Why Is No One Talking About What Happened To Blessing Olusegun?
Police deemed her death as “not suspicious.” So why don’t we have answers?
At 6.20am on the 18th September 2020, the body of 21-year-old Blessing Olusegun was found on a beach in East Sussex. And today, over a year and a half later, media coverage on the case is next to non-existent. Still no one knows what happened. Why?
The business student, who was staying in Bexhill on a 1-week placement as a carer for elderly people with dementia and mental health issues, was last seen on CCTV footage at around 1am as she walked down to the beach. She had sent text messages to her close friend and boyfriend, asking to stay on the phone while she walked, as she was unable to sleep. It appears no calls were made as she later texted “nevermind” at around 01.25am. This was her last message.
There are conflicting reports of Blessing’s autopsy results. Allegedly, Blessing’s family were informed by the coroner that the results came back inconclusive, and a precise cause of death was not identified. Other reports claim the police say the autopsy showed that Blessing drowned. What is the truth?
A resurgence of interest in Blessing’s case has been catalysed by the death of Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old who went missing on 3 March in South London. Her body was found a week later in woodland in Kent. Although the cases have chilling similarities – both women were walking at night and communicating with their boyfriends – the handling of the cases by police and the media couldn’t be more different.
The police ruled Blessing’s death as unexplained but not suspicious, and the case hardly garnered any media coverage. Sarah Everard’s case has made headline news, with the public updated every step of the way. It sparked national outrage, protests and conversations about women’s safety in the UK. Many had not even heard about Blessing before Sarah. Once again, we’re met with a stark contrast. Why has it taken the death of a white woman for renewed interest into that of a Black woman? Why was Blessing’s case treated as if it never happened? As if she was never a person with value and worth?
Downing Street has since announced a series of new measures to keep women safer on Britain’s streets, including £45 million towards better lighting and better CCTV. Plain clothes police officers are also expected to patrol bars and nightclubs. (But who will protect us from the police?) Although we hope these measures will make a difference, it’s failing to tackle the actual problem. It’s deterring offenders from offending in case they get caught, not deterring offenders from offending because it’s wrong. It’s not teaching awareness nor educating men, it’s ramping up the threat of consequences. Unless the foundations are shattered, we cannot achieve true change. And we won’t stop using our voices until we get there.
Sign the petition for justice for Blessing Olusegun here.