In a now-deleted Facebook post, Nottinghamshire police said that “taking a risk when it comes to walking alone at night is not one of those things we should be doing,” stressing that the danger is particularly prevalent for women.“Women who walk alone especially at night are at risk of harassment, or even physical assault,” the message noted. The force also asked women to be careful if they choose to make a “late-night store run.”
The advice didn’t sit well with many women, however, who accused the force of sexism and victim-blaming. Helen Voce, chief executive of Nottingham Women's Centre, described the post as an affront to women.“It felt like a 1980s thing; it is so condescending,” Voce told the BBC, adding that the line about late-night shopping was especially offensive. “I think it makes women feel like it’s their fault and that’s ridiculous.”
Another woman who responded to the Facebook post wrote that “it’s 2019 and we no longer blame women for whatever crime has been committed against them.”
On Twitter, one user argued that the police notice sounded like it was from Saudi Arabia – a country criticized for requiring women to be accompanied by men in many situations.
Responding to the criticisms, a police spokesman acknowledged the “clumsy” nature of the message, while insisting that their underlying intention was to help keep people safe. “The post was swiftly deleted as soon as it was brought to our attention. Feedback has been provided and we would apologize unreservedly for any offense caused,” the spokesman said.
Not everyone asked for an apology, however. “Imagine being offended by well meaning, practical advice,” one netizen mused. Another unfazed Twitter user described the controversial police advisory as “common sense.”
Denying the risks of walking alone at night is tantamount to leaving your car unlocked – a reality “sadly lost amongst sjw liberals,” noted an equally unbothered netizen.
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