Sarah Everard

This high profile abduction and murder of a 33 year old marketing manager from London was prominent in the public consciousness in March 2021. Her killing unleashed a wave of fury and horror at the violence women have to face, as well as a reckoning with the extent of police power in the UK (the suspect in Everard’s murder is a police officer). 

Yet repeatedly, we saw tired old tropes that didn’t square up to reality churned out with regards to what happened to Sarah. Problematic individuals on social media emphasised the idea that women should not walk home alone at night if they want to keep safe; in the aftermath of the anger surrounding Everard’s killing, several commentators expressed worries for whether men would feel targeted by all the uproar. The language used around what had happened was frequently problematic:

We also saw Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick attempt to downplay the frequency and systemic nature of what had happened:

Her language here is hugely problematic – partly because of who she is. For someone so senior in the police to speak like this gives authority to the idea that killings of women by men are randomised acts, not built into and fed by the systems in which we live. This notion couldn’t be further from the truth. 

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