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How Sarah Everard’s Case Shines Light on the Wider Significance of Police Brutality and Violence Against Women

Police brutality strikes yet again…

We protested about it in honour of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement last year. And now we must continue to stand up against violence yet again in solidarity of Sarah Everard. When will society learn from its mistakes? When will the police brutality end? When will all people be safe to simply walk on the streets without fear?

As many of you will know, Sarah Everard was brutally kidnapped and murdered by a police officer. If there is any more of an indication that society and the justice system has failed us, it is that those in positions of authority are corrupt and abuse their power. Who can we trust and turn to in times of protecting our own safety, when some of our own police officers could be the potential criminals?

Some mainstream media outlets such as the well known sensationalist tabloid, Daily Mail, has made light of the movement following Sarah’s death. One article claimed that: ‘Sarah’s Everard’s friend says “her tragic death has been hijacked” by people “blaming men or police for the actions of one individual”.

Yet what articles like this fail to recognize is that Sarah’s story is sadly not an isolated incident. Besides, they’ve got the narrative all wrong! The #ReclaimTheseStreets and #Shewasjustwalkinghome movements and vigils are NOT about blaming all men or all police officers. It’s about raising awareness of the many cases of violence and mistreatment towards women that have occurred and are still happening today. It’s about coming together as a society, both men and women, to condemn and hold those responsible for them accountable.

Yes it is true that Sarah’s name, much like George Floyd’s, has become a symbol of much larger, systemic issues prevalent within our society. But her death and the sparked global outrage that has emerged as a result of it has also allowed thousands of similar cases to be brought to the forefront of our public attention.

Blessing Olusegun is another example of an ‘unexplainable’ case in which a black woman went missing and was found dead on Glyne Gap Beach in Bexhill-on-Sea.

Moira Jones was abducted, raped and murdered back in 2008.

And many will know the case of Breonna Taylor after the #SayHerName campaign, especially given the recent anniversary of her death and how she was also a victim of police violence after being shot dead in her home.

According to the Femicide consensus, a comprehensive UK database of the deaths of women killed by men…

“On average a woman is killed by a man every 3 days.”

And if that statistic isn’t enough to alert you to the gravity of the situation, these three figures should:

62% of all women killed by men (888/1,425) were killed by a current or former partner.
At least 34% of women killed had children under 18 years of age.
A history of abuse was known in 59% of 1,042 femicides committed by current or former partners or other male relatives.

I think what was even more shocking and baffling about the events that have occurred over the past few days was how the police then chose to react to the vigils of Sarah Everard. They handled what was a vigil of a woman that was violently killed by a police officer, with get this, more violence. There were so many videos and photographs circulating on social media that showcased women being pushed around, pinned to the ground and arrested by Metropolitan Police officers.

All I can say is that this March has certainly been one crazy time for Women’s History Month. But at least we can say March truly has been one big #March4Women because all of the events that have occured have given women the chance to speak up about women’s issues and experiences.

Every woman I know, myself included, can share personal stories of times they have felt unsafe or afraid because of men, whether that be from cat-calling, long stares or having to walk anywhere at night. Anyone of us could have been in Sarah’s situation and that’s why we ALL need to stand up against police brutality and male violence to stop this kind of thing from happening again.

Enough is enough.

 

References:

https://www.femicidecensus.org/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/mar/14/cases-like-everards-not-incredibly-rare-police-must-admit-it

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9367631/Sarahs-Everards-friend-says-tragic-death-hijacked.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-56414694

 

British Muslimah. Intersectional feminist. Cynical Hufflepuff. Professional cat-lover. Shaheena is an English Literature student with a passion for social activism. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, reading and watching cartoons/animes. Her top fandoms include: Avatar (atla), Ghibli, Disney, Harry Potter, Marvel, Doctor Who & Sherlock.
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