As soon as the news of the disappearance of Sarah Everard came on the TV my heart sank as I am sure did most women’s. It was perhaps just a matter of time before we would hear that this missing woman became one of the three women a week killed by men in UK. A number, as horrific as it sounds, which has not reduced during the 30 years I have been representing victims and survivors.
As females we seem to have an inherent ability to risk assess every situation we are in or anticipate being in. Some of us have been taught techniques in attempting to lessen the risk, some have learnt along the way.
During the weekend I heard that in a survey, men’s worst fear of women was being laughed at. The same survey concluded that women’s worst fear of men was being murdered by them.
From a young age, girls are taught not to go out alone, in the dark or at all. They are taught not to wear certain clothes or look a certain way. These things will apparently protect them from being murdered or abused. How many boys are told not to harm or murder women and girls I wonder?
I think all women I know can tell of some type of harassment, verbal abuse, groping, cat calling or much worse that they have experienced from men. It is perhaps therefore not surprising that being vigilant and on high alert from an early age comes almost naturally to most of us.
It appears that Sarah Everard obeyed all the rules. She wore bright clothing, and she was on the telephone to keep in touch. Her efforts however did not save her.
Until men stand up and accept they need to stop sexually assaulting women, stop harassing them, stop stalking them and stop killing them, the figure of three dead women per week will not decrease.
Abuse in any form is never okay. There is never an excuse. If you feel you are at risk of abuse or are being abused please seek help; be that from a friend, family member, solicitor or support organisation. Do whatever you can to help keep yourself safe. Even if at the current time you decide to take no action you will be able to access advice and information so that we can be in a stronger position. Please do all you can to avoid being part of the horrific statistics.
Everyone at Biscoes sends their deepest condolences to Sarah’s family and friends.
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