Feminist group calls for 'misogyny to be a hate crime' after Sarah Everard murder
Arij Limam
Europe;United Kingdom


A London-based grassroots community movement aiming to create a forum to connect feminists, has said policy changes need to implemented in the UK to make women feel safer, following the high-profile abduction and murder of Sarah Everard, 33, in South London early this month.

"Misogyny should be a hate crime. That is the policy change that I would like to see," Jo Atkins-Potts, co-chair of 'Feminists of,' told CGTN Europe.

"A hate crime is a prejudiced, motivated crime against someone based on their membership to a certain group or race or social group, and that to me, would be the start of seeing this change, of seeing violence ended against women," she added.


Everard's abduction and murder while she was on her way home on March 3 in the UK capital, sent angry shockwaves throughout the country and ignited conversations about male violence and abuse against women, as well as about women feeling unsafe in public. 

The vociferous response online was compounded by news that a serving Metropolitan Police officer was charged with Sarah Everard's kidnap and murder.

That discontent manifested itself in a crowd that gathered at Clapham Common, in South London, to mourn Sarah Everard's death over the weekend. London's Metropolitan Police force faced widespread criticism for forcibly trying to disperse protesters and making arrests. 

"I think the police absolutely did not handle this well, and that is an understatement," Atkins-Potts said. 

While the official events were canceled by organizers as they did not receive police permits and were threatened with fines, a crowd turned up anyway to peacefully hold a socially distanced vigil.


Hundreds of flowers were left at a bandstand in a South London Park by mourners following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard. /Hannah McKay/Reuters

Hundreds of flowers were left at a bandstand in a South London Park by mourners following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard. /Hannah McKay/Reuters


"The police arrived, then came the heavy handling, the aggression, the putting their hands on women, making women out to be this threat," Atkins-Potts explained.

"This week should have been [about] that women have had enough and that violence against women and girls has to end. And look at this solidarity because we all see ourselves in Sarah's story. That's what the key takeaway should have been and it wasn't and it isn't because this was so poorly handled," she added. 

There have been widespread calls for the head of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, to resign over the handling of the weekend's vigil for Sarah Everard, but Jo Atkins-Potts said the issue was bigger than one police officer and that "radical change" was the priority.

"This is not a new thing. This is so widespread. And we need men to be willing to listen, to stop the defense, for them to believe us and take on the responsibility to see change. And we need politicians to put this at the forefront of their agenda to stop this now," Atkins-Potts said.

"Enough is enough," she added.

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