Comments, catcalling and creeps: Wolverhampton women on why they won't walk home alone

Catcalling, being followed, taxi drivers making inappropriate comments – this is the harsh reality for women just trying to enjoy a night out in the Black Country.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Bell speaking to Amrita Sethi and Sarah Smallman in Wolverhampton city centre
Assistant Chief Constable Claire Bell speaking to Amrita Sethi and Sarah Smallman in Wolverhampton city centre

Women have long been looking over their shoulder while walking alone through the city, but the recent shocking murders of both Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa have made them even more cautious.

“No, I’d never walk through the city alone,” said 18-year-old Courtney Jeavons on a night out in Wolverhampton.

“Definitely not. That’s why we’re always in a big group with the lads. Us girls will never go out on our own.

“We’ve been catcalled before, we’ve been followed, and had taxi drivers making comments – or people shouting out the windows of cars so we’ve had to walk fast. It’s not nice.”

Courtney Jeavons and Ellie Bastable said they would never walk home alone

Arabella Yardley, 18, said: “Sometimes it’s pretty scary but when you’re in a group it does feel safer. I definitely wouldn’t feel safe walking by myself.”

The Express & Star went out with West Midlands Police to talk to party-goers on a busy Saturday night in Wolverhampton.

All of the women we spoke to that evening said they would never walk through the city alone in the dark.

One group of five women all came to stand near uniformed officers while they waited for their taxi to take them home – they said they had felt uncomfortable when a strange man came to talk to them.

Police speak to people in Wolverhampton city centre

Jemma Weaver, 38, from Essington was one of the group. She said: “We were just enjoying our food when this man came up and was talking to us, and then he was following us for a bit too.

“We think he was probably going to ask for money. But then we saw the green jackets of the police so came to stand over with them.

"We just felt really uncomfortable and vulnerable. He was really close, staring at us all and leaning in. It’s really intimidating.”

Sergeant Adam Yeomans reassures women outside The Moon in the Water pub

It's not just women out in bars and clubs being targeted either; Pc Kay Walker was out on patrol that night and said she has experienced her fair share of abuse.

"A man just came up to me now and asked me for a picture and said 'you're beautiful' and I asked him whether he'd do that to a male officer?

"You get a lot of that, and sometimes they can get really aggressive if you don't want your picture taken.

"The amount of times I've been called a slag, a prostitute, a trollop. If they say that sort of thing to police officers then what are they like at home behind closed doors?"

Officers will keep patrolling on busy nights in the city, and are reminding people that they are there to help and provide support.

Safe Haven, based by the Man on the Oss, is also an area for people who might need assistance during a night out.

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