Home Modern LifeNews Stories “Text Me When You Get Home” (Said No Guy to Another). #SarahEverard

“Text Me When You Get Home” (Said No Guy to Another). #SarahEverard

by Prabs
Published: Last Updated on

Another senseless murder of a woman with her whole life ahead of her.  Another family devastated by the grief of inexplicable loss.  The abduction and killing of Sarah Everard has rightly sparked an outcry from women and women’s organisations. Decades of male violence towards women and legal systems that don’t take femicide seriously enough are bringing us to a tipping point.  How many MORE females are to have their lives ripped from them by a male?  How many more generations of women must be taught to grip their keys between their fingers as a weapon, stay away from bushes or lock the car doors quickly?

Once again, women have taken to social media, this time with #TextMeWhenYouGetHome, #SheWasWalkingHome #ReclaimTheStreets and #YesAllWomen to express their anger as well as share their own terrifying experiences, following the death of Sarah Everard. Yet there are those – and by ‘those’ I mean men – who simply refuse to acknowledge or understand the very real threat that women face every time they step out of their house (let’s not forget we’re often not safe inside our homes either).

It is an incomprehensible truth that half the population literally has to make a concentrated effort not to get abducted or raped walking down a street or harrassed at work due to their gender, while a massive section of the other half is offended that the first half is speaking up about this being their everyday reality!

I get it, being attacked or killed, IS also a terrible reality for many men. But why does male rhetoric become so defensive when the issue of femicide and harassment of women is raised?

“Well I’m not like that, nor are my friends.

“I’d never hurt a woman, why do I have to walk around apologising for the ones who do?

“I’m tired of being made to feel like a criminal just for being a man.

(Interestingly, women don’t usually rush to point out how much worse off we’ve got it when male death rates are discussed.)

It’s a shoddy response. It’s not enough for men to know that they’d never hurt a woman. It’s not enough for men to inwardly pat themselves on the back for being a standup guy who’s never had one aggressive or violent thought towards a member of the opposite sex.

Nobody can be held responsible for the actions of their entire gender. But men who feel aggrieved at being lumped in one big group of would be predators, instead of recognising why women have to be on their guard all the time or considering what part men can play to minimise that ingrained fear, are very much a part of the problem and not the solution.

Of course, there are countless men who totally get it and who are equally appalled by the epidemic of violence perpetrated by men on women. We know this.

But for some unfathomable reason, not all men (who are surely themselves sons of mothers, husbands of wives, fathers of daughters or brothers of sisters?) feel outraged by cases like that of Sarah Everard and are more preoccupied with denying the notion of attacks motivated purely by misogyny.

It’s not about hating and mistrusting ALL men. But rapists and murderers don’t wear a sign. So to a woman, any man in a public setting is a potential threat and there is no way of telling the difference between a possible killer and a decent human being.

You have to understand, from the perspective of a woman walking down a dark road, being looked at while she’s on her laptop at a cafe, sitting on a train, entering a cinema alone, you could be about to harm her.  Watch any of those ‘true story’ crime series, read any biography on killers… Most of them were perfectly charming and friendly. Even more hair-raising: they were often inconspicuous. 

Sarah Everard shouldn’t have had to think about wearing bright visible clothing or keeping her boyfriend on the phone, in an effort to limit the risk of something happening to her as she made her journey.  It’s deplorable that this should be a thing. And devastating that this should be unsuccessful in saving her life.

Women shouldn’t have to take precautions just going out for the night or making it home from work.  We shouldn’t be changing into flat ‘if I need to run’ shoes or taking the longer route just to stay on busier better lit streets. We shouldn’t be nervously scanning the hedges and bins as we near our home, saying our prayers as we race to get the key in the front door.

The conversation shouldn’t be hijacked and shifted onto soothing the collective damaged male ego. It should be about what the government, organisations, education system, society must do to stamp out gender-motivated violence (physical and verbal) towards females.

Right now, the conversation is about being demoralised by the tragic inevitability of yet another murder of yet another female who would still be alive if she hadn’t been a female.

It’s about the depressing injustice of women having all the aforementioned ’emergency procedures’ drummed into us…whilst men generally just need to remember their keys and wallet.

It’s about the the heart-pounding fear of hearing only our solitary footsteps on a quiet pavement. Or worse, just one other set of footsteps right behind us.

I’ll teach my girls the world is their oyster. That they should never feel inferior to a man. That they can be anything they want to be. Anything but safe.

It’s about feeling helpless that as a woman we just silently accept from a very young age ‘that’s just the way it is’

It’s about the frightening ‘normality’ with which we as women adapt our behaviour (tucking our hair into our collar to prevent it being grabbed, walking with our head down to avoid eye contact) in order to reduce our chances of being attacked once we’ve left a restaurant, gym, FFS anywhere. When this should never be normal!

It’s about the insane fact that many women feel they have a ‘curfew’ imposed on them, that they’re taking an almost ‘irresponsible’ chance being out after dark unless they have no choice.

It’s about how wrong it is that the conversations about femicide generally take place when ‘a Sarah Everard’ happens; and that these conversation shouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

It’s about feeling enraged that most sexual crimes go unreported because we women know the justice system is rarely on our side.

It’s about feeling utterly worn down by all of it.

It’s one thing to teach boys the world is theirs for the taking. That they should never feel inferior to anyone. That they can be anything they want. It’s just as important to teach them what it’s like for a girl in this world.

The conversation should damned well also be about the role men need to play in educating their sons, male relatives and friends about what women experience.

If you’re a man reading this and your first reaction is to mention male homicide rates as soon as news of another murdered or missing female hits, if you think the #NotAllMen hashtag is justified, if you do nothing when you witness intimidating behaviour from another man towards a woman, let me ask you:

Have you ever had to take a friend with you to the toilet when you’re in a crowded pub, a concert, a busy public place as ‘there’s safety in numbers?

Do you make sure you don’t let your drink out of your sight for a second in case someone laces it at a bar?

Do you race across a car park as fast as you can, discretely checking for reflections in car windows and glancing at the dark corners?

Have you ever thought twice about entering a lift alone and feel even more nervous using the stairs?

Do you weigh up getting in a taxi with a male driver vs walking home alone, wondering which one is safer?

And above all, do you say “Text me when you get home” to your mate after a boys’ night?

Didn’t think so.

 

 

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