Sabina Nessa’s Death Shows Nothing Has Changed

Photo courtesy of Met Police.
Twenty-eight-year-old teacher Sabina Nessa was found dead near the OneSpace community centre in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, southeast London last Saturday afternoon.
It is thought that she was murdered while walking through the park on the way to meet a friend at a pub.
Police officers investigating her death said she left her home at about 8.30pm last Friday before heading towards the Depot bar in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke Village, when she was attacked. She never arrived at the pub.
Sabina was a primary school teacher who taught at a school in nearby Catford. She was also one of three sisters and had previously worked helping non-English speakers develop their language skills.
Sabina is thought to have been murdered. Her family say they have been left "devastated" by her death. Her cousin, Zubel Ahmed, described her as a "beautiful soul" and appealed for help to find whoever is responsible for the "horrific crime".
A post-mortem examination into the cause of her death was inconclusive, according to the Metropolitan Police. A man in his 40s, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, has been released under further investigation.
Police believe the attack happened around 20:30 BST on 17th September at a time when the park "was likely being used by many people". They have asked for any potential witnesses to contact them, and for drivers to check dash-cam footage they might have.
As news of Sabina's death has spread, there have been echoes of the abduction, rape and subsequent murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year by a serving Metropolitan Police officer. It was described as a watershed moment which brought a renewed focus to violence against women.

According to Counting Dead Women – a group that tracks femicide in the UK – 77 women have been murdered where a man is the principal suspect since Sarah Everard's death.

So here we are again. Months later, in spite of promises from the government that things would change, despite them reopening the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) consultation in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder and subsequently releasing a VAWG strategy in July which promised better support services for minority communities, as well as a public health campaign that will focus on perpetrator behaviour, here we are again.
According to Counting Dead Women – a group that tracks femicide in the UK – 77 women have been murdered where a man is the principal suspect since Sarah Everard's death. At the time of their analysis, this brought the total number of women suspected of having been killed by men to 105 so far this year.
According to the BBC, information sheets advising women on how to stay safe at night have been handed out by a community group in response to Sabina's death. Suggestions include not wearing headphones, hiding valuables and sticking to areas with good lighting. This is similar to advice on the Metropolitan Police website which also includes facing oncoming traffic while walking and concealing jewellery.
Royal Greenwich's Safer Spaces team has also been distributing personal alarms, with over 200 alarms given to women and vulnerable residents over the last two days, particularly in the Kidbrooke area.
Of course, this once again echoes the conversation which occurred in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder. The burden of staying safe is placed on women while the systemic change required to end male violence never comes.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has paid tribute to Sabina and reflected on what he sees as an "epidemic of violence against women and girls" in Britain. Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, he said: "I think we need to make misogyny a hate crime. I think harassment in the public space against women should be a criminal offence." Making misogyny a hate crime is something that campaigners, including the Labour MP Stella Creasy, have long called for.
A vigil is due to be held in Sabina's memory on Friday (24th September) evening, organised by the community of Kidbrooke. It will take place in Pegler Square. Those who cannot be there in person are invited to light a candle on their doorstep at the same time in her memory.
Sabina has been described by colleagues as "kind, caring and dedicated". Her school's headteacher, Lisa Williams, said: "She had so much life ahead of her and so much more to give and her loss is desperately sad."
Anyone with information about Sabina Nessa's death is urged to call 101 referencing CAD 5747/18 Sept.

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