The implication , therefore, was that the victims who had been prostitutes were far from innocent themselves. Worse came only earlier this week when the monstrous Couzens was sentenced. The judge chose to describe Sarah Everard as ‘a wholly blameless victim’. That somehow appears to infer that other victims of grotesque sexual crimes, rape and even homicide should themselves take some responsibility. And there lies the problem. The attitudes in this country towards these issues, even from our esteemed judiciary sometimes leave an awful lot to be desired.
We are obsessed with ‘climate change’ and not without good reason. There was anarchic behaviour on many an Esso forecourt earlier this week as motorists panicked themselves ill at running low on fuel. We are struggling with COVID, still, after 20 months. These are all issues with which our society is legitimately concerned.
But there is another extremely pressing matter which doesn’t appear to attract the same level of societal concern.
Male violence against women continually appears to be trivialised and even ignored. Why? Are we still such a patriarchal society with apparent chauvinistic views, that women are not seen as ‘important enough’..?? The situation is disgraceful and must be addressed without delay.
Get education started at P1 and have such teachings made as an intrinsic part of the curriculum.
This has got to end. NOW.
Stay safe and take care, everyone.