Text Me When You Get Home
Image Source: Axios
She was wearing a green jacket, navy trousers, and turquoise and orange running shoes. She did everything we’ve been taught are the ‘right things to do.’
She was wearing bright clothing.
She was dressed modestly.
She called her boyfriend.
She walked on a main road.
It was just 9pm.
She was just walking home.
And she never made it.
Sarah Everard, a 33-year old UK citizen, was kidnapped and murdered by a police officer on her walk home nearly two weeks ago.
News of this story sent shockwaves throughout the world, as women around the world speak to their own experiences and admit that they live in fear of this very scenario, it could have been them.
Sarah should have been able to walk home alone. Every single one of us should be able to walk home alone.
We shouldn’t need rules... we shouldn’t have to lock our car doors, carry keys, purchase safety alarms and pepper spray, we shouldn’t need to wear something modest, we shouldn’t need to wear the right shoes, avoid public transportation, cross the road, we shouldn't need to keep keep our heads down, avoid eye contact…. We shouldn’t need to send “text me when you get home”
But we do. We do the right things. Sarah did the right things too.
We learn to take the necessary steps to avoid being attacked, because we are taught that this is a woman’s safety issue, not a male violence issue.
Not all men are attackers, but all women are afraid, so yes, this is a men’s issue.
It’s not all men, but do all men educate their sons on consent and the safety of women?
Do all men shut down locker talk?
Do all men call out inappropriate behaviour when they see it?
Do all men take steps to help women feel safe?
To all the men who do want to take steps to help make women feel safe while they walk in public areas, here are some things you can do.
If you’re walking behind a woman, cross over to the other side of the road and walk on that side instead.
Don’t stare. Pull out your phone, look elsewhere.
Talk. Call a friend. Pretend to call a friend.
If you’re wearing a hoodie, pull your hood down.
If a woman is walking towards you, move out of the way and allow HER to stay in the path; we intentionally walk in the safest part of the path.
Walk your friends home, no matter how safe you think the route is.
Call out other men who make women feel unsafe. If you see inappropriate behaviour or a woman looking uncomfortable, step in.
Share these tips with your friends - everyone needs to know them.
The only way to solve the issue of harm against women is to fix the problem at its root, but we rarely hear about ways to put an end to this behaviour.
The solution isn’t for women to wear the right shoes or call our friends while we’re walking home, like we’ve been told it is... because we do the right things and it still doesn’t work.
You might be thinking to yourself, “If I saw a woman being attacked, of course I would do something!”... and that’s awesome.
But do you do something when your friend encourages a woman to have another drink, in an attempt to get her drunk?
Do you do something when your friend stares, makes an unsolicited comment to a woman? Do you do something when the offender is not your friend but a complete stranger?
Do you do something when you’re downtown and you see a woman looking uncomfortable as a man approaches her?
Do you do anything?
Because she was just walking home. And she should have made it.
Because we should all feel safe enough to walk home.... and we should all be able to make it home.