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Sabina Nessa’s death is a reminder how unsafe women are

On social media, there has been a shock reaction at the death of yet another young woman.

Sabina Nessa was a 28-year-old primary school teacher from London who, like so many other people her age, had planned to meet a friend at the pub on Friday night. But on the five minute walk there, Sabina was killed.

The body of Sabina Nessa was discovered on Saturday 18 September near the OneSpace community centre in London’s Kidbrooke. Police confirm the young woman had been walking through Cator Park, heading towards The Depot bar in Kidbrooke Village, when she was attacked. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police said in a statement: “Sabina never arrived at the pub and is thought to have been murdered as she walked through the park.”

A postmortem examination was carried out on Sabina’s body on Monday this week, but it returned inconclusive.

Sabina’s death comes at the same time as police in the US investigate the murder of 22-year-old Youtuber, Gabby Petito, who never returned from a campervan trip with her fiancé. It comes just months after the kidnap and brutal murder of Sarah Everard in London at the hands of a Metropolitan Police officer. And women are feeling scared.

“Only yesterday I had to take evasive action after a man decided to walk too close behind me. There are predators everywhere. Some kill, some attack, some just get a kick out of making you scared,” wrote one woman on Twitter. “RIP Sabina. How dare this man have taken you,” she continued.

“Yesterday I was walking at dusk, reflecting on the nights getting longer – the shift that comes for women, in the months filled with more darkness than light; and remembering the fear and outrage so many felt in March,” posted another, in reference to the protests following Sarah Everard’s murder. “The problem endures,” she added.

Activist Gina Martin summed it up harrowingly, when she listed many of the circumstances women have been made to fear. Listing the names of 10 women who have lost their lives to male perpetrators – including Grace Millane, who was killed by a man she went on a Tinder date with, and Cathy Marlow, who was murdered by a colleague at work – Gina highlighted numerous everyday scenarios in which women have been unsafe.

Summing up the desperate need for change, Gina added: “We aren’t safe because male violence is present in every part of society. More park lights, spike rings, rape alarms and even criminalisation won’t help this. Compulsory education programmes on gender and exploring masculinity early on, might.”

As the nights draw in once again, more women will clutch keys between their knuckles, fake loud phone calls, and take busier rather than quicker routes as they walk home. On average in the UK, a woman is killed every three days. It shouldn’t be like this, and it shouldn’t take the death of yet another woman to remind us of the urgency for change.


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