On March 3, 33-year-old Sarah Everard of London was walking home from a friend’s house and disappeared. Her remains were found a week later. According to the New York Times, Everard walked a “well-lit and populated” street, “wore bright clothes and shoes she could run in” and even phoned her boyfriend. It was only 9 p.m. She took all the precautions women do for their own safety, yet she still didn’t make it home. How did this happen? What went wrong?
Everard’s disappearance and murder sparked global outrage as her story spread. Two days after her body was discovered, it was officially announced that the man responsible for her death was none other than a Metropolitan police officer, which only added more fuel to the fire.
In the wake of these alarming events, many women took to Twitter to share their own personal encounters and thoughts regarding women’s safety. Of course, other people soon joined the conversation, bringing up the “not all men” defense. The thread started transitioning from a place for women to share their stories and spread information into a heated debate.
Because the movement isn’t about “all men.” That is not the point. The point is that there are too many men. There are too many men who don’t have women’s best interest at heart, which is exactly what actor and activist Jameela Jamil took to Twitter to express.
“It’s true that not all men harm women. But do all men work to make sure their fellow men do not harm women?”Jamil tweeted
“Do they interrupt troubling language and behavior in others? Do they have conversations about women’s safety/consent with their sons?”
What Comes Next?
Women are extra careful when it comes to their safety and it’s still not enough. This is a terrifying concept because . . . what more are women supposed to do?
While there is, unfortunately, no quick solution to solving women’s safety and ending violence against women, there is something that can be done that will finally start to change the narrative.
Educate. Educate. Educate.
It’s the men’s turn to step up and speak up. Women have tried and women have died. How many more? The questions Jamil posed hold true. Do men ensure other men are not a threat to women? Do they step in when witnessing harmful behavior by other men? Conversations need to be held and information needs to be taught.
For so long, women have heard that they are “asking for it” or that they do things that somehow make them valid targets. End slut-shaming. End victim-blaming. “Cover up more” and “don’t walk alone at night.” Why must women, the ones being attacked, murdered and raped, be oppressed in order to feel safe? Why aren’t the offenders being told they need to change and do things differently? Women should not have to live in fear. Women should not have to take certain precautions and still end up hurt.
Everard is just one recent example out of many who did “all the right things,” yet she still didn’t make it home.
She was only walking home.
Say her name. Sarah Everard deserved to come home and so does every woman.