The Murder of Sarah Everard and The Issues Women Face DailyMar 12, 2021
I write this article with sadness in my heart for Sarah Everard.
A woman who was walking home one night.
But who never arrived home.
Her life snatched from her by a man - a Police Officer of all people - who took what was divinely hers.
A woman who walked home because she had nobody to walk with her.
A woman who - like all of us - took a risk to walk home alone.
That she'd make it home alive.
We've all been there.
We've all been there.
Walking home alone.
In the dark.
On our phones talking to a friend or family member for comfort until we get through the front door.
Walking with our keys gripped in our pockets.
Walking under the street lights.
Making sure the roads are well-lit.
Not listening to music or podcasts on our phones at night with earphones in because we have to stay vigilant.
Crossing the road when a dodgy guy - or any man - is walking towards us.
Telling ourselves that we have to keep our wits about us.
Women - how often have you walked home in the dark like this?
And men, how many women do you know who have recounted these numerous situations to you?
For women, sadly, it is not uncommon to walk home alone in the dark and in fear.
Staying vigilant of the noises around you.
Keeping phones and keys to hand.
Just in case.
Choosing the well-lit route to be safer.
This is not ok.
This is not how we should be living our lives.
And sadly - for Sarah Everard - she lost her life.
Not because she did anything wrong.
But because she walked home in the dark. Praying she'd be safe.
My heart aches for her family.
Having their daughter snatched from them so cruelly. By a man. A Police Offcer, of all people.
Sadly, her story is not uncommon.
So many times, women choose to walk home alone.
Leaving a bar.
Or leaving a friend's.
"I'll be ok", we say. "Don't worry about me, I'll text you when I get home".
How many men offer to text their friends or family when they get home?
I'd hazard a guess that this would be next to none.
For women, sadly, it's become second nature for us to offer to text people when we are home.
To show that we are safe once the door is closed behind us, locked, and the lights are on.
Finally, we can breathe again.
The issue lies not with all men.
That would be stupid to suggest that, as some have, that there needs to be a curfew for men.
How ridiculous to tarnish all men with the same dark image as those who actively seek out vulnerable women.
Vulnerable women being those of us who choose to walk home alone in the dark.
Men don't have this same fear.
For men, it would be absurd to suggest that they must walk in fear. That they must stick to well-lit streets. That they must walk directly home and text a friend or family member as soon as they are home and the door is closed and locked behind them.
But for women, sadly, this is our reality.
And it is not uncommon. This has been going on for years upon years.
Every woman has a story about something like this. A story where she didn't feel safe walking home alone.
Last year, I was walking through my city one summer evening.
It had been hot during the day. It was still light. I was wearing shorts.
I walked through a tunnel about half a mile from my home.
As I walked through, I could see a group of 4 young guys at the other end of the tunnel.
My heart skipped a beat immediately.
I knew what would happen. It has happened many times before.
The leering. The abuse. The comments.
Anything for a man to feel like he is in control and that he has the power - and the dominance - over a woman.
As I approached them, my heart quickened.
I've been in this situation far too many times before.
Where a man feels that it is his right - his privilege - to objectify a woman.
The leering started up. The comments.
The usual kind.
Men leering at a woman as a means of intimidating her.
I kept my eyes straight ahead. I was used to this. I knew the drill.
I looked ahead. I refused to look at them as they continued with their leering.
All because I had shorts on. Because it had been a warm day.
Once out of reaching distance of me, I turned and told them all to go fuck themselves.
Then quickened my pace as I exited the tunnel.
This. Shouldn't. Happen.
And sadly this is not the only incident I've experienced like this. There are many.
Like being groped on my breasts and my bottom by men in nightclubs.
Random men who walked up to me and thought that I was simply there to be touched.
It is unacceptable behaviour from men.
From men who feel they have to act all "this and that" in order to appear like macho guys in front of their equally pathetic friends.
But this is the reality that faces women in the UK today.
Perhaps women in other countries too.
But certainly it is a major issue in this country.
Sadly, a woman was raped a few years ago in the same tunnel I was walking through.
Just like that.
No doubt in the middle of the night when walking home from a night out.
This is unacceptable.
Women should not be made to feel scared when they walk home.
Having to resort to messaging friends or family to say we are home safe.
When I worked for the NHS as a Receptionist at a doctor's surgery, some days I would finish my shift after 8pm and have a 55 minute walk home.
I would text my mum when I was home just so she knew I was safe.
Since when did this become the thing to do?
Since when did women have to start texting our mums or friends to say that we were home ok and they could stop worrying?
