It’s not all men… but it is all women.
In light of the devastating news regarding Sarah Everard’s disappearance and potential murder, people everywhere have expressed their shock and anger. This awful incident has sparked conversations about the wider societal issues of public sexual harassment and violence against women and girls.
It is tremendously sad that an incident such as this had to occur for these sorts of conversations to be had in government, on mainstream news platforms, and in society.
It is laughable to think that some people genuinely believe that we have achieved gender equality in Great Britain. What is perhaps more concerning, is the outcry from men in response to these conversations.
You will have probably heard the phrase ‘not all men’ thrown around as of late. This phrase, whatever the intentions behind it, has the adverse consequence of shifting responsibility from male perpetrators back onto women and girls.
Of course, not all men sexually harass and stalk women.
Of course, not all men perpetrate violence against women.
Of course, not all men rape women.
But enough do to make it an issue for men.
97% of young women in the UK have been sexually harassed in public spaces. Women often do not feel safe in their homes, a problem exacerbated by the pandemic, and they do not feel safe in public.
In response, women have changed their behaviours. We change what we wear, which routes we take to work, what time of day we go outside and all manner of other significant parts of our daily lives just to feel that little bit safer.
The effect of this is twofold:
By teaching our daughters to watch what they wear, so as not to attract the wrong sort of attention, to carry their car keys between their fingers, just in case they need to protect themselves, and to avoid the stares of men, we are reinforcing the idea that women must change and bend to fit into a society where male violence and harassment towards women and girls is the accepted norm.
Whilst many of our sons, brothers, boyfriends, husbands and fathers are free to exercise their rights within society unencumbered, our sisters, daughters, girlfriends, wives and mothers are not.
And this is why we ask you, the men in our lives, to take a stand. Confront your male peers who think it is acceptable to verbally harass a woman minding her own business. Confront your sons who think it is acceptable to use derogatory language towards women. Confront your own beliefs and potential prejudices about the rightful place of women in society.
It’s not all men… but it is enough men for it to be a problem.
And us women… we have had enough.
The government are considering making public sexual harassment a criminal offence. Sign this petition HERE to ensure that the government know that thousands of us support this legal change.