LONDON – You just went home.
The death of Sarah Everard, last seen on a busy street in south London just after 9:30 p.m. March 3rd took hold of the United Kingdom.
Police confirmed on Friday that a body found by investigators on Wednesday was that of the 33-year-old marketing director and that Wayne Couzens, an elite officer in the London Metropolitan Police’s diplomatic protection command, had been charged with her murder. He is due to appear in a London court on Saturday.
Commissioner Cressida Dick commented on the arrest on Wednesday that the case had sent “waves of shock and anger” through the public and the entire force. “We are deeply appalled by this terrible news,” she said. “Our job is to patrol the streets and protect people.”
The case has also sparked calls to action against male violence against women and girls and a change in the dialogue surrounding it.
While searching for Everard, thousands of women exchanged stories online about the abuse and fears they have experienced on the streets in the UK, where according to a 2019 report, more than 70 percent of women have been sexually molested in public United Nations study.
Among those who spoke up was Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel, who spoke about “the countless times” she was exposed to “predatory behavior by men” Twitter thread.
In one (n Instagram story“Bridgerton” star Regé-Jean Page said, “Who do we not mention in this equation? It is us. They are men.”
“The grief and distress of women who respond to what happened to Sarah Everard shows how different women experience public space compared to men.” Andrea Simon, Director of the End Violence Against Women campaign group, told NBC News.
“We rarely hear what drives the perpetrators to harm women and what needs to be set up to stop this behavior,” she added.
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According to a 2019 report by the Center for London think tank, women in London were almost twice as likely to cite personal safety as an obstacle to walking and using public transport as men.
Everard’s disappearance shed light on an existing double standard: women are expected to adjust their behavior to reduce personal risk, which in turn fosters a “victim blame culture” and diverts attention from male actions, Simon said .
“The depressing thing about this whole discussion is that too often women are told not to go out alone after dark. I just can’t imagine the outrage when men are told that, ”said Anna Yearley, executive director of Reprieve, a legal action NGO. “Why should the responsibility lie with women?”
“You can tell how normal these things have become. We were so conditioned as women that we’re always nervous when we’re on the street, ”she added.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan admitted the city is not safe for women and girls and told the local LBC radio station, “It’s really important that people of my gender understand this.”
Jenny Jones, a member of the British House of Lords, also suggested that all men adhere to a 6:00 p.m. Curfew.
This has led to a plethora of advice online from women who have shared suggestions on how men can make their presence less uncomfortable – by crossing the street, for example, instead of staying behind a woman late at night and speaking out when they are bad witnesses behavior.
“Men can be amazing allies in this and really help change the narrative,” said Yearley.
After vigils were previously planned in cities across the country, including the borough of South London where Everard disappeared, the “Reclaim These Streets” group that organized the events said in a statement on Saturday that they would hold a virtual gathering instead .
On Friday, a judge in London’s High Court refused to intervene on behalf of the group in a legal challenge to the right to rally in protest amid coronavirus restrictions.
Instead, the group said they plan to raise money for women.