Professor Devi Sridhar: ‘Exhausting’ for women to ‘constantly modify’ our behaviour’, in wake of Sarah Everard case

A University of Edinburgh academic has spoken of how women are forced to “constantly modify” their behaviour in public to avoid sexual harassment and violence.

Public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar said it was “exhausting” for women, and shared her own experience with followers on social media.

She tweeted: “I used to run in the dark (early morning) and stopped after two drunk guys tried to chase me down once.

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“Decided it wasn’t worth it and would only run when it’s light out & people about.”

She added: “We constantly modify our behaviour & it’s exhausting.”

Her comments came after the arrest of a Metropolitan Police officer for the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard

Ms Everard was last seen on March 3 in Clapham, south London, walking home alone from a friend's house.

On Wednesday evening, detectives investigating her disappearance confirmed that they had uncovered as-yet unidentified human remains in woodland near Ashford in Kent.

Public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar said it was “exhausting” for women forced to “constantly modify” their behaviour in public to avoid sexual harassment and violence.

The case has reignited a wider discussion about rape culture in Britain, with scores of women expressing how the threat of sexual violence can police their movements.

Professor Sridhar aired her experience in response to a tweet from journalist Moya Crockett, who said that women are forced to “modify our lives constantly” to stay safe.

Ms Crockett told followers: “Talking with female friends earlier, we realised we’ve changed. In our teens/early 20s we were OUTRAGED by the idea that we should change our behaviour to keep ourselves safe from men.

“At 28/29, the dominant mood is a kind of practical exhaustion. We modify our lives constantly.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also weighed in on the issue, tweeting that there were “few - if any - women who don’t completely understand and identify with” the experiences being shared on social media.

She added: “Thinking of Sarah Everard and her devastated family.”

In a televised statement on Wednesday, Met Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, acknowledged the anxiety that Ms Everard’s case was causing for many women.

Dame Cressida said: "Sarah's disappearance in these awful and wicked circumstances is every family's worst nightmare.

"I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public - particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing - will be worried and may well be feeling scared."

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