Primary school teacher Sabina Nessa was killed a week ago on the evening of September 17 while walking through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, an area in the southeast of the capital, the borough of Greenwich .
It is understood that she was on her way to meet a friend at a bar within a 10-minute walk of her home on Astell Road when she was attacked around 8:30 p.m., according to the Metropolitan Police Service (Met) in London.
His body was found by police in Cator Park the following afternoon, almost 24 hours later, near a local community center.
An autopsy performed on Monday proved inconclusive.
On Thursday, a 38-year-old man was arrested in London on suspicion of murder. He remains in detention.
Police have also released footage of another man they wish to speak to in connection with the case.
Officers have appealed to any witnesses or individuals with information about the incident to contact them.
“We know the community is rightly shocked by this murder – as are we – and we are using every resource at our disposal to find the individual responsible,” said Joe Garrity, the Detective Inspector in charge of the Met investigation, in a statement.
“Epidemic of violence”
As the Met’s investigation continues, calls are mounting for authorities to tackle what activists see as an “epidemic of violence against women in the UK”.
Emma Kay, co-founder of WalkSafe, a free mobile app to protect women in public spaces, said scores of women have been killed by men in the UK since March, when Everard’s murder by a Met officer shocked the nation.
Everard was 33 years old. Wayne Couzens, 48, has pleaded guilty to his murder and will be sentenced on September 29.
So far this year, at least 108 women in the UK have been killed by men, or in cases where a man is the prime suspect, according to Counting Dead Women, a group that tracks feminicides in the country.
“Enough is enough,” Kay told Al Jazeera. “British women are calling for action. We must be able to return home safely and live free from violence in our own homes. “
Kay said “a police and justice system that protects women” was needed, as well as “concrete security initiatives” such as improved video surveillance and a free or subsidized transportation system.
Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said it was “devastating” that little was done to tackle male violence against women despite numerous demands for action after the tragedy Everard.
The criminal justice system has been too slow to respond to violence against women, she said, and consistently refrains from prosecuting cases of rape and domestic violence.
She also said support services should receive more funding.
“We must not risk viewing these killings as isolated incidents. Violence against women is so deeply normalized that women must constantly do personal safety work – assessing our surroundings, finding the safest route, carrying the keys in our hands and sharing our location with friends ” Simon told Al Jazeera.
“We need an approach that addresses the root causes of male violence against women and the attitudes that minimize and condone abuse.
“Each solution is reactive”
Politicians, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and MP Janet Daby, who represents the constituency where Nessa was killed, have also called for urgent action.
Khan on Thursday called on authorities to make misogyny a hate crime under UK law and criminalize the harassment of women in public spaces.
Daby told parliament on Wednesday that Nessa’s life had been brutally taken by “misogynistic violence”.
“How many women’s lives must be stolen before this government takes serious action? she said.
Sabina Nessa was a 28-year-old teacher, described as “kind, caring and dedicated to her students”.
She was killed on Friday. She was a woman in a public space – and that simple fact made her vulnerable.
– Janet Daby MP (@JanetDaby) September 22, 2021
The government has said it is prioritizing reducing violence against women, citing its plan to tackle violence against women and girls presented in July.
But activists said such efforts were overdue, citing Nessa’s murder as evidence.
“We see the glaring shortcomings of our country,” Gina Martin, political activist and consultant to gender equality organization UNWomenUK, told Al Jazeera.
“Every solution we come up with is responsive… yet we’re never prepared to have a difficult conversation in the general public about why this is happening. We never want to talk about masculinity and how our society develops it.
“Marginalized women and genders are not immune to male violence no matter what we do. ”