The latest in the UK’s gender violence epidemic
LONDON — The Metropolitan Police are calling for information over the killing of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa on Sept. 17 in Kidbrooke, southeast London. Detectives believe she was attacked during what would have been a five-minute walk through a local park on her way to meet a friend at a pub.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said authorities are recruiting more police officers and had introduced a strategy to tackle violence against women and girls earlier this year.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday described the violence against women as a national “epidemic.”
“We have to got give this issue the same seriousness we give other issues,” he told ITV. More than 180 women have been killed by men across England from March 2020, he added.
Nessa’s body was discovered 24 hours after her death in a local park.
A man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of murder but he has been released under further investigation. Results from a post-mortem examination carried out on Monday were inconclusive.
“Sabina’s journey should have taken just over five minutes but she never made it to her destination,” Detective Inspector Joe Garrity said. “We know the community are rightly shocked by this murder — as are we — and we are using every resource available to us to find the individual responsible.”
A vigil is due to be held in Nessa’s memory on Friday.
The case came just a few months after the abduction, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in south London by a serving police officer. The Everard case shocked the country and saw thousands take to the streets to denounce violence against women.
The rising cases of crime committed by men in UK
According to data from the Office for National Statistics and the Scottish government, more than 200 women were killed between March 2019 and 2020 in the UK.
Around one woman is killed by a man every three days in the UK, according to data from the Femicide Census, an organization that tracks violence against women and girls. The group argues that the government’s new strategy to curb such violence “shamefully ignores” victims of femicide.
From 2008-2018, 1,425 women were killed by men, according to Femicide Census data. The majority (62%) of those murders were committed by a woman’s current or former partner, while 15% of women were killed by men that they knew. One in 12 (8%) of those murders were by strangers.
Do you remember Sarah Everard?
On May 3, Everard went missing after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London. Her body was found a week later, more than 50 miles from where she was last seen. Her killer, a serving police officer, pleaded guilty to her kidnap, rape and murder.
This story prompted an outpouring across social media from women sharing their own experiences of sexual assault and harassment, catapulting the UK’s damning record on violence against women and girls into the national spotlight.
Following Nessa’s death, many are pointing out that little has changed. In a message posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Women’s Equality Party leader Mandu Reid said: “The media have been asking today: have things gotten better since Sarah Everard’s murder? The answer is NO.” Reid added that the “muted” reaction from the press and a “lack of public outcry” for Nessa — a woman of color — “demonstrates, once again, that not all victims are treated with the same respect and reverence.”
The discussion in the aftermath of Everard’s murder focused on the skewed media representations in relation to race. This is not the first time that UK media has been accused of having a problem with diversity, but it is the most prominent instance of this kind of critique to emerge in recent times.
This is a pattern which has been seen frequently in UK media coverage where it marginalizes and erases victims of racism.
Written by Ruth Jane