Sarah Everard case shows men need to take collective responsibility

sarah everard

Sarah Everard, who disappeared in Clapham on March 3. - Credit: Metropolitan Police

EDP reporter Jasper King says the fallout from Sarah Everard's murder has opened his eyes to a number of issues around women's safety - and that it's up to men to change the way women feel on our streets.

The disappearance of Sarah Everard was entirely avoidable, a tragedy for not only her friends and family but for women everywhere.

She was doing everything right, walking down a well-lit street, wearing bright clothing, phoning her boyfriend.

But she was still kidnapped, in London, in the year 2021.

If Sarah was doing everything right, it is time for men to take collective responsibility and make sure our streets feel safe for women.

This starts by talking to male friends, calling out misogyny, troubling behaviour and language in other men.

If social media is anything to go by in recent days, it highlights that verbal and physical abuse systematically still occurs against women in the 21st century. It is still ingrained within our society.

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Whilst not all men harm women, some do. Until men start having conversations amongst other men about women’s safety and consent, issues of abuse women face will not go away.

I have always crossed to the other side of the street if I happen to be walking behind another woman at night.

Until the disappearance of Sarah Everard however, I was ignorant of the fact that for women, a man walking up close behind them is an unrelenting concern that does not go away.

Crossing to the other side of the street, or simply keeping your distance is an easy way to help reduce anxiety for women.

If you are walking behind a woman, do not stay silent or walk closely behind her.

Make your presence known but not through direct communication. Phoning a friend and chatting loudly is the most obvious option.

Offer to walk a female friend home at night, even if you know the route home is safe. Clearly - if they don't want your help, back off!

The reality still is that if a man walks a woman home, she is less likely to be abused or attacked.

This situation can only be changed if men take responsibility and make women feel safe.

Thousands of comments on social media, particularly from men and even other women, questioned why Sarah Everard was walking home alone.

The fact is, women have every right to walk our country’s streets. The responsibility lies with men to make a difference.