Nearly two weeks later, the world is still reeling from the death of Sarah Everard. The 33 year-old marketing executive from the United Kingdom was kidnapped and subsequently murdered on a walk home from her friend’s. A few days later, police officer Wayne Couzens was charged with the crime. The very person who was supposed to keep Sarah and others safe from the evil that lurked on the street ended up being that very evil himself. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. This fact makes my blood run cold. If this violence gets to the point where we can’t trust the people meant to keep us safe, who do we have to protect us at the end of the day?
Even though this tragedy occurred halfway across the world, the shockwaves of it are being felt all across the globe. The important matter of women’s safety is yet again at the forefront of everyone’s mind as it serves as a harsh reminder that this case is only one of many that happen every day.
Sarah Everard did everything right. She walked home through one of the most populated, well-lit areas of her city. She did everything that we, as young women, are taught at an early age to keep ourselves safe on the streets. Yet, even that wasn’t enough.
As a woman in college, safety has always been a top priority. My entire life, my parents have been warning me of the dangers that exist out on the streets late at night and have tried to prepare me as best as they could to protect myself when they wouldn’t be there to protect me anymore.
I do my best when it comes to this. My friends and I share our locations through Find My Friends so we can always track where the others are in case something goes wrong. We carry pepper spray. We text our friends the details of where we’re going, who we’re going with, and what time we’re going. We ask people to walk us home at night. We only take the well-lit and busy streets. We always make them text us when they get home safely.
However, it isn’t enough.
Any woman you ask, young or old, will have a story to share about harassment, abuse, or violence that they’ve experienced. Every woman carries the weight of having to constantly be hyper-vigilant of their surroundings and suspicious of every stranger they pass on the street. Many of my friends have even had to go as far as to faking phone calls or dodging into stores to shake off a stranger on their trail.
This case has unleashed feelings that women have been holding in for a long time, enraged that no matter what we do, we will always be in danger just for being a woman. We have the right to be mad and angry that we can’t walk home safely at night. It’s something that we shouldn’t think twice about doing, but ask any woman about their plans to get home and they’ll tell you a long list of precautions they take.
However, until there is either an enormous social shift in the way that men believe that they can continue getting away with these heinous crimes and horrible treatment of women or governmental intervention with heightened security measures such as better lighting and more CCTV footage, I’m afraid that the safe community we dearly desire is extremely far out in our future.
Until then, please make sure to text me when you get home.