A Walk Home: Sarah Everard’s Story and the Women's Movement
It was March 3, 2021, a night like any other. 33-year-old Sarah Everard was walking home. She did everything right — traveled at a reasonable hour, called her boyfriend to let him know she was on her way, took the long route to avoid danger. And yet it still happened to her. Sarah never made it home that evening. And Sarah will never get the chance to tell her story, which is why it’s so important for people around the world to come together and spread awareness in her honor.
Sarah’s kidnap and murder is not in any way the first of its kind. 97% of women will experience sexual harassment during their lives, making them much more apt to be fearful in situations where they are alone, leading them to dress differently, travel at specific times, text others to let them know where they are, pretend to be on the phone, etc. And while Sarah was doing everything in her power to be safe, women should not have to change their patterns to avoid the risk of assault by men.
We live in a world where it’s become normal to tell women to "cover up" or "stay home after dark." Harassment comes in many different forms, but more likely than not, all the women in your life have experienced it in some way, shape, or form.
An even scarier part of Sarah’s story is how the assault was committed by a police officer, or a man whose job it is to protect women like Sarah. More protests are sparking from social media as videos from vigils for Sarah are being released with police officers being violent towards other women as well. It’s incredibly devastating to live in a world where you can’t trust the very people in charge of your safety, making women feel even more vulnerable, isolated, and alone.
It shouldn’t have had to come to this point for people to realize how targeted women are and how often women are taken advantage of in some way. It should not be normal for a woman to feel like she needs to change her appearance or take a longer route home to avoid confrontation with a man.
Sarah was the victim of this terrible crime, but it could have been any of us. It’s vital that we continue to spread Sarah’s story as well as our own to not only make other women feel less alone, but to bring about change to the status quo. Women around the world are opening up about their own history with sexual harassment and their fear of encountering the same thing as Sarah. It’s our job to share Sarah’s story, hold those accountable for their actions, stand up for ourselves and others, and demand justice. For now, we must continue to be incredibly cautious and keep doing "everything right," but hopefully one day, we can feel safe and at ease walking home without worrying about the threat of never making it to our front door.
Sarah was described as "incredibly kind," "beautiful inside and out," and "a light to others." She brought so much joy to her family and into the world, but had life taken from her at the hands of a horrific injustice to both her and women across the globe. While the women’s movement is nothing new, more attention is now being paid to the issues of street harassment and violence against women. We must continue to fight to make the world a safer place for women and girls.