Wednesday, 12 January 2011

BFN response to the police's warnings re Joanna Yeates' murder

I wrote this on behalf of BFN regarding the police's original response to Joanna Yeates' tragic murder.

My BFN colleague and I will be meeting the police this month to discuss this.

Here at Bristol Feminist Network, we believe that women's freedoms should not be curtailed by the actions of one or some men. Therefore we were disappointed that the initial police response to Joanna Yeates' murder was to warn women to be afraid of walking home alone in the dark, whilst the police search for the perpetrator.

We believe that this warning perpetuates the myth that women are somehow responsible for any attack that happens to them. But violent crime, sexual assault, even murder, are not natural hazards that women can somehow avoid if they follow a set of rules. The only person who is ever responsible for a violent crime is the perpetrator. Never the victim.

Women should not have to change their daily lives thanks to the actions of one or some men. Women should not have to feel afraid, or vulnerable. Women should not be made to feel responsible or ashamed for the violence committed against them.

We are pleased that the police have decided to amend their message to the public, encouraging women to carry on with their daily lives and not be afraid in their surroundings. We hope that they continue with this message.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with Miss Yeates' family at this terrible time.

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