Too many women have seen an awful familiarity in the events described in the story of Sarah Everard’s disappearance.
Almost all women (97 per cent) between the ages of 18 and 24 have been sexually harassed, and 80 per cent of women of all ages have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces, according to data from UN Women UK.
Many have taken to social media to share their stories of sexual harassment, feeling scared walking at night, feeling threatened by men on the streets, and even awful stories of violence against them.
Celebrities have also taken a stand on social media, sharing heartfelt tributes to Sarah and posting about their own stories of feeling scared on the streets – fear perpetuated by men who follow them, catcall them, threaten them, or physically touch them without consent.
Many have even personally visited the memorial at Clapham Common, or have participated in virtual vigils in Sarah’s name.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was today seen paying tribute at a memorial on Clapham Common bandstand, laying flowers in Sarah’s memory.
A Royal source told the Mirror : “There was no fanfare, this was a private matter to her and she wanted to show unity with everyone else who is having the same feelings right now.”
Kensington Palace also said she “remembers what it was like to walk around London at night before she was married”.
Nicola Coughlan, star of Derry Girls and Bridgerton, shared a tribute to Sarah on Twitter.
In a second tweet, she shared her own story: “I worked in a restaurant in Ealing a few years ago, I had no choice but to walk home late at night on my own and I was scared every single time.
“It’s not right that women constantly live with this fear. The onus should not be on us.”
Actress Jameela Jamil, who calls herself a ‘feminist-in-progress’ in her Twitter bio, posted an impassioned tweet about how women “are not safe anywhere”, regardless of whether they are walking home or taking a taxi.
She has shared statistics of violence against women in taxis and Ubers, and followed up by saying: “The ONLY thing you need to say is. This poor woman. Her poor family.
“We need extensive education on consent for boys in schools. We need more funding for mental health. We need more efforts from our government to keep us safe.
“We need men to step in and educate other men/boys.”
Actress and singer Sheridan Smith posted a simple tribute to Sarah Everard this evening (March 13).
She posted a video of a lit candle on her Twitter with the caption ‘RIP SARAH EVERARD’ and a heartbreak emoji.
On Instagram, Love Island star and Government Youth Mental Health Ambassador Dr Alex shared a photo of him laying a bouquet of flowers in Sarah’s memory at Clapham Common bandstand.
He wrote in the caption: “As a community we are devastated at the loss of Sarah Everard.
“Emotional to see the Clapham Common band stand decorated with flowers in her honour.
“My thoughts and love go to Sarah’s family and friends. Rest in peace angel.”
Comedian, writer and presenter Sandi Toksvig opened the virtual vigil held by Feminists of London and Reclaim These Streets in lieu of the official Clapham Common vigil this evening, which was cancelled after police said the gathering could not take place under coronavirus restrictions.
“The truth is, of course, I don’t want to be here at all. I do not want to attend a vigil for a bright, young woman in her early thirties, a woman with her life before her,” she said on the livestream.
“I am filled in equal measure with profound sorrow and rage. And I know there are many who share this rage and I think it is entirely justifiable.
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“But I also know that it will harm rather than help us if we don’t try and direct that anger to good purpose. It needs to be a fire within us that brightly lights the way forward.”
You can watch the whole of Sandi’s speech, and the rest of the livestream, on the MyLondon Facebook page.
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Original posted at www.mylondon.news