After Sarah Everard

Meg Howe on misogyny, and how we do better

Meg Howe
23rd March 2021
Image: louise on Twitter

Content warning: sexual assault

What we are asking for is to feel safe. To feel safe running at night. To feel safe wearing both headphones. To feel safe in my own home, at school or at work.

I was told in school that my skirt was too short, but it was the same skirt, in the same size, that my best friend wore. Yet, because my hips were a tad bit bigger, the skirt was shorter on me. What I’ll fail to understand is why the length of a skirt impacts my education.

“No,” they said, “it stops others from concentrating.”

There is your issue! The issue does not lie with me wearing a short skirt. The issue lies with “others” who are unable to focus on their school work because of the clothes I choose to wear.

Men, I’m asking you to call out your friends

Men, I’m talking to you here. We know it isn’t all of you that sexually assault and murder women, but it is too many! What I ask of you, on behalf of other women, is to call out your friends. Call them out for their sexist comments. Call them out when they ‘accidently’ brush past a woman on a night out. Call them out for their misogyny!

The first time I can remember being sexually assaulted was by a male student at my school. I was 15. He walked quickly passed me and slapped me on the arse. I was 15. He was also 15. I reported this, yet the school did nothing. It was brushed off by the school like it was an everyday occurrence. The sad thing is it probably was!

“He probably just fancies you,” I remember a teacher telling me, “just ignore him.”

Society has conditioned us into thinking that we should take sexual assault as a compliment. We are taught that it is an achievement; something to be proud of.

What needs to change is that society needs to treat women with respect, not as second class citizens, and not as an object that men use for pleasure.

What needs to change is that sons must be educated and sisters must be listened to.

What needs to change is the way the media depicts women’s bodies.

Other women’s reflections on Sarah Everard’s death can be found here and here. Jonathan Mack’s article on why men need to do more, rebuking the #notallmen hashtag, is available here. 

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AUTHOR: Meg Howe
Passionate History student and Educator

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