Since when did mothers, friends and other women start worrying that their daughters or friends wouldn't arrive home ok?
This is not acceptable.
The issue lies with the objectification of women.
With men objectifying women for their own sexual gratification.
With men seeking out porn to satisfy their sexual desires.
With men feeling they have power over women simply because they own a penis.
And, granted, this issue is not with all men.
I accept and acknowledge that.
I have male friends and family members who would in no way act so ghastly towards a woman.
But, sadly, many men do seek to objectify women.
Recent time spent on online dating apps - which I deleted because they bored the fuck out of me and the level of connection with men was so basic - showed me how much men objectify women.
Men who seek to get women off of the dating app - onto the likes of Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp - in order to see photos, videos or video call outside of the rules of the dating app.
Men who want something they cannot have in an instant.
A quick wank through something like WhatsApp via video chat or sharing images which isn't possible on dating apps.
Sure, you can video call people on dating apps.
But you can't send a dick pic on a dating app.
My brief experience on dating apps in the last 2 years has shown me that I really don't want to use them.
Despite having met my now ex-husband on a dating app 14 years ago. Times have definitey changed.
Nowadays, men are quick to want to get off the app onto other social messenger apps.
Because they aren't regulated.
Because they can send dick pics on WhatsApp. Not on Bumble, Hinge, Tinder or Match.
The issue of abuse that women receive on the streets from simply walking home lies with the objectification of women which (some) men think is their right to do.
It is not their right. And it is not ok.
For years, there has been a break down between men and women. A huge divide.
And that divide is getting wider and wider.
Women shouldn't have to live in fear every time we walk home alone at night.
And whilst some will say, "well call a taxi then if you're so scared! Get an Uber!" - the situation is still the same.
Women getting groped, harrassed, abused and even raped in taxis.
Who thought they could exert their power over these women.
I'd rather walk home alone in the dark - knowing I can run super fucking fast - than get a taxi or Uber late at night.
I'd rather walk than be stuck in a car with a random man at night.
That is the reality we live in.
Women choosing to walk home alone rather than be in a car with a random man.
Choosing the lesser of the 2 evils.
At least when you're walking you can scream. Or run.
In a car, you're trapped.
We all know this.
The issue lies with toxic masculinity. With men not being ok with their own masculinity and needing to find a way to exert their control.
It's a power dynamic.
Men feeling that because they have a penis, then they have the upper hand over a woman.
That we are, in some way, the lesser of the 2 sexes.
Even men who ghost women on dating sites after texting for a while are stuck in this toxic masculinity energy.
Thinking that they have the upper hand.
That they get to call the shots when they like.
Nope. Not true.
I've had men message me who have been quiet for months. Who think that they can just pick up where they left off.
That a quick, "hey baby!", will work.
Or sending a dick pic.
Or saying how horny they are. But offering fuck all else.
Wanting naked pictures.
But refusing to actually put energy into the connection.
Sadly, this is becoming all too commonplace.
And yes, men, I know that women can do this too. Raise themselves from the dead as a Zombie Texter.
But, here I'm discussing the men who think that they can objectify a woman.
Seeing her purely as a sexual being who they can exert power and control over in order to inflate their own pathetic egos.
Men who have zero confidence and zero self-worth - so use toxic masculine traits to brush this aside and to take the pressure off of themselves.
Men - it is not ok to objectify women and to taunt us on our own whilst out.
We are not here for your sexual gratification.
We are equal beings.
And we deserve respect.
As for Sarah Everard, my heart goes out to her friends and family having learnt of her murder at the hands of a man who snatched her from the streets.
She should have been safe.
She should have been ok to walk home alone at night.
But sadly, she wasn't.
Perhaps she chose to walk home alone that night because it was better than getting an Uber or a taxi.
I know I feel safer walking rather than being in a car with a strange man.
Whatever her reasons for walking home alone that fateful night, it cost her her life.
A tragic situation that is all too common in modern day Britain.
Of women getting accosted on the streets by men.
Leering. Shouting abuse. Gropping us when they feel like it.
It is not ok.
Women deserve to feel safe wherever we are. Instead of fearing we'll be leered at, raped or murdered.
As tragic as Sarah's story is, I do hope that more can come of it and that there is a turnaround in how men so easily objectify women.
That somehow, there can be a balance between the 2 sexes.
Instead of women having to fear being around a man in case he thinks her too sexual, too overdressed, too underdressed.
The issue is not with what women are wearing or how we go about our lives.
But with the proportion of men who think it's ok to see us purely as sexual objects for their own self-gratification.
It is not ok.
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