Our thanks to Nigel for this. He writes:
This piece gave me pause for thought. The relatives query why the mysterious death of Julia James hadn’t attracted the attention of vigils, protests, statements in the House of Commons, visits by Duchesses to light candles in solidarity. The question entered my head in part because Josiah Norman had died on a colleague’s drive on 21st April.
Few readers will know of Josiah. He was a 17-year-old boy run over and stabbed mid-evening in Salford. Got into the local news, but that’s it. Another statistic in the steady stream of stabbings, which occasionally get noted as a cumulative number. Unlike Sarah Everard there’s only a short story in local newspapers and local radio news, while Everard’s case was so taken up by media, politicians, celebrities and royalty that friends and family actually asked them all to back off.
So it isn’t that surprising that the family of a woman found dead in the same county is somewhere in between Sarah and the barely-noticed Josiah. There is, it seems, a hierarchy of concern and compassion. According to many its “gender”, Sarah symbolised an “epidemic” of male violence against women (despite even the painfully PC Police Chief pointing out it was an “incredibly rare” event) but Julia James was also a woman?
Doesn’t Josiah’s death point to a genuine concern in the spread of knife crime, sadly not “incredibly rare”? Though it is possible Julia’s assailant was a woman, all assumptions are it was a man, but maybe the wimmin’s lobby are just hedging their bets, in case the assailant was in fact female. Maybe sympathy is a little less forthcoming because Julia was a PCSO, but surely a good excuse for a Duchess to light a candle for a loyal public servant?
Could it be that being a married family woman, recently a grandmother, makes her less worthy of attention? Or possibly that despite her family believing she is beautiful, a 50+ grandmother is just less attractive than a 30-year-old single woman with a great career ahead of her? Or, dare one say it, the absence of a sexual aspect to the crime gives little room for prurience? Or maybe that Sarah Everard was just like so many of those in media; university educated, metropolitan, promising career, single, healthy and attractive. Take your pick.
At the same time as the nation noticed Julia, another Josiah died in a London borough and I don’t suppose anyone in his family even considered the question asked by Julia James’s relatives. Because we don’t, do we?
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