Amid 'victim shaming' after Sarah Everard's disappearance, it's past time for men to do more about male violence against women – Scotsman comment

In the Commons yesterday, an MP was given special permission to make a speech lasting longer than the usual three-minute limit.

Sarah Everard. Picture: Metropolitan Police/AFP via Getty Images

The reason was to give Jess Phillips the time to read out the names of all 118 women killed by men over the last year. “Killed women are not vanishingly rare. Killed women are common. Dead women do count,” she said.

She added that people were praying the name of Sarah Everard, who is missing while a police officer is being questioned on suspicion of murder, “would never be on any list” and urged people to work to ensure “nobody's name ends up on this list again”.

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Some may regard violence against women as a sad but unavoidable fact of life and this attitude may help explain why Sarah Everard’s disappearance has prompted what Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP described as “disgusting victim shaming”.

But while there probably will be some men who will always be a danger to women, this absolutely does not mean that more cannot be done to make Britain a safer place. Instead, there is considerable work to do.

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Violence against women takes place against a background of abusive and unacceptable behaviour by far too many men.

Just this week, a survey for UN Women UK revealed 97 per cent of women aged between 18 and 24 reported being sexually harassed.

Men who wish to live their lives as decent human beings need to consider that shocking statistic and recognise this is foremost a male problem, rather than a female one, and one they must address.

Many women will have felt the need to modify their behaviour to avoid potentially dangerous or unpleasant situations, for example by changing the route of a regular run or crossing the street to avoid someone who seems to be following them. Men should put themselves in the shoes of women and try to avoid inadvertently causing fear, for example, by crossing the street before causing any alarm.

Criticising the lack of government data on victims of domestic abuse who are killed, take their own lives or die suddenly, Phillips said: “Dead women is a thing we've all just accepted as part of our daily lives.”

Women are standing up and speaking out against male violence against women. It’s time for all good men to join them.

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