The knife murder of a young British teacher, Sarah Everard, has triggered a public outcry about a “sexist” police officer’s advice to women before going out after dark.
Everard, 25, was killed during a brutal knife attack at Manchester’s London nightclub Droylsden nightspot by Natalie Pearce, 26, who was sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in prison for murdering the aspiring yoga teacher. She was originally charged with murder but the judge substituted the lesser offense of manslaughter after discounting the six years of remand detention she had already served.
On the night of the attack Pearce followed Everard out of the club and attacked her, repeatedly stabbing her until she was dead. The pair were friends, and an argument reportedly broke out after Everard refused to take her “sloppy seconds” from the other woman.
Some saw the police advice, giving out the following guidelines: “The officers suggest that women do look back at their mobiles and don’t wear earrings when out when it’s dark.” The police also suggested women avoid wearing shorts “where possible” so they wouldn’t appear “glamorous”.
They also say, “If you wear boots, you may want to check the strength of them before going out, particularly if you need to cross the road where there is a bridge or narrow path.”
The advice came amid criticism of what some saw as the police officers misread the situation, with a rape and sexual assault victim from Wakefield in West Yorkshire being branded “hypocritical” after accepting free tickets for the FA Cup football match between her hometown club, Bristol City, and her beloved Huddersfield Town team last season.
Further outrage has been raised when the head of the association representing some of the 1,200 junior officers in Britain came under fire for suggesting that women should not dress too provocatively if they wanted to travel safely, while wearing high heels in the UK.
Chief Inspector Malcolm Rennie, who oversees the Metropolitan Police division that covers the British capital, complained of a “real problem” and “perception of a permissive culture” about dress for women abroad, urging them to dress sensibly.
— With contributions from Simon Romero
By News Services