Sarah Everard, and the position of women

Sophie Wilson shares her thoughts after Sarah Everard’s death

Sophie Wilson
23rd March 2021
Image: louise on Twitter

Content warning: assault

We, as women, have been placed in a position of fear for centuries. Historically, we have been told we are weaker, inferior, less intelligent and more vulnerable than men. As such, society has developed the narrative that women are easily manipulated, hurt and abused. 

But what does this mean for women living their everyday lives?

In short, it means we live every day like we could get killed there and then. When we walk home, we hold the keys between our fingers in case of an attack. When we get a taxi, we send the number plate to our siblings in case we do not make our destination. When we go for a night out, the first thing we think about is “how am I going to get home?”

There are too many ways that we have to protect ourselves to mention here. I’m sure that even women will be surprised by how much they subconsciously do to look after themselves. It curtails our fun, it fuels our anxiety and, of course, it takes a toll on our mental health. 

I have had so many men reach out to me and tell me that I can call them if I ever walk home alone and need someone to talk to. This restores my faith in the human race, knowing that out there are caring and considerate people who genuinely care about the wellbeing of others. I do not want to write this article and condemn all men to the awful status of perpetrator. All I want to do is to make women feel safer so that we can live our lives to the full. If we want to travel alone, we should not be scared. If we want to walk home alone, we should not be scared. If we want to get a taxi home, we should not be scared of the doors being locked and being kidnapped, or worse. 

All we want is change. To receive it, we need to educate those around us. 

With the lovely offers for a phone call at night from my male friends have also come comments like “I had no idea you were so scared to walk home alone”, or “do you really walk with your keys between your fingers?” The answers to all of these questions are being let out into the open recently, and for those who are listening to us, thank you. 

But to feel real change, we need everybody to listen! Every man who thinks that walking too close behind a woman at night is funny, every man who likes to rub close to girls in a club, every man who ever goes near a woman needs to know. 

Thank you for those who are actively helping us, but we need to do more. 

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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