Read my article on Birmingham Eastside here.
It’s scary when something deadly happens so close to home. Even with all the police around, you still feel uncomfortable, like the chill of death is just lingering around.Well, last night seemed like an alright night until I woke up to some awful news this morning…
Around 1am, I was disturbed by the flashing blue lights of a police car entering the street and driving down past the allotments. Usually, in my village, the police are out because of the local ‘chavs’ (believe me, even I have made complaints about them before, Had fireworks thrown at me. They missed. Chavs don’t have the best aim).
This morning I woke up to the news that a woman’s body had been found in a blazing car, literally across the road from my house. I can see the crime scene from my bedroom window (featured image).
The event is said to be being treated as unexplained, which makes it all the more frightening.
The victim has yet to be identified in the news. Follow the story on the local news paper here.
I live in both Birmingham and Sunderland, depending on the time of term that it is so I spend my time reporting on both cities. As I have an interest in investigative journalism I spend a lot of time looking into published police statistics on disclosure logs looking for something to look into.
Recent statistics from West Midlands police show that the number of rape and sexual assault victims get higher each year. The recent statistics of rape in Sunderland have also climbed dramatically since 2012/13 as they are now 6 times higher than they were back then.
Birmingham: In 2016/17 there has been 1647 reported rape and sexual assault instances, with only 161 perpetrators summoned to court and 22 charged for the crime. The numbers of reports have been rising since 2013 as that year there were 775 incidents. There were 1206 reported in 2014 and 1412 in 2015. The highest amount of reports in 2016/17 has been identified to have taken place in the west of Birmingham with 475 reports from this area. There were only 47 of these lead to a court case and only 6 were charged.
Sunderland: In recordings from 2016/17 there have been 171 reported of rape and sexual assault in the area in comparison to the 29 reports in 2012/13. Out of the 171 rape reports in the last year, only 77 were charged with the offence. The statistics show that the most common factors about the victims were that most of the victims were female, aged between 11 and 25.
UK wide: Rape statistics across the country were said to have doubled within the last 4 years all across the UK according to reports in October 2016 but have been climbing following the Jimmy Saville scandal in late 2012. Although, according to rape centres 43% of victims are still unlikely to report as they feel like they will be blamed for the attack or because they feel like the courts favour the offender as most reports don’t lead to charges.
Jennens Court residence have been made uncomfortable by men lingering outside the halls to ‘catcall’ young women.
Charis Pardoe said that there is often a black car spotted need the Jennens Court Halls of Residence for Birmingham City University in which a group of men will sit and “shout at girls all the time.”
Catcalling has been an issue that’s spread UK wide through the #NotACompliment campaign that has aimed to get misogynistic acts such as street harassment to be taken more seriously under the category ‘hate crime.’
It has gained success in areas several areas nationwide but is still being dismissed by West Midlands Police.
West Midlands Police stated that ‘catcalling’ among other forms of street harassment ‘is not a crime as it isn’t aggressive. Being attacked because of your race, religion, because you’re gay or have an alternative gender identity is a hate crime.’
Despite it’s apparent “non-aggressive” nature, Birmingham Students have said that it makes them feel unsafe.
“I believe that street harassment should be considered a hate crime because of how offended it makes me feel,” says Vicky Bentley (18), Birmingham City University Student, “Harassment like this could lead to sexual assault.”
. A recent poll done by End Violence Against Women states that 85% of women in the UK have faced unwanted sexual attention between the ages of 18 to 24, 45% of these cases also experienced unwanted sexual contact and the majority of these women had their first ‘catcalling’ experience between the ages of 11 and 17.
As the evidence suggests street harassment has fast become a common problem but the #NotACompliment campaign is still aiming to get the issue taken seriously so that young women are able to walk the streets and feel safe.