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Police officer charged with kidnap, murder of Sarah Everard in case that gripped U.K.

   March 15, 2021 1:57 AM
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by Yasmine Salam

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The Murder of Sarah Everard Male violence against women and girls
 
"We rarely hear about what drives perpetrators to harm women and what needs to be put in place to stop this behavior," said one campaigner.

LONDON — She was just walking home..

The death of Sarah Everard, who was last seen walking on a busy south London street just after 9:30 p.m. March 3, has gripped the United Kingdom.

Police confirmed Friday that a body found by investigators Wednesday was that of the 33-year-old marketing executive, and that Wayne Couzens, an elite officer with London Metropolitan Police's diplomatic protection command, had been charged with her murder.

Commenting on the arrest, Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Wednesday that the case had sent "waves of shock and anger" through the public and the entire force. "We are utterly appalled at this dreadful news," she said. "Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people."

The case has also set off calls for action on male violence against women and girls, and a change in the dialogue that surrounds it.

While the search for Everard was underway, thousands of women shared stories online about the abuse and fears they have experienced on streets in Britain, where more than 70 percent of women have been sexually harassed in public, according to a 2019 United Nations study.

Among those to speak out was the "Game of Thrones" actress Nathalie Emmanuel, who talked about "the countless times" she had faced "predatory behavior by men," in a Twitter thread.

In an Instagram Story "Bridgerton" star Regé-Jean Page said: "Who are we not mentioning in this equation? It's us. It's men."

"The grief and distress from women reacting to what happened to Sarah Everard shows just how differently women experience public space compared to men," Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women campaign group, told NBC News.

"We rarely hear about what drives perpetrators to harm women and what needs to be put in place to stop this behavior," she added.

An impromptu memorial sprang up on Saturday in the south London neighborhood where Everard disappeared.

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