The consequence of that particular event was that the media have been overtaken by conversations about women's safety. This recording of BBC Question Time that was aired last Thursday demonstrates the level of the conversation:
Men are the problem — Women are afraid — Women feel unsafe — What can we do about it as a society — Oh, we need to educate men — Men need to learn to become aware of the public spaces — Oh, absolutely — If a man walks on a dark street and sees a woman in front of him, especially if he walks faster than her, he needs to cross the road — We need to teach our boys how to respect women
There was a lone voice that said, but wait, don't people also need to be careful? don't we look both ways when we cross a road? That insolent voice was quickly drowned.
I don't understand this conversation. I don't understand it on two levels. First, if there are criminals who abduct and kill people, all this "men need to learn" chorus won't do squat to stop them. When the media focuses on the increase in the knife crime for example, the response from the public is never to teach kids to be more gallant and considerate to each other. And second, if someone walks behind you on a dark and empty street it sure is uncomfortable regardless of what sex you are. The only thing left to you is to trust that the person behind you isn't going to suddenly knife or bludgeon or smother you or stop you and demand your wallet.
Watching that BBC segment was just like reading the beginning of Ben Elton's Identity Crisis again, in which the suggestion that an unfortunate murder victim simply happened to be in a wrong place at a wrong time was taken as an outrageous effrontery.