The Death of Sarah Everard exemplifies the normalization of sexual assault

Mourners placed flowers at the location where Everard was last seen in her memory.

Photo by Gerry Popplestone

Mourners placed flowers at the location where Everard was last seen in her memory.

Seeing women carrying pepper spray and other self defense tools on their car keys is unfortunately not uncommon nowadays. Even with these tools, most women still feel unsafe walking alone at night. Women are advised to walk in groups, stroll in well lit areas that are busy and have an emergency number on speed dial if they do not feel safe. However these extensive safety precautions have proven ineffective.Unfortunately for 33 year old Sarah Everard, even with this completed checklist of self defense tools, she still fell victim to the harsh reality for women in this world. 

Sarah Everard was enjoying the normalicies of her daily life, walking home from a friend’s house while on the phone with her boyfriend; however she never made it home. Her remains were later discovered in a builder’s bag in a woodland area. Police officer Wayne Couzens was determined to be the alleged killer. The people that are supposed to be protecting us were the cause of this horrific crime. 

In the wake of her tragic death, the conversation of women’s safety, sexual assault/harrasment and abuse have resurfaced. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women released a study that revealed that 97 percent of women ages 18 to 24 have experienced sexual harassment and more than 70 percent of women of all ages have endured this type of behavior. After this study was released, people on the app “Tik Tok” were spreading the statistics to make sure that everyone knew how important this issue was. 

A lot of women began educating others on Tik Tok about what is considered sexual assault/harrasment. Through the 15 second to one minute long videos, many women began to realize that they are part of this 97 percent. Along with educating others on the topic in general, both men and women are using their platforms to share their stories. By coming out and telling their harrowing sexual harassment/assault stories, they gave others the courage to also come forward about their own past trauma as well. 

Most of the comments on these videos talking about this pressing issue were supportive and pleasant, but there were a few exceptions. Some men in the comments of these Tik Toks were saying that the number is made up, disregarding the issue or saying that the number should be higher. I was appalled reading through those comments.Men are the perpetrators of these problems and their unwillingness to support sturggling wmoen proves their ingorance to the struggles of sexual assault.  

Unfortunately, this issue is not going away anytime soon. As a society, we need to do better in order to make sure everyone, women, men and anyone else feels safe going out alone. No one should be terrified to go out and live their lives.