Sabina Nessa’s shocking death is a familiar reminder that women are not safe on the streets

·3-min read
 (Natasha Pszenicki)
(Natasha Pszenicki)

Another week, another female victim of violence in our city; her body found in Kidbrooke, covered in autumn leaves as though a temporary shroud of foliage might lessen the indignity of being murdered.

Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old school teacher, is thought to have been killed by a stranger, just as Sarah Everard and sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were last year.

Many are dismissive of these incidents — they’re rare, #NotAllMen, we mustn’t scaremonger and so on. They don’t get that on our walk home tonight, we’ll clutch our keys so tight they gash the palms of our hands, and the fact these women’s tragedies speak to a phenomenon that runs deep.

Across the UK, 4.9 million women have been victims of sexual assault, according to the ONS.

But of course, you don’t know those women — just the female colleague who seems a bit precarious these days, that guy’s girlfriend who’s a bit less fun, more quivery since something happened to her on a night out a few years ago.

In private, women tell statisticians that they don’t disclose to the police because it’s embarrassing, they think they won’t be believed, or — gulp — that their experience is too “trivial”. Imagine that: “So sorry to be a bother, just had this slight awkward hiccup” — as though they slipped up.

Women are made to feel rape is so improbable, so insignificant, they should apologise for bringing it up.

We need to talk women’s health more seriously

After months of doctors telling women they were worrying about nothing, a leading specialist writing in the BMJ has called for more research into reports that Covid vaccines could be linked to temporary disruption to periods.

In my early twenties, it took me three years to get diagnosed with ADHD — the doctor who finally did explained that other doctors weren’t used to diagnosing women.

I then spent three more years trying eight different medications; days sliding between sleeplessness and giddiness which many doctors put down to my imagination.

I finally gave up medications, only to find out months afterwards that many Asian women have greater side-effects with drugs — seemingly because our enzymes differ, and drugs are of course mostly tested on men. Nothing shakes your sense of self more than being told you’re fantasising a pain you feel in your compact bone.

When women report pain they are significantly less likely to be given painkillers than men, and more likely to be prescribed Prozac or referred to a psychiatrist.

It’s the age-old tale of women being gaslit and told “you’re crazy” — but not by a toxic boyfriend, rather a bloke in a white coat.

I support Insulate Britain’s cause, but the method of protest is wrong

I understand the extraordinariness of Insulate Britain’s mission. When the stakes are infinitely high — as in the case of the potential extinction of our planet — perhaps they must rattle our shoulders until we wake up to what’s happening.

But then there is their method, which at present is to clog up the M25 and stop you from getting to work.

If your mother is partially paralysed by a stroke because she took six hours to get to A&E, as has reportedly occurred already — you are hardly won over to the cause.

What do you think about Insulate Britain blocking the M25? Let us know in the comments below.

Read More

What the papers say – September 24

Sabina Nessa: Vigil to be held for murdered primary school teacher

Sabina Nessa: Timeline of events in investigation into teacher’s murder

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