Sainsbury’s has apologised for a clothing advert that was heavily criticised online for appearing to ignore women’s safety.
The supermarket said it had axed the in-store poster, which features a woman wearing a £24 wrap dress and reads “For walks in the parks or strolls after dark”.
Social media users pointed out that walking in the dark has proven to be dangerous and deadly for women in the past.
In a viral tweet, which has been viewed more than two million times, Nathalie Gordon wrote: “If you’re a person who likes walking/strolling at night and feel safe doing so, I’m genuinely happy for you.
“But please don’t have a go at people who don’t feel the same.”
She continued: “There are a lot of well documented studies, reports and research that has been done around the safety of women. If you feel like they do not represent your lived experience, then you are lucky.”
One of the many users who replied to Ms Gordon’s tweet said: “A man wrote that, for sure.”
Another added: “Yeah no not happening. I’ve skipped my last train home and made my husband pick me up cos Trainline had me walking a mile in the dark on my todd from one station to another. Let alone strolling in a park in the dark!!”
In response to the backlash, the supermarket told Sky News: “We’re sorry that due to the design, some customers found this sign to be inappropriate and are working to remove these from store.
“We’ll work hard with our agency partner to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
A recent report by the Office for National Statistics found that women feel more unsafe than men across all settings after dark.
The disparity was greatest “in a park or other open space”, where 82% of women reported feeling very or fairly unsafe, compared with 42% of men.
Several women have been killed while walking in the dark in recent years.
Zara Aleena, a 35-year-old law graduate, was murdered in June last year as she walked home in Ilford, east London.
Jordan McSweeney, a serial offender, was jailed for her murder in December.
The year before, Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was kidnapped near Clapham Common in south London and murdered by Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer.
Couzens was sentenced to life in prison with a whole life order in September 2021.
That month, Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old primary school teacher, was murdered in a London park while on her way to meet a friend.
Koci Selamaj struck her 34 times over the head with a metal traffic triangle in Cator Park, Beckenham.
The garage worker, 36, was jailed for life for her murder in April last year.