Why it's time to stop blaming women and change the conversation around safety - Laura Collins, YEP Editor
Take a moment and read each of these heartbreaking statements very carefully.
“I am scared of every man I see now.
“I feel like I am never going to be safe any more.
“I don’t like going out any more. I am always on edge.”
These are the words of a 13-year-old girl who was subjected to a vile and wicked assault from a man she thought she was helping.
The youngster believed she was being nothing but a Good Samaritan after seeing Victor Thompson struggling in the street with his shopping.
Little did she know that the predator was luring her to his home to attack her - leaving her hopes and dreams shattered with her whole life ahead of her.
She has shown bravery beyond her youth to put pen to paper and write a letter as her attacker was jailed at Leeds Crown Court.
And I would urge North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott to read her letter with care.
The police chief sparked anger last week after his appalling comments on the false arrest of murdered Sarah Everard.
Despite refuting his claims later, he said in an interview on Friday that Ms Everard should not have submitted to her false arrest by serving Met police officer Wayne Couzens.
He falsely used his warrant card to wrongly arrest Ms Everard. He then kidnapped, raped and murdered her.
Mr Allott also said women should be “streetwise” and learn their rights around arrests in the wake of Couzens’ crimes, which last week saw him sentenced to life in prison.
Since the outcry around his comments the police tsar, who still refuses to stand down, said he has a “lot to learn”.
Here’s a starting point for you - stop blaming women.
The current narrative is dominated by how women should take steps to keep safe.
We shouldn’t have to take steps, we shouldn’t have to feel fearful on the street and we certainly shouldn’t have to be “streetwise” as we go about our daily lives.
Essentially we need to start with a cultural shift in society to stop looking at blaming females.
What happens about those vile predators like Thompson and Couzens who are out there who want to lure women into dangerous situations by presenting themselves as completely harmless?
This isn’t something you think would happen.
But how do you expect women to keep safe by screaming every time a man comes near us? The advice last week offered by the Met about how women should flag down a passing bus if they are stopped by an officer they do not trust is absolutely ludicrous.
Let’s be honest we’d only be then labelled as hysterical women.
Fearing and hating all men is simply not a solution - in fact it’s a wholly ridiculous suggestion.
This simply has to become a watershed moment to finally break the cycle of violence against women.
It has become an epidemic and one that needs to be tackled for all our sakes - and that change has to start with how we frame the narrative.
For the sake of your daughters, mothers, sisters and friends.
Enough is enough.
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