Exeter University lecturer says Lorraine Cox's murder highlights wider issue

Azam Mangori was jailed for life for murdering Lorraine Cox on her way home from night out. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police/PA

A senior lecturer at Exeter University is calling for people from all backgrounds to step up and take responsibility for tackling violence against women in the wake of Lorraine Cox's murder.

Dr Charlotte Bishop teaches criminal law, specialising in domestic violence, gender, sexuality and feminist theory.

She says that part of the reason for slow progress in providing greater protections for women is that the issue is seen as a 'woman's problem' rather than a collective societal failure.

Dr Bishop said: "We really need to be addressing the way that gender stereotypes and victim-blaming and all those kind of things enable these awful crimes to happen, but also enable and allow low-level harassment like catcalling and sexual assault to happen with relative impunity really.

"There's a lot of focus on this as being a women's issue and actually it's an issue for everybody, and what was really nice about the recent vigil for Lorraine Cox and Sarah Everard in Exeter was the call to boys and men to start to take responsibility to call out each other when they are seeing men, their friends, catcalling and groping women in bars."

In terms of the way the subject of violence against women has been handled by top-level politicians and media campaigns, Dr Bishop said the rhetoric urging females to be more careful was "frightening".

She also said it is important to prevent the attitudes that are associated with crimes against women at an early stage and that education is a key tool in tackling these issues.

Teaching children about the dynamics of a healthy relationship from a young age is "vital" according to Dr Bishop, and she says public campaigns could have a positive impact on everyone.

She said: "[Parents] start insisting that their children are educated about the damaging influence of gender stereotypes in schools and it's not just education around the extreme way that women and girls are treated in society but gender stereotypes that we probably see as slightly benign about women's place in society, men being naturally more aggressive and dominant and so on, it's all of those stereotypes that research shows leads to these kind of things happening."

In response to elevated conversations about male violence and toxic masculinity, a movement called 'Not All Men' began to highlight that the majority of men are not violent criminals.

However, Dr Bishop says that it is a problem that affects all women and they do not have the choice to not get involved.

A man from Staffordshire was jailed for life for the murder of 32-year-old Lorraine Cox, who was on her way home from a night out with friends in Exeter.

Her disappearance remained a mystery for more than a week, until police found parts of her body cut into pieces and dumped in bin bags in an alleyway in the centre of Exeter and in woodland a few miles outside of the city.

Azam Mangori, from Stoke-on-Trent, was found guilty of her murder last week, having already admitted preventing her lawful burial.

He appeared at Exeter Crown Court on Wednesday 7 April where he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 20 years.

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