By Olivia Martin | Social Media Editor
Every girl knows the universal women’s safety protocol. Don’t walk alone at night. Put your keys between your knuckles in case you need a weapon. Always have pepper spray ready. Wear something bright. Don’t wear anything too scandalous. Tell someone your whereabouts and even call someone if you do end up walking alone. And always be aware of your surroundings, even during the daytime.
For Sarah Everard, this was not enough. Her tragic murder that took place on March 3, 2020, has left women all over the globe feeling angry, heartbroken and desperate for change. I am one of those women, and I am here to say that ending violence against women is not something that can be pushed off any longer. It should not take a horrible situation such as this to cause people to finally be aware of the injustices occurring in our world, and yet time and time again that continues to happen. From the death of George Floyd to the killing of six Asian women last week in Atlanta, it has taken the most extreme and heart-wrenching situations to show people that injustice, inequality and racism are real and happening every single day.
Everard did all the things women are told to do. She was on the phone with her boyfriend while walking home at night from her friend’s house in a well-lit London neighborhood. She was wearing bright clothing, and more than one person knew her whereabouts. And yet, Edwards was abducted and murdered by a 48-year-old cop who was arrested and charged on March 12, 2020. Since this incident took place, there have been protests all over the world of women who are not only infuriated and tired of feeling unsafe, but tired of men not being held accountable for violence against women.
The hashtag #NotAllMen has been trending around the world these past weeks after the death of Everard as some people have felt that the pleas from women for men to take responsibility and take action to do better are too accusatory. Some feel the need to say that “it’s not all men” who do these bad things to women.
However, these arguments are invalid. No woman actually believes that every single man in the entire world is violent or abusive or a harasser of women. Just as the phrase, “All Lives Matter” makes black people unheard and completely misses the point of the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” the phrase “Not All Men” not only makes women feel unheard, but completely takes away from the original outcry of women wanting to feel safer.
Did you know that in the UK 97% of young women have been sexually harassed? In the same study, researchers found that nine out of 10 women in cities around the world feel unsafe in public spaces. This is a global issue. This is affecting every single woman in every single place around the world. And it has taken a murder of a 33-year-old woman who had an entire future and life ahead of her for the world to wake up and realize that it’s not all men, but it is every woman.
Every woman has a story. It doesn’t matter how extreme, every woman has felt unsafe at one point in their life because of a man. I can think of numerous times that I have felt extremely afraid or uncomfortable because of a certain situation where a man made me feel unsafe in public. It happens all the time. Ask one of your female friends if you don’t believe me.
If you are a male, and you are reading this, please educate yourself on ways to help make women feel more safe. There may be things you are doing on accident that you don’t even realize are affecting women around you. Take time to check in with the women in your life and ask them what you can do to make them and other women feel safer. Here is a simple article on ways men can be more conscientious in helping women feel safer.
My heart hurts for all the women in my own life who I know personally have gone through traumatic experiences involving men and harassment. My heart hurts for Everard’s family and friends who loved her dearly. My heart hurts for the millions of women who feel unsafe and unequal every single day because of men. As a society, we need to do better at hearing the cry of those who are hurting, so please hear me out when I say that the violence against women needs to stop.
#NotAllMenButAllWomen #TextMeWhenYouGetHome #ReclaimTheStreets