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Her name was Sabina Nessa. Like Sarah Everard, she was just walking home.

It’s been six months since the horrific abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, and London is once again grappling with the death of another young woman. 

Sabina Nessa was a 28-year-old primary school teacher, who had been walking to meet a friend at a pub in Kidbrooke, south east London, on a journey that should have taken just five minutes when she was fatally attacked near Cator Park on Friday.

Sarah Everard, 33, a marketing executive, disappeared in South London, England as she was walking home to Brixton Hill from a friend’s house near Clapham Common. A week later her remains were discovered in woodland near Ashford in Kent. A serving Met Police officer – Wayne Couzens – pleaded guilty to Everard’s kidnap and rape, and murder. 

Sarah’s death received widespread international media coverage, sparked national outrage and prompted a conversation about violence against women. Sabina’s murder has yet to receive the same level of national and international coverage – with a myriad of reasons to examine, and only one question to answer: When will women be safe? 

School teacher murdered Sabina Nessa Sarah Everard London murder

a wider problem of violence against women

The unanswered questions

The Evening Standard says the murder of Sabina Nessa has “led to a new outpouring of concern about women’s safety and left many wondering anxiously about what happened.” 

The article reviews the main unanswered questions so far. The main question is how could she have been killed on a five-minute walk through a busy park? They write the cause of Ms Nessa’s death is unknown after a post-mortem proved inconclusive, and are relying on members of the public could help solve the mystery of how, why and who. 

Answering the question of whether it was a stranger attack, the article highlights that whilst it’s unknown, it is being closely looked at by police as a stranger attack. It has also been suggested that the Metropolitan Police are concerned it may happen. 

Is Sabina’s death part of a wider problem of violence against women? 

“Yes, because whatever the facts turn out to be, a young woman has died violently on a short evening walk that anyone should be able to complete in safety. Whether specific opportunities to prevent her killer striking might have been missed will only be known once the culprit is caught and the investigation and prosecution completed.” 

Read the full article, Sabina Nessa murder: The five unanswered questions, by Evening Standard.

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Six months on from the murder of Sarah Everard, is change coming fast enough?

Just days before Sabina Nessa’s death was public news, ITV wrote an article asking if change was coming fast enough six months on from the murder of Sarah Everard. 

ITV says Sarah’s abduction, rape and murder by a serving Metropolitan police officer started a movement. Describing the public reaction as a “cocktail of anger and grief” the public took to the streets and social media to share their daily experiences of harassment, fear and threat. 

In response, organisations like Reclaim These Streets, were born.

“We felt that we needed to take back, take back control of our, of our public spaces, our park and our streets,” says Anna Birley, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets.

The reaction to Sarah Everard’s horrific murder shone a spotlight onto violence against women.

The UK government responded by laying out a plan to improve safety. But six months on, is change coming fast enough? 

ITV write that since Sarah went missing, 77 women have been murdered where a man is the principal suspect. It brings the total so far this year to 105, according to Counting Dead Women – a group that tracks femicide in the UK.  

It’s not just femicide where the statistics are shocking, recent figures show 2020 saw the lowest number of rape convictions ever recorded. 

In the wake of Sarah Everard’s death, the government did announce a range of measures. 

The government promised better lighting, more CCTV, an online tool that people can record areas where they feel unsafe, a new violence against women police chief and undercover coppers in bars. 

MP Caroline Nokes chairs the women and equalities select committee, she says the initial proposals were misguided. 

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“The solutions can’t be, absolutely cannot be, stick to well lit areas. Don’t walk alone. That absolutely is blaming the victim for what has happened to her.” 

Ms Noakes also says the government’s focus on increasing the number of perpetrators brought to justice, is not the right focus. “Somebody who rapes and murders doesn’t start off with that as their first crime and so we need to not spend our time focusing on stronger sentences for those who’ve committed the very serious, the most awful crimes, but actually let’s look at the deterrence along the path to that.”

The article quotes campaigners like Andrea Simon who believe the amount of funding the government is putting forward will not be able to meet the changes promised. 

New legislation – Domestic Abuse Bill – have been introduced this year, it’s a “landmark piece of legislation included amendments such as strengthening coercive and controlling offences, revenge porn and non-fatal strangulation.”

The government says it will transform the response to domestic abuse, but MP Jess Philips says it falls short. She says what is needed is a proper monitoring system for dangerous offenders and not just those who have convictions. 

Ms Ingala-Smith makes a further point, that neither the bill nor the strategy references the worst type of violence, killing: “It doesn’t include the word femicide at all. 

“And if you’re not going to do that, if it’s insulting really that these women’s deaths are being used to talk about the importance of a strategy, but the strategy doesn’t address men’s vertical violence against women.”

Read the full article, Six months on from the murder of Sarah Everard, is change coming fast enough? By ITV

"That absolutely is blaming the victim for what has happened to her."

School teacher murdered Sabina Nessa Sarah Everard London murder

Her name was Sabina Nessa. Like Sarah Everard, she was just walking home.

MamaMia examines the differences in media coverage of the deaths of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa. 

