Content warning: mention of sexual assault and violence
Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive and Durham University graduate, went missing after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham at 9pm on 3 March, wearing navy trousers and a green jacket.
On Sunday 7 March, doorbell camera footage was retrieved which showed her walking towards the South of Brixton on what should have been her 50 minute journey - it is unknown whether she reached home.
A serving police officer, 48, was arrested late Tuesday night on suspicion of kidnap and murder, along with a woman, believed to be the suspect’s partner, on suspicion of assisting an offender. She has since been released on bail until mid-April.
Everard's family have expressed that "she would never have taken a lift from a stranger" and that she was "bright and beautiful – a wonderful daughter and sister".
Talks are now taking place as to whether the suspect, who currently works with the Metropolitan Police's Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, used his warrant to lure Everard into a vehicle.
The latest news is that the suspect was accused of indecent exposure at a McDonald’s just three days prior to Sarah’s disappearance, and that fellow police officers failed to act with haste, leaving the suspect free on 3 March. The Independent Office for Police Conduct are now investigating this incident.
The tragedy of Everard’s death comes just days after The Guardian posted an article on the recent UN women UK study that concluded that 97% of female 18 – 24 year olds have been subjected to some form of sexual harassment.
Many women responded to the horrifying statistics by taking to social media to express concerns that "we could all be Sarah".
The social media posts highlight that all women have, like Sarah, worn bright colours, covered up, pretended to be on the phone, got a taxi instead of walking, held keys between knuckles, bought a rape alarm and begged friends to text when they get home safely. Ultimately, this case has revealed that even these precautionary measures are aren't sufficient in always protecting women.
The truth is, every wolf whistle, every car that slows down, every brush of skin in a club, every man walking a little bit too close, every "let me buy you a drink", can be a source of discomfort and fear for women.
What this case and the subsequent social media storm have shown is that the narrative needs to change. The blame needs to shift away from women and towards the perpetrators.
It's essential that you walk your friends home, call out others on issues of consent and don’t perpetuate the shameful idea that assault and violence are ever the victim’s fault.
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this article, please contact