How Sarah Everard’s Death Prompted a Plea for Change

Flowers+and+posters+left+to+honor+Sarah+Everard.+

Photo via The Conversation.

Flowers and posters left to honor Sarah Everard.

Faye Taylor ‘22

Grieving for strangers is an unusual concept — we do not know them, yet they feel so familiar. 97 percent of women across the United Kingdom have unwillingly related to Sarah Everard over the past two weeks, yet their experience differed in one way: they survived to tell their story. 

There is an unspoken, yet fully understood, curfew for women that is the product of a historically male-dominated society. Unfortunately, Sarah Everard is a perfect example of the potential consequences of violating this curfew. Frankly, it demonstrates that simple freedoms are often left unachieved when it comes down to a gender. 

Sarah Everard left a friend’s house on foot on the evening of March 3rd. Dressed in bright clothing, she took the long route to avoid the dark and potentially dangerous streets. Despite all of this, her body was found a week later, miles away from where she set off. Furthermore, it is suspected that her murderer was a policeman. In a world of brokenness, even those who are trusted for the safety of individuals are essentially untrustworthy. 

Though it should be shocking, Sarah Everard’s story comes as no surprise to many. For far too long, life after dark has triggered fear in women across the planet: fear of a world that is not only unkind to them, but often works to hurt them. According to a survey, 97% of women in the UK have been sexually harassed, a figure which is calculated after women have already altered their behaviors in an attempt to protect themselves. And of course, this harassment does not come from all men. However, it comes from enough men to signal that women’s safety is an issue that needs to be addressed. 

So yes, grieving the death of Sarah Everard does not feel unusual because she is not one woman out of a thousand, but rather her situation reflected that of a sister, a friend, a daughter, or a wife. Though there are several questions that remain unanswered, perhaps we should be wondering how many more deaths or assaults our society must endure before women’s safety is considered a human rights issue.