Sabina Nessa was was found murdered in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, South East London, over the weekend. News of the 28-year-old's murder comes just six months after Sarah Everard's, whose case sparked a national and international outcry for greater urgency and prioritisation of women's safety. Despite the countless calls for change, and countless promises of action from the United Kingdom's police force and government following Everard's case, it's clear that women continue to be held responsible for their own safety, and that much more needs to be done for things to truly change.
The guidance that women are often given in order to protect themselves when walking alone is to walk through busy areas, look for well-lit paths, and avoid walking alone in the middle of the night. However, Nessa was walking home through Cator Park at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night, a park that's been described as "busy," at a time when a number of people were said to have been in and around the area, according to Detective Superintendent Luke Marks from the Metropolitan Police.
It's clear that the fault does not lie with women, nor does it lie with the areas they choose to walk in or the times of the day or night that they choose to do it in. The fault lies with men, men in positions of power who are able to create change but don't, men who feel entitled to cause harm to women simply because they're on their own, and men who bear witness to these situations but don't speak up or call others out. As Jameela Jamil said on her social media: "I don't want to hear more public warnings about women not walking in parks in the evening. I am tired of women being burdened with treating the symptoms of men's violence against women. TREAT THE DAMN CAUSE. Men's violence. This is a Man problem that women pay the price for."
Currently, there is an open police appeal for anyone who has more information on the case. The appeal states: "Sabina was found near the OneSpace community centre which we know is a facility used by lots of people and we would ask anyone who was in or around the area and who may have any information to come forward. Did you see someone loitering or acting suspiciously? Or, did you see someone leaving the area in a hurry, perhaps running away? If you have any information, it is vital you tell us."
A candlelight vigil supported by Reclaim These Streets is being held this Friday, 24 Sept, at 7 p.m. in Nessa's honour, at Pegler Square in Kidbrooke Village.