Example two. The large bunch of keys I keep in my hand while walking in quiet areas just in case.
Example three. The extra mile I used to walk, including crossing a busy road, to work to avoid the underpass.
Example four. The rape alarm.
Example five: Hearing steps, crossing the road.
Yes this is me. But I’m every woman ever. Nothing unusual to see here.
The terrifying case of Sarah Everard (pictured) has simply reminded us women why we take these precautions, why we walk on the inside of the pavement, why we don’t go out alone at night. We shouldn’t have to but we all do, we have been conditioned to fear and this kind of awful news reminds us why.
We know most men are perfectly civilised, but what if we meet one that isn’t? It’s a terror passed from mother to daughter over the generations. And it is, unfortunately, men we have to fear. Men are the major perpetrators of violent crime, but the reality is most of this violent crime is committed in the home, not as a result of stranger attacks or abduction.
However, it is those terrible stories like Sarah’s which loom in the female consciousness, reinforced from time to time with horrific realities. It’s an endemic fear illustrated by women like Sarah – she had taken every precaution to keep herself safe yet something still happened to her.
And yet people seem to assign her blame, just for walking home.
In the last 48 hours, social media has been one long howl of pain and grief from women. Few ever met Sarah, but they knew her all the same and know she could have been any of them – any of us.
Sarah is just one in a long line of women lost, and it is the women who recognise themselves in her who speak of her now. All women have their stories, the moments of ‘what if’ and their scars. Today, we all walk with Sarah.