Sarah Everard : Why Women Shouldn't Have To Flag Down a Bus To Be Safe.
The shocking case of Sarah Everard’s false arrest, leading to her rape and murder has touched hearts over the nation. Too many women can relate to feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in the presence of men- but nobody expects to feel unsafe with a police officer. Growing up, children are reassured by adults that police are there to help. If they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear. Only, Sarah Everard had done nothing wrong, yet she had a lot to fear. The tragic event caused anxiety in many women about whether they could still trust the police. But recent statements from public figures victim blaming Sarah, have only worsened women's ability to trust high powered individuals.
Wayne Couzen’s police status gave him the ability to abduct Sarah Everard. He told her she’d broken the law, and would be arrested. She did what so many of us would have done. Yet, it is still deemed okay to victim blame. Philip Allott’s recent statement suggesting Sarah shouldn’t have got into Couzen’s vehicle, is quite frankly disgusting. His statement on BBC Radio, stating that women should be ‘streetwise’ when facing an arrest is an outdated opinion that should never have existed, never mind in 2021. Sarah knew she’d broken lockdown rules. She was shown a police warrant card. Getting in that car was not being unstreetwise. It was abiding by, what she thought, was a trustworthy law enforcer’s demands to her. Allot’s interview was quite simply, victim-blaming.
Cressida Dick’s recent statement on behalf of the metropolitan police force, is quite frankly, insulting. Imagine: you’ve been arrested, you’re terrified. You’re not sure if this is a safe police officer, or an imposter. But, according to the metropolitan police force, you should shout out to a random passerby, run into a random house, knock on a random door or flag down a bus. Now Jason Okundaye’s tweet (@jasebyjason) pretty much sums this up to me. Bus drivers are busy living their own lives. They are not responsible to protect women from being abducted, raped and murdered by a police officer. Neither is the owner of a house, or a passerby. Of course, most people would help someone in potential danger. But women should be safe with a police officer by the power of them being a police officer. They shouldn’t need to run into a strangers house and potentially find themselves in even more danger.
The police force, and the government, need to put in place concrete steps to ensure there won’t be another case like Sarah Everard’s. It should be mandatory for there to be two police officers present at the scene of an arrest, when an individual is expected to travel with the officers. Until policy like this is in place, individuals have no reason to doubt lone acting police officials. Citizens should not need to be worrying about whether or not they will be abducted, if they are to have to deal with the police. The framework should be in police to protect individuals like Sarah, and to prevent individuals like Couzen’s ever having the ability to be able to abduct Sarah.