Sarah Everard was a 33 year old UK woman who went missing while walking home in early March. Her body was found last week, and a London policeman has been charged with her murder. While abductions and murder of women is relatively rare in places like the UK (not so much in other parts of the world), Everard’s death has been a touchpaper that has ignited the ever present anger in women at having to live in a world that is fundamentally unsafe for them simply on the basis of their sex.
Every woman you know has taken a longer route.
Has doubled back on herself.
Has pretended to dawdle by a shop window.
Has held her keys in her hand.
Has made a fake phone call.
Has rounded a corner and run.
Every woman you know has walked home scared.
Every woman you know.
— Harriet Johnson (@HarrietEJohnson) March 10, 2021
That men seem largely unaware of the daily reality for women, or largely unconcerned, is part of the fuel for the anger. In case it’s not clear, it’s not that women generally believe we will be murdered, it’s that the widespread violence against women in society on many levels keeps us in a state of apprehension that directly affects how we behave and how we live our lives. For some women it’s direct, for some women it’s background, but the ground we live on is a society that sanctions violence against us.
Women organised a vigil for Sarah Everard this weekend, and were denied permission by the police on covid grounds. Women went anyway. The vigil turned into a showcase of the dynamics of male violence, with men protestors centering themselves, and the police overreacting to the vigil and taking direct, violent action against the women.
And we all know if a young man from a London estate was shot dead by the police and his friends/family wanted to hold a vigil, they would never violently disperse it in this fashion. They know they'd have riots. But someone in the Met made the calculation women won't fight back.
— Jimmy Rushton (@JimmySecUK) March 13, 2021
— Rambling Raconteur (@RambleRaconteur) March 14, 2021
This is how police treated football fans literally days ago! Why are football fans gathering illegally in the middle of a pandemic treated with more respect that women voicing their right not to be assaulted or murdered! #reclaimthesestreets #SarahEverard https://t.co/rubdAJ865K
— laura ✨ (@folklorefairies) March 13, 2021
Cressida Dick has serious questions to answerpic.twitter.com/d1jjLeOxF0
— Jono Read (@jonoread) March 13, 2021
I have to question why there is a man standing at the front shouting through a megaphone at a predominantly women’s vigil. Perhaps if the men had stayed away this would have remained more peaceful. https://t.co/YmFZuKI1RK
— I am Groot #womenwontwheesht #KPSS💜⚪️💚 (@mearnsgal) March 14, 2021
Just left #ReclaimTheseStreets vigil. I went to connect with women in our shared grief but it was ruined by men’s behaviour — the man who occupied stage with megaphone who wouldn’t leave, photographers + cameramen inches away, refusing to stop and chatting through minute silence.
At an event to honour murdered women and stand against male harassment and violence, men *still* managed to centre themselves, ignore our demands for space and boundaries, and ogle us as we cried and laid flowers. Staggered by the arrogance and disrespect. Just fucking grim.
There’s a lot to understand here, including the underlying dynamic of a white woman’s death getting so much attention when the deaths of women of colour often remain ignored. The background tensions of a year of the pandemic where women are losing ground across society in terms of employment/income and increased violence from men, are fusing into the increasing stressors of a world on the brink of multiple crises. There’s always a thin veneer between the gains we have made in the past and the largely unresolved male violence that some men do and most men won’t stop. Women know what’s coming and we know what will happen to us, is already happening to us.
Liberal feminism, for all the reprieves it gives us, won’t save us, and neither will male dominated left wing politics. If you’re pissed, or scared, or both, please find other women to talk to and organise with. Women hold many solutions to what is happening in the world, and we’re at our best when we come together, talk about women’s business, and then find the ways to power that enable us to act in the world.
UK, Reclaim the Night marches, protests started in response to murders by brutal male serial killer & authorities reaction, blaming female victims' lifestyles & their use of public spaces, putting a curfew on women, instead of addressing male violence. Women fought back. pic.twitter.com/qk60EoTcZz
— #WOMENSART (@womensart1) March 11, 2021
Mod note: comments open to women only under this post. If you don’t understand why, reread the post. If you still don’t understand, then sit this one out and listen.