Women across the globe have been utterly shocked and terrified by the latest news on Sarah Everard. After the 33-year-old went missing on March 3rd, her story sparked attention as many people searched for the ‘beautiful, strong and incredibly kind’ young woman. Human remains have since been discovered in a woodland area in Kent, though at this early stage police are unable to confirm identity. A Met police officer has been arrested and questioned on suspicion of murder and kidnapping, as well as a separate allegation of indecent exposure.


Why don’t we focus on the men?

As a woman, I am deeply saddened by this horrific news. This story is a chilling reminder of every woman’s fear. Sarah took all the necessary steps women and young girls are constantly urged to take. She took the safest route home, which was busy and well-lit — the same route she had taken hundreds of times before — she wore bright clothing and she called her boyfriend. What more could have she done? Yet some people still blame her.

Women can’t walk home at night without fearing for their lives primarily because of men. Something needs to be done. The blame is constantly shifted back to women, despite us being the victims. Many female Labour MPs have spoken out on this matter. Nadia Whittome, in response to the news heading ‘Almost all young women in the UK have been sexually harassed, survey finds’, tweeted: ‘This should read ‘Men have sexually harassed almost all young women’.

Indeed, gendered violence is constantly addressed passively, without actually calling men out. We often see statements like ’97 per cent of women have been sexually harassed’ or ‘One out of six women will be raped at least once in their lifetime.’ By whom, exactly? Who is sexually harassing and raping all these women? Why are these statistics expressing the vulnerability of women, rather than the danger of men?

Here are some prickly facts:

1 in 3 men would rape if they knew they’d get away with it. (oneinfourusa.org)

1 in 6 men are rapists. (2002, Lisak Study)

Between 60 and 99 per cent of rapes and sexual assault are perpetrated by men. (oneinfourusa.org)

The bigger problem

With the current media focus on sexual harassment, many women have taken this opportunity to share their experiences to draw attention to the bigger problem. In response, many men have asked women how they can help make them feel more comfortable on the streets. Women have asked that men give them distance, cross the road, make their face visible and take a hint if a woman clearly doesn’t want to talk to them. Other suggestions, such as the Green Party’s call for all men to have a 6 p.m. curfew, have also been made. There is still a small proportion of ignorant men arguing that ‘not all men’ fit the ‘male predator’ stereotype. Maybe not all men, but enough men.

Ultimately, the news of Sarah Everard’s frightening disappearance has brought light to an ongoing problem most women face on a day-to-day basis. It’s time we dealt with it — talking clearly isn’t enough.