Sarah Everard: The onus must not be on women to keep themselves safe. When will men recognise there is a problem?

It is impossible to begin to comprehend what those who knew and loved Sarah Everard are going through.

Handout CCTV dated 03/03/21 taken at 9.34pm issued by the Metropolitan Police of Wayne Couzens (right) and Sarah Everard beside a vehicle outside Poynders Court on Poynders Road, Clapham, south London.
Handout CCTV dated 03/03/21 taken at 9.34pm issued by the Metropolitan Police of Wayne Couzens (right) and Sarah Everard beside a vehicle outside Poynders Court on Poynders Road, Clapham, south London.

The harrowing case details that have emerged this week have shocked a nation.

However, while no one can truly understand the horrors of what they read in the paper or hear on the news, for one group, the fear, anger and devastation from the Sarah Everard case is particularly difficult to comprehend; men.

Prior to the heinous crime, and conversations about the case with female friends and loved ones, how many men can honestly say that they understood and were aware of how at risk so many women felt in society?

I for one was, naively, surprised at how many of my female friends had felt truly vulnerable due to the actions of a man in their life, or how many weren’t as surprised as I would have thought at the news of a woman being killed by a man on the street.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

I have lived with my female partner for four happy years, and have never had a second thought about suggesting an evening walk together, or a quick night time stroll to stretch our legs.

Evening walks, nipping to the shops and more were all things that my partner would do with me, but never on her own.

In my ignorance, I had never truly thought about why.

Read More

Read More
Sarah Everard: Met police officer who raped and murdered Sarah Everard after fal...

Advertisement

Hide Ad

If I am being truly honest, it took until the horrific news about Sarah for me to truly understand.

Like many, following the death of Sarah, I was drawn into discussions about how we could all stay safe, and I found myself consciously changing my behaviour.

Like crossing the road when out on a run if approaching a woman so I did not give the impression of inadvertently following them. I would also try and move off the path if on a narrow street to give anyone approaching me a wider berth and would even remove my facemask or covering if safe to do so.

The Sarah Everard case has led me to address small details, that in all honesty had rarely been at the forefront of my mind.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

I, as a 6 ft 5 male, had never been overly concerned about a potential attack, or a kidnapping or being raped on the street. For me, an evening walk was an excuse to get out of the house, not something that should be almost unthinkable alone at night.

So I would urge males everywhere to talk to their loved ones, friends and more and try to understand the issues.Some still think the simple solution is to emphasise the onus is on women to keep themselves safe rather than calling for men to change.

Following the tragic death of Sarah Everard, we heard messages across the media of how to stay safe, and more accurately, how women could stay safe. Some commentators urged women not to walk by themselves late at night or doing other things that 'put themselves at risk'.

This is part of the problem that we must tackle. Women should not have to change their own behaviours. Men should stop killing women.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Rape Crisis Scotland helpline: 08088 01 03 02

Scottish Women’s Aid helpline: 0800 027 1234