In the year after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, have the streets become safer for women?
The last year has seen a much welcome, much appreciated focus on the safety of women in the UK. Sparked by the heart-breaking murder of Sarah Everard, women have come together to share their experiences and demand meaningful change in a society that has remained sluggish on this issue. So, has much changed?
The Independent reporting that at least 125 women have died at the hands of men in the year since Sarah Everard’s death. We can all acknowledge that is not a step in the right direction. However, it is not all bad news. There have been some positive steps that can provide us all with some hope. Many people and organisations have stepped forward in effort to improve the safety of women, here are just a few:
WalkSafe is an app designed by Emma Kay which aims to help women feel safer
when walking home at night. The app shows the users crime hotspots to avoid based on official crime data updated monthly. With an increase in downloads, the app has been able to launch a new platform that deals with reporting incidents on the London Underground. Everybody has the right to walk the streets without fear of attack or harassment regardless of the time of day. This is app is undoubtably a step in that direction.
2) Ask for Angela
The “Ask for Angela” campaign was started in England in 2016 to help people escape unnerving encounter participating nightclubs and similar venues. In this campaign, when a person in danger or an uncomfortable situation says “Angela” to a member of staff, they are aided out of that situation by either having transport arranged for them or having the offended person ejected from the venue. Nightclubs are a usually a good time for the women who visit them, however, those women often them find themselves the victim of unwanted sexual advances and harassment on what should be a fun night out. While this campaign is relatively old, it is a good thing that it’s been dusted off and relaunched.
3) Anti-Spiking Bottle Tops
According to YouGov, one in nine women have reported having their drink spiked. This is a staggeringly high figure and therefore, it is no surprise that anti-spiking bottle covers like this one have become popular in the last year. For a while, spiking was a trending topic across all news outlets when there was suspicion that women were being spiked via needle. This terrifying thought reignited safety concerns surrounding women in nightclubs and the conversation on spiking.
A lot of these steps involve action by women. They put forward steps that women can do to keep themselves safe. However, something crucial is missing- men. The responsibility should not be on women alone but to the men committing these actions. Furthermore, most men in the UK agree as Good Morning Britain found like that three quarters of men recognise that they should actively change their behaviour to make women feel safe when they are on their own.
So, in these tough times where it feels like much has not changed. We all must keep pushing for change until women feel safe living their lives.