The article says there’s grave concern Sabina’s murderer was a stranger, and whoever took her life is still at large. It’s a story that sounds hauntingly familiar to that of Sarah Everard. The 33-year-old London woman murdered by a stranger while walking home around 9pm, from a friend’s house in Clapham in March. 

“We all knew about Sarah’s story, even down here in Australia, as more than 750 people searched for her in the days after she went missing. CCTV footage caught her en route to her home in Brixton on the phone to her boyfriend. She was attacked shortly afterwards.” 

Sarah’s story was reported on worldwide as thousands gathered at vigils and women demanded to know “why isn’t it safe for us to walk alone?” and “when is enough, enough?”

“But Sabina’s face is alien to most Australians. Her story isn’t being featured heavily in UK papers, let alone in Australian ones.”

The article suggests Sabina isn’t receiving as much attention due to several reasons. Firstly, Sarah was missing for a week, whilst Sabina was found the next day. 

Another factor is that Sarah’s killer was revealed to be a serving police officer, but considering Sabina’s killer is still at large it surely should warrant some front-page attention. 

The most obvious reason is skin colour. 

“It’s not the only example of ‘Missing White Woman Syndrome’ we’ve seen play out in the media headlines this week. The story of missing American YouTuber Gabby Petito is being reported on far and wide, and as criminal justice and media assistant professor Danielle Slakoff told the New York Times, “Research, including my own work, has shown that white missing women and girls do receive more initial coverage and they do receive more repeated coverage.”

It’s not the only reason Gabby’s story captured the world’s attention. It’s also not the only reason Sarah’s name is so familiar to us. 

But when you have a young teacher murdered in a busy park by a stranger still on the loose, and that’s not garnering the same amount of attention, questions must be asked, the article says. 

It’s not good enough. We, as a society, must do better. Her name is Sabina Nessa. Don’t let her be forgotten. 

Read the full article, Her name was Sabina Nessa. Like Sarah Everard, she was just walking home, by MamaMia 

"The most obvious reason is skin colour"

School teacher murdered Sabina Nessa Sarah Everard London murder

‘Male violence is killing us. Stop telling us we’re overreacting’

Sabina Nessa’s Murder Proves Women Are Still Not Safe From Random Attacks

Elle says one of the most chilling aspects of Sabrina’s case is that she was potentially attacked by a stranger, adding that research shows a woman is killed by a man every three days across the UK. And according to the ONS, nine out of ten killers in the UK are men. 

Most women are killed by people they know and “more than 70 per cent of women murdered in the last decade have been killed in their own home, double the number of men.” But the murder of Sabina Nessa is “proof women aren’t safe from random attacks, either.” 

A recent YouGov poll for UN Women Social media users are encouraging people to share their outrage, using the hashtag #SayHerName, in an effort to demand real protections for women from violence.

Last week, a watchdog report into how the police tackle violence against women – commissioned after the murder of Sarah Everard – found that ending male violence was ‘not a priority’ within the police.

This latest tragedy proves that sadly, we still have a very long way to go before that’s true.

‘We are angry and heartbroken to hear about the loss of yet another woman. This is an epidemic of violence against women,’ Tweeted the campaign group Reclaim the Streets, which is organising a vigil for Sabina in her memory, and in solidarity against violence towards women.

Sabina’s death has reignited a wave of fury over women killed in London this year. Campaign group Our Streets Now has said: ‘Please, stop telling us we’re overreacting.

‘Male violence is killing us. It’s restricting our right to be free and equal citizens. We need change, now.’

Read the full article, Sabina Nessa’s Murder Proves Women Are Still Not Safe From Random Attacks, by Elle

Deep Dive

Quick Facts

Murder of school teacher Sabina Nessa

Primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, was found dead in a south east London park on Saturday evening.

Her body found near the OneSpace community centre in Cator Park, Kidbrooke Village in Greenwich – with police believing she was killed at around 8:30pm the night before.

Officers were called at 5.32pm after her body lay undiscovered for almost 24 hours in meadow-land.

Police are treating the death as murder but an initial post-mortem investigation did not reveal a conclusive cause of death. – The Mirror 

Sabina Nessa Vigil

A candlelight vigil is to be held in memory of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa who was found murdered in a south London park.

The 28-year-old’s body was found hidden under a pile of leaves by a dog walker in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, on Saturday.

A vigil organised by the Kidbrooke community in memory of Ms Nessa will be held at Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, at 7pm on Friday, while St James’ Church Kidbrooke will open its doors the same day to offer prayer to those affected by the tragic incident.

Anyone unable to attend the vigil in person is encouraged to light a candle on their doorstep at the same time.

Murder of Sarah Everard

On the evening of 3 March 2021, Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, disappeared in South London, England as she was walking home to Brixton Hill from a friend’s house near Clapham Common.

On 9 March 2021, Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit, was arrested in Deal, Kent, firstly on suspicion of Everard’s kidnapping and later on suspicion of her murder. On 10 March, her remains were discovered in woodland near Ashford in Kent. Couzens was charged with kidnapping and murder two days later, following identification of the remains as those of Everard

Is London safe to live for women?

Although there are certain areas that should be avoided, London is as safe as other popular European cities. Even for women, the risk is considered low. As London is a tourist hot-spot, the biggest risks are related to travel. Pickpocketing is the most common form of street crime in London
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