A SCHOOL has lifted its ban on revealing clothes in an attempt to tackle victim blaming over the murder of Sarah Everard.
Year 6 pupils at Putney High School in south-west London are allowed to wear their own clothes, but have so far been told they must be ‘dressed reasonably’.
The rules previously stated that no midriffs, bare shoulders and ripped clothes should be worn at the £19,000-a-year school – excluding strappy tops and short skirts.
The guidelines will, however, be scrapped from next month in a bid to help change the way society views the causes of sexual harassment.
Putney High School principal Suzie Longstaff said it was the murder of Sarah Everard, 33, in London earlier this year that sparked the change.
“It was very motivated by the death of Sarah Everard,” she told the Telegraph.
“Putney Secondary School is located quite close to Clapham so it really impacted the pupils.”
Ms Longstaff said many of her sixth alumni attended the Clapham Common vigil for Miss Everard, a marketing executive who was raped and killed by an off-duty police officer.
They then asked the school to review dress guidelines “in light of the death of Sarah Everard, as the nuance and narrative has changed in modern dress code language”.
Victim blaming in this context is the suggestion that a woman sexually assaulted herself because of the way she was dressed or by her behavior.
“It’s about women’s safety, and instead of saying ‘you can’t wear these clothes’, it’s actually about focusing on society and making society safer,” added Ms. Longstaff.
The principal also hopes the relaxation of dress code rules, which mean girls can wear strappy tops, crop tops and shorts during the summer months, will help them feel more comfortable.
She explained, “If you scold a student for their uniform, is it because of their body shape?”
The principal said the changes made by her school were not due to the Everyone Invited movement, in which thousands of anonymous testimonies of sexual harassment were made by pupils.
Rather, his policy is part of a broader change.
“It’s about society finding its way into the new normal, post-Sarah Everard, post-Everyone’s Invited, with what’s the right language to use around attire and expectations?”
Sarah Everard disappeared in south London in March on her way home from a friend’s house.
Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Unit, later pleaded guilty to her murder.