If you’ve opened your Twitter or Instagram feed over the past couple of days, chances are you’ve likely seen the name Sara Everard. Two weeks ago, on Wednesday March 3rd, the young thirty-three year-old woman suddenly went missing whilst walking home from a friend’s house. Everard’s boyfriend decided to report her missing a day after, on March 4th. Through security camera footage in a nearby London park, she was last seen walking around 9pm, wearing a bright green raincoat and headphones.
London police soon suspected Wayne Couzens, a forty-eight year-old police officer from a neighbouring country, was her alleged killer; Sarah’s remains were also found in this country. He is now in custody for kidnapping and murder.
Why her story has been so relatable to women all over the world and has been subsequently causing a multitude of movements and protests is that she followed every safety precaution that women usually follow when walking home alone. She wore bright clothes, called her boyfriend on the trek, and was close to home. On social media, women are sharing their own stories with harassment and abuse, and as a consequence policemen and men as a whole, are under intense judgement and perusal.
Sarah’s disappearance and death has sparked nation-wide vigils, headlines and waves of support from women all over the world. However on March 13th, one public vigil got interrupted by police officers which left bystanders in shock. After the discovery of Everard’s body, a London movement named Reclaim These Streets hosted an in-person vigil at Clapham Common (the park where Sarah was last seen) so that all women around the world who are also affected by gender-based harassment and violence, can pay homage to her. Things quickly got violent as London police interfered and arrived at the scene, condemning the situation as unsafe due to COVID-19 protocols.
The question that is now being asked is how differently women experience public spaces, and how much more vigilant they have to be on the streets. The over-cautionary trope has become too real of a reality for women nowadays, as they’ve been conditioned to always be nervous when outside of their homes.
How can we reduce the anxiety women feel when walking alone at night? When will they feel safe? These are all questions that need to be brought to the forefront, and answered so change can quickly ensue.
CHATELAINE : https://www.chatelaine.com/living/sarah-everard/