The women’s rights activist claimed the flurry of attention on the dating app came after she attended the vigil for Sarah Everard, who was murdered as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, South London on the evening of March 3. Ms Everard, 33 was killed by Met Police Officer Wayne Couzens, 48 who used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to kidnap her in the Clapham area.
At a vigil held in her memory on March 13, protestor Patsy Stevenson, 28, was seen pinned to the ground by police and the images sparked anger due to the nature of repressing a woman’s voice.
Hundreds of women gathered on Clapham Common to pay tribute to Ms Everard, but the event had been cancelled after the Met said it would be illegal under lockdown restrictions that were in place at the time.
Following the gathering, Ms Stevenson says she has had dozens of approaches from police officers and security guards who have “liked” her profile, a move which she views as intimidation.
Utilising her paid-for Tinder Gold subscription, Ms Stevenson was able to view those who had liked her but that the men weren’t able to send her a message unless she agreed to match with them.
When speaking of the “about 50” police officers that have since contacted her via the dating app, Ms Stevenson said she was “terrified”.
She told the BBC: “They were all in uniform on their profiles or it said ‘I’m a police officer’.
“I do not understand why someone would do that. It is almost like an intimidation thing, saying ‘look we can see you’, and that, to me, is terrifying.
“They know what I went through and they know that I’m fearful of police and they’ve done that for a reason.”
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It remains unclear whether the officers had recognised her as the person who was detained at the vigil.
After being handcuffed by officers and held down, Ms Stevenson was also issued with a £200 fine, but has since launched legal action against the Met over the arrest.
Ms Stevenson also marked the occasion as “a turning point”, where “everyone realised we actually we all go through the same things”, but the “sombre atmosphere… turned very scary very quickly” after police started trying to disperse the crowd.
However, Ms Stevenson cited that she had become the focus of internet conspiracies following her arrest and “can’t count the amount of death threats I’ve had”.
She said: “Now there’s always that fear when I’m out and I see someone staring at me. I just want to be able to live the way you live without fear. But then again, I’m a woman.”
She said people had claimed she was a “crisis actor” paid to attend the vigil and get arrested to legitimise attacks on the police.
She added that many of the threats she had received had been about kidnapping her.
Ms Stevenson has said she is not “anti-police” and has reported the threats, which are being investigated, but has not reported the dating app contacts.
Last week, the activist spoke out after Ms Everard’s murderer Wayne Couzens was sentenced to life behind bars for his actions.
She said the police needed to start “taking accountability” for officers’ actions, and voiced her dismay over the advice provided to women by the Met if they have concerns when stopped by an officer.
The advice, including that women should flag down a bus if they feel concerned when approached by a police officer, has been branded “part of the problem” by Ms Stevenson.
She said: “Stop telling women how to change their behaviour just to stay alive.
“If they started looking into it properly and… listening to people’s concerns and then enacting change, we would be able to trust them more.”