A woman who was arrested at a vigil for Sarah Everard has claimed that she has since been contacted by dozens of police officers over Tinder.
Patsy Stevenson, who was photographed pinned to the ground in handcuffs during the March vigil in Clapham Common, told BBC News that she was ‘terrified’ after around 50 police officers reached out to her on the dating app, stating that she regards their advances as an intimidation tactic.
The now-famous photograph of physics student Stevenson went viral earlier this year, with many expressing shock that officers would respond in this manner at a vigil attended by those concerned about violence against women.
In the light of the conviction of former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, who was last month found guilty of the rape and murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard, many have been left particularly troubled by the photograph of Stevenson.
Speaking with BBC News, Stevenson alleged that the officers who contacted her were aware that she was ‘fearful of police’ and had approached her ‘for a reason’:
They were all in uniform on their profiles or it said ‘I’m a police officer’. I do not understand why someone would do that. It is almost like an intimidation thing, saying ‘look we can see you’, and that, to me, is terrifying.
They know what I went through and they know that I’m fearful of police, and they’ve done that for a reason.
Stevenson also opened up about being the subject of internet conspiracies in the aftermath of her arrest, with some accusing her of being a ‘crisis actor’ paid to get arrested at the vigil in order to make the police look bad.
The 28-year-old reportedly ‘can’t count the amount of death threats’ she’s received, with many of her attackers threatening to kidnap her.
Now there’s always that fear when I’m out and I see someone staring at me. I just want to be able to live the way you live without fear. But then again, I’m a woman.
This comes after it emerged that 26 Metropolitan Police colleagues of Couzens have committed sex crimes over the past five years alone.
As per figures published in the Sunday Mirror, 26 Scotland Yard officers have been convicted of crimes such as rape, voyeurism and possessing indecent images of children since 2016.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays
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