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Person Writing

Sarah Everard- A conversation starter.

Sarah Everard

A conversation starter!

Even though these situations are spoken about, it should not have taken this poor girl’s death for it to become such a trending topic. Let’s start with some statistics. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only 5 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. An investigation by UN Women UK found that 97% of women in the UK aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, with a further 96% not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anything. Approximately 85,000 women are raped and over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. If these statistics don’t scare you, they should.

Not all men. That’s the infamous line that is spreading around at the moment. I agree, not all men are disgusting enough to commit sexual assault or rape. Not all men are the reason women are taught to walk with keys in between their fingers, and keep their phone locations on whilst walking at night. But I suggest a retaliation. Not all men. But all women. As stated about 97% of women in the UK have experienced some form of sexual assault or harrasment. That means that your mum, your sister, your friendly neighbour and your grandmother, has probably been through this ordeal at least once in their lives. Think about how angry you would be, if a loved one came and told you that they have been sexually assaulted. Now imagine that you couldn't do anything to stop their pain because nobody else believed you. That’s a woman’s life. We fear speaking up, because it most likely won't go anywhere or change the result, the result being we are hurt both physically and mentally.

Sarah Everard disappeared in South London. Living at the time in London's Brixton Hill area, she went missing after leaving a friend's house near Clapham Common to walk home. She walked across the common, along the A205 South Circular Road whilst she spoke to her boyfriend on her mobile phone for about fifteen minutes and agreed to meet him the next day. He contacted the police on 4 March after she did not meet him. At 16:20 on 10 March, police searching Hoad's Wood, found human remains in a large builder's bag. Through dental records, this was later discovered to be Sarah.

Now, even though it is still unknown whether she was sexually assaulted before she was killed, this story brought to light the struggle of women. She hadn’t previously known the police officer who ended up killing her, she wasn’t drunk or dressed provocatively, even though none of these things would justify murder. She has just left a friend’s to walk home, and she never made it there.

The commotion of the male public began when Hannah Bardell, representative for Livingston and the SNP’s spokeswoman on international engagement, retaliated to a comment made by a fellow MP urging women to not go out after dark. Hannah Bardell suggested that A NIGHT-TIME curfew banning men from the streets after 6pm should be considered in areas where women have been killed. Men swarmed the internet and every social media platform to show their concerns, creating the whole ‘Not all men’ stupidity.

Hannah Bardell responded to the uproar, “If the notion of a curfew on men because a very small few behave so badly is so abhorrent to you, stop for a second and think about all the times women have had their freedoms limited or been told to stay indoors because of a violent man. I don’t want anyone to have to stay inside because of the actions of a few — let’s not forget much of the violence against women occurs inside and at home — but we may well be at the stage where we need to discuss all the options, even the ones that sound a bit wacky.” This concept seems to have been lost. Not all men, you are correct, but enough of them.

My question to the men out there is simple. Think back to when you were a teenager. At school, joking around with your mates. Did you ever, even for a second, objectify a female? Joke about their outfits, or lie in order to impress them. Did you ever feel pressured to lose your virginity, whilst women are told they are impure if they lay with a man? As a child, were you ever told to pull a girl’s pigtails and be mean to her to show her you like her? That’s what I thought.

Women know there are good men out there. We aren’t trying to extinguish the male kind. We just want to be safe. And the numbers show that the majority of sexual assaults are performed by men.

Fix the majority first, and then the minors.

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