Half of women feel unsafe on the streets after Sarah Everard murder

Nearly half of women still feel unsafe on the streets six months after murder of Sarah Everard, survey reveals

  • Sarah was snatched off the street as she walked home from a friend’s house
  • Met Police officer Wayne Couzens took her before raping and murdering her
  • Sarah’s body was found a week later in woodland near Ashford, Kent
  • Half of British women say they still feel unsafe on the streets – six months from the murder of Sarah Everard, according to a new study.

    This week marks six months since marketing executive Sarah Everard, 33, was abducted while walking home from an evening out with friends.

    She was snatched off the street as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London on March 3 by Met Police firearms officer Wayne Couzens.

    Her body was found a week later in woodland near Ashford, Kent, just yards from land owned by Couzens, 48. She had been raped and strangled.

    Now a nationwide survey suggests as many as 48 per cent of women do not feel safe, despite 77 per cent of both men and women agreeing the tragedy was a defining moment in terms of the conversation around women and safety.

    And 37 per cent of the men surveyed said, since the tragedy, they have thought about or researched ways to make women feel safer on the streets.

    But in the last six months, 48 per cent of women have felt nervous about someone walking behind them, 29 per cent have been worried about someone driving slowly past them, and more than a quarter (26 per cent) have received unwanted male attention from a stranger.

    As many as 23 per cent have felt frightened while at home alone and 21 per cent have felt threatened while walking outside at night.

    Sarah was snatched off the street as she walked home from a friend¿s house in March

    Sarah was snatched off the street as she walked home from a friend’s house in March

    Met Police firearms officer Wayne Couzens took her before raping and murdering her

    Met Police firearms officer Wayne Couzens took her before raping and murdering her

    The nationwide survey of 2,000 men and women also revealed as many as one in five women (22 per cent) have been wolf whistled at during the last six months, while 21 per cent have been cat called.

    Meanwhile, 21 per cent have found themselves being approached by someone in the street, despite giving no indication that they wished to have a conversation.

    And shockingly, 17 per cent have felt threatened on the street in broad daylight, while one in ten women (12 percent) have received sexist abuse from a stranger.

    The research by Grazia Magazine has been carried out in partnership with GoFundMe who have created a centralised hub for those who want to take action and help charities working to end male violence.

    Grazia editor Hattie Brett said: ‘Six months on, while it’s positive to see men actively wanting to be part of this conversation and considering ways to make women feel safer, the statistics around women’s actual experiences are still shocking.

    ‘No one should feel unsafe walking home. Whilst conversation continues to be crucial, we now call on the authorities to listen to the groundswell of support for systemic change that will make women safer.

    ‘Earlier this year we united with other platforms across our parent company Bauer Media to launch the #IWalkWithWomen initiative, hosting a panel discussion focused on women’s safety.

    ‘It felt vital to ignite a conversation on how to tackle violence against women, given the outpouring of emotion and anger from women across the UK following Sarah Everard’s tragic death.’

    Sarah's death prompted an outpouring of grief and debate on women's safety on the streets

    Sarah’s death prompted an outpouring of grief and debate on women’s safety on the streets

    The study also found that during the last six months following Sarah’s death, three quarters of UK women have felt more aware of potential danger during the evenings.

    This means that half have chosen to stick to walking along main roads only, 38 per cent deliberately put their phone away so they’re not distracted, and a third (34 per cent) always walk home with a friend.

    More than a third (37 per cent) of the men surveyed claimed they had made a conscious effort to try to make women feel safer, with 54 per cent offering to walk female friends home and 47 percent crossing the road to try and give a woman walking on her own more space.

    And more than a quarter (26 per cent) have called out other men who have made women feel unsafe or harassed.

    While more than half (56 per cent) of the men polled challenged their male counterparts for using derogatory or sexist language when discussing women.

    But although a third of men (32 per cent) don’t mind taking on the notion of ‘all men’ as a collective responsibility to make women feel safer, 65 per cent complained that people should stop insinuating that all men pose a threat.

    16 per cent of men surveyed confessed that the last six months has made them reconsider the way they behave around women, while seven in ten men (71 per cent) agree that women should be made to feel safe when out at night alone.

    Couzens, 48, of Deal, Kent is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on September 29 after pleading guilty to Sarah’s rape and murder.

    He is currently being held at Belmarsh Prison in Thamesmead, south east London.

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