Are women safe walking alone? Sarah Everard death sparks debate

Sarah Everard's shock disappearance and death while walking home in south-west London has sparked a huge debate about women's safety - across the country.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 3:24 pm

The 33-year-old marketing executive's body has been found following a search in woodland near Ashford, Kent, police have said.

She disappeared as she walked home in south London earlier this month.

A serving Met officer remains in custody having been held on suspicion of Ms Everard's kidnap and murder.

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Sarah Everard

And following the news Wigan Today has asked female readers whether they have ever felt unsafe after dark, been harassed when out and about and what needs to change.

The post has sparked a huge reaction with hundreds of comments, many from women who said they do not feel safe after dark, and others telling of being followed, harassed and even another of a man exposing themselves.

Rachel Palmer said:" Yes. I've lived in a number of places around the country and I actually feel safer in Wigan than I did in Preston or Manchester or even Suffolk. But it's still not a safe place for women to be alone."

Megan Heidi Myfanwy Roberts said: "I've been followed, harassed and anytime I have to go out after dark I have my phone in my hand and my keys for my own protection.

"I make sure I stay on main roads that are well light as much as I can."

Yvonne Louise said: "I have always felt uneasy when out and about after dark. I don't go out after dark if I can help it. I even feel uneasy walking through places that are considered a bit lonely during the day.

"Constantly turning round to check who is behind me. I think it's so hard because not all men are dangerous and all men shouldn't have to pay for the actions of others."

Angela Kelsall said: "I wouldn’t choose to go out after dark on my own.

"However when I have come out of work in the dark and walked to my car, I have my keys in my hand ready to defend myself with and usually my hubbie on the phone.

"As soon as I get in my car, I lock my doors. Some places I would avoid during the day i.e the local woods."

Leanne Leadbetter said: "I have walked home numerous of times with my keys between my fingers. I feel less safer in the streets than I would up a mountain at night.

"It's wrong. No woman should have to live this way."

Jayne Marie Clark said: "I don't even go out to take the rubbish out on my own driveway in the dark unless my husband is there and can see me. Ridiculous really but there you go."

Jasmine Alice Reeves said: "I don’t leave the house when it’s dark, I was jumped and harassed on multiple occasions and people need to learn how to respect others. Just because you see someone alone doesn’t mean you have the right to approach them. Especially with other intentions

Katie Louise Thornhill said: "I am cautious, it's just natural instinct from the world we now live in, but I am more concerned about my daughter and our younger generation from the amount of court cases printed in our local area of men who have received just community service or a year or two sentence for exploiting children or sexual offences towards them.

"It isn't a cure nor a long enough sentence and they are popped back into society to re offend."

Julie Cross said: "I would not go anywhere in the dark theses days alone, not a chance."

However, others also wanted to highlight that men can also be in danger.

Steve Turner said: "TBH I think most men feel the same. Would not catch me walking alone in a big town or city after dark. Safer being in a group but even that can be seen as wrong! Times have changed.

"Sure it was safer back in the 70's.. mind you come 10pm my body has to go to sleep."

Kelly Rigby said: "Yes... but this threat has always been there and it applies to both genders. Not everything can be micro managed.

"Sometimes people just need to use their common sense. I learned a long time ago to stick to main footpaths if I had to walk anywhere on my own."

Diane Higham said: "Look at the end of the day this is a pointless debate! The majority of men wouldn't dream of harming, attacking or raping or killing a woman!

"Those that do are in the minority! There's always a chance that these things happen and everyone should be vigilant, but what can be done, absolutely nothing.

"If someone is that way inclined they will do it! At the end of the day men get attacked also."

James Mercer said: "Why is it just women in danger? Its not safe for either gender."

Nicola Harrison added; "Women can be just as violent as men."

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