"I've been followed, harassed and even had images taken of me." The experiences of women living in Derbyshire

Women across Derbyshire have revealed the precautions they feel forced to take to keep themselves safe when out on their own at night.

By Lizzie Day
Saturday, 13th March 2021, 10:05 pm

A national conversation about the experience of women and how many feel uncomfortable alone at night has been sparked online, after the disappearance of Sarah Everard.

Derbyshire Times readers shared how they feel in our local communities and the measures they take to feel less at risk while out alone.

Alicia Delaney said: “I’ve had so many issues with being followed, harassed and even images being taken of me, I have to be on the phone when I go out at night just so I feel a little safer. Birdholme/ Derby Road area is definitely the worst for it.”

Women across Derbyshire have revealed the precautions they feel forced to take to keep themselves safe when out on their own at night.

Ellen Rhodes, who said her friend had previously been attacked on the way home from a night out, commented: “No we don’t feel safe at all!

"Going anywhere in a taxi especially after a night out I have to call somebody and talk to them the whole journey so they know where I am to deter being attacked as it happened to a friend of mine after a night out on her way home by the taxi driver and he was let free because of lack of evidence.

"Would never walk alone down an alley anywhere in Chesterfield in the day let alone at night.”

Other women also replied, saying they make sure they are on the phone to someone while making their way home to feel more safe.

Scotland Yard has confirmed the human remains found by police in Kent is that of Sarah Everard.

Sophie Webb added: “I walk to work in the evening, I am always on the phone with a earphone in one ear and always vigilant on whats going on around me.

"I always say where I am near when on the phone walking to my work. If not going to work I never go out at night.”

Residents raised the issue of poor street lighting and said they are less likely to walk alone at night.

“Since all the street lights were changed to more 'environmently friendly' ones; it seems to feel less safe; and like others have said; not just for women”, Vicky Mudds added.

Social media user Emily Jane, admitted she would rather ‘walk the streets’ than take a taxi. She said: “The best advice I can give to the women that feel scared, is to get yourself one of those little kits, they include a rape alarm, pepper spray/ink dye, a seat belt cutter, a window breaker and maybe something else but these tools are not illegal to carry and will definitely save your life!

"Personally I don't trust taxi drivers I would rather walk the streets.

"If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in a taxi call a friend.

"It's absolutely awful to think people need to take these kinda measures stay safe everyone always tell someone where you are and when you expect to be back home.”

A recent survey from UN Women UK found that 97 per cent of women aged 18-24 said they had experienced sexual harassment while 80 per cent of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Phil Bramley, editor.