Two stories in the news have been disturbing me somewhat. Their content is about horrible events but it is the reaction or interpretation of them that is making me annoyed. The first one is the news story about the 'serial killer' in Ipswich'. I would like to note on today's lunchtime news on BBC1 the police remarked they might be dealing with a serial killer. By tonight's evening new slot, it had been changed to they were dealing with a serial killer. Anyway, the parts that annoy me are comments such as "Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer urged women, particularly in the party season, not to go out at night alone." So far most of the women that have been unfortunately killed have been prostitutes working in the red light district. While I am not trying to belittle the crimes that have been taken place, this warning to ALL women has left me with an uneasy feeling. It reminds me of Contagious Diseases Act of 1864 where women could be arrested on the assumption they were a prostitute. It's almost making me laugh when the police advise female prostitutes to stay off the streets. The large majority of women involved in prostitution are not involved through choice. They can't just pull a 'sickie' if they don't want to go to work. I am a firm believer in looking at the entrance reasons surrounding women's involved in prostitution such as drug addiction, economic reasons etc. But this case appears to be labelling ALL women as being vulnerable. Looking at the women already murdered or believe missing this person is working to a certain profile. This is based on my own speculation that if it's a man carrying out the crimes then he disassociates prostitutes from other women. They are seen as a release valve for possible sexual tension and therefore not in the normal female category of mother, girlfriend and so on.
Please feel free to correct my amateur psychology ;-)
I do think the message of 'Look after your mates' is very important though, regardless of gender. Making sure they get a taxi home or send you a text when they're through their front door is a decent thing to do. But using this case as a way of highlighting it is the wrong way of going about it. Women are going to be offended and think "Well, I'm not a prositute so I'm safe." They might not necessarily be victims of the above 'serial killer' (whose nickname is no doubt being coined by a national tabloid as I type) but that doesn't mean they're safe from other factors such as a physical assault or other crimes.
Which brings me onto the other news story.
A young woman was raped after getting into a fake private taxi. I know this is a bigger problem in England but, as far as I am aware, it has only recently been highlighted in the Scottish media. Now the internet version includes more information than the original Teletext version I saw. The woman in question walked from Cube to the Radisson Hotel. Now, that is at least a 10 minute walk to the other end of the town. The Radisson Hotel is part of Glasgow's red light district, ironically. It is possible the private hire company told her to walk to the Raddisson (the end of the Argyle Street she was originally on is a one way street and few taxi companies will pick you up from there) but highly doubtful. There are many holes in this story but I admire the girl for reporting it. All in all a rather unease connected to current stories in the media.