Loved ones of recent metro Atlanta murder victims urged city officials to do more to protect women

Fear among some women is growing right now in metro Atlanta.

They said they're terrified after other women have been killed or attacked in the city.

Tuesday afternoon, loved ones of recent murder victims urged city officials to do more to protect women.

Some of the women out there said they're terrified and feel unsafe, not only because of the recent attacks against other women but also because of their own experiences with sexual violence. 

They really want leaders to be more proactive instead of reactive to these incidents.

"Protect Asian women, protect black women," the crowd chanted. 

It was a call to action Tuesday for Atlanta city leaders.

"Women out here are terrified," Stefania Antonucci, a friend of Mariam Abdulrab and organizer of the event, explained. 

They gathered outside City Hall to express their fears and frustrations over what they believe is a lack of protection for women within metro Atlanta.

"We're not really seeing this issue that is a really big issue for us, we're not really seeing it reflected in policy," Antonucci explained. 

However, there was much talk among many in this group who shared their own stories of gender violence.

"I moved to Atlanta in 2018, and my very first experience here was someone raping me,"  Penelope French said. 

This town hall was organized following the murders of Katie Janness and Abdulrab.

Investigators have arrested Abdulrab's alleged killer.

However, they're still looking for Janness' murderer.

"Don't feel like you have to wait for others to get involved," Abdulrab's brother Ali explained. "Something can be done about this now and every day until this change actually happens."

Loved ones of both victims spoke during this open community discussion.

"Our family friend Darius came up to me at the vigil last week and mentioned a good idea, how people with sexual assault charges should have it shown on their ID," Ali described. 

"Protecting women starts with believing us," another speaker went on the say. 

Other suggestions to protect all women include processing rape kits and evidence faster, streamlining the process for restraining orders, and funding consent-based sex education for young people.

"I want us to remain committed to fighting this. This isn't something that's gonna change overnight or in a week," Antonucci said.

According to the most recent data from Atlanta police, year-to-date they've investigated 109 rapes.

That’s down from 149 in 2019 but up 65% from this time last year.

The city and police department does provide a list of tips and resources on the city's website to help prevent and report sexual assaults.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also plans to invest $70M in a new office that'll help reduce the recent rise in crime including rape.

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