On March 3, 2021, Sarah Everard went missing in South London while walking home from a friend’s house. On March 9, Wayne Couzens, a police officer, was arrested on suspicion of her murder. On March 10, her remains were found and he was charged with kidnapping and murder.
Many women find the prospect of walking anywhere at night to be intimidating and honestly very scary. Violence against women is a real threat to women everywhere and makes tasks, such as walking and travel, much more dangerous. Almost every girl I know on my college campus carries some sort of device to protect themselves on their keys, whether it is pepper spray, an alarm, or they have to rely on their car keys for self-defense. However, no one ever thinks that they may have to use it on a police officer. Whenever I see a police officer, my first instinct is that they are there to protect us from bad guys, but it can be hard to believe that they are the bad guys and there will be no one to protect us from them.
Sarah Everard did everything right when faced with no choice but to walk home at night. She wasn’t out late, took well-lit streets, and even spoke to her boyfriend on the phone. Although walking alone at night is not ideal, she did what every woman is told to do to make themselves feel safe, but she didn’t ever get home. Doing all the right things can’t protect you from men like Wayne Cousens.
Growing up, I never understood how a police officer, the epitome of good and lawfulness could be a threat to me. However, I remember vividly being told by an adult that if a police officer should ever pull me over never to get off the main road or pull into an alley. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend the idea that someone involved in enforcing the law could ever want to hurt me.
Although Sarah Everard’s death was the result of a police officer in London, it still speaks volumes about the violence women face, even at the hands of those we think we can trust. Her death sparked feelings of anger in women everywhere similar to that of the #MeToo movement. Many women have taken to social media to share their own experiences and to encourage men to do their part to hold themselves and other men accountable for their actions that cause women to feel unsafe.
At the end of the day, we as women have to be there to look out for each other in whatever way we can. Don’s let your friends walk anywhere alone at night, don’t let them leave with a guy they don’t know, and keep tabs on each other’s locations. In a world where we don’t know who we can trust, we have to protect each other from the dangers facing women.