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This Wednesday evening, women joined a socially distanced walk along the route that K had taken with her dog when she was brutally attacked a week earlier.

Keep Hastings safe for women

On Wednesday 10 June, Kay Early, a woman in her 30s was walking her dog in broad daylight when she was brutally attacked by a man in his twenties. If it had not been for her resilience and the intervention of three passing women, she may not have been here to tell her story. The following day she wrote a detailed post on her Facebook page giving her account of what happened and photographing the result of the vicious attack. One week later, women in Hastings followed Kay’s path through Alexandra Park to show their support for her and to reclaim this public space for women to walk in safety. HOT’s Erica Smith caught up with them to tell their story.

Kay showing some of the injuries as a result of the attack

Kay’s detailed description of her attack on 10 June is on her Facebook page. It is quite a horrific story. In brief, she was walking her dog in broad daylight when the attack happened. She was aware that a man was behind her on the path, and getting closer as her dog kept stopping and sniffing along the path between between Harmers Pond and Shornden Reservoir. She moved in to the verge in order to let the man pass at a safe 2 metre distance, but he walked right behind her and when she turned towards him, he began a vicious attack.

Fortunately, three women who were walking along the path towards K intervened and the attacker ran away. They called the police and the man was identified and arrested. Unfortunately he has been released on bail which is a terrifying thought for Kay and any other woman who uses Alexandra Park or walks on her own, with or without a dog, in Hastings and St Leonards.

Some of the women and dogs who reclaimed Alexandra Park one week after the brutal attack on K

Local resident Susie, who has also been the victim of an unprovoked attack, was so horrified by Kay’s story that she decided to organise a walk following in her footsteps to show solidarity for Kay and other solitary women who use the park.

Susie said “women are feeling very spooked, including me. When I walked my dog alone this morning … every man without a dog that I met sends my heart rate up… one man came over to me.. he just wanted a light… but I felt a nervousness I wouldn’t normally have at 9.30am. It makes me very angry that I’ve been made to feel like this!”

Comments from other women on the walk include:

“I came to show solidarity and support to my mum and two of my sisters (who helped Kay), and to Kay herself. Thanks for organising it!” – Grace

“I refuse to let that vile man ruin my love of our park, it may mean that for the foreseeable future I’ll only walk there if in company until he is locked up. Take care wonderful women.” Wendy

“Lovely walk with a bunch of equally lovely women and pooches. Thank you Susie. Kay you were there with us all the way.” Catrina

“Thanks for organising this evening everyone – it was lovely to meet you all and reclaim the park for Kay and all of us ladies.” Rachel

If anybody has any information which would help police with their enquiries, please contact Sussex Police on 101.

Posted 11:56 Tuesday, Jun 23, 2020 In: Campaigns

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