It has been a year since the death of Sarah Everard. Her appalling murder resonated with so many of us because it was our worst fears made real. It was the threat of male violence materialised. It reminds us of our own ‘near-misses’ and the adjustments we make to our daily lives. It also demonstrated in stark terms how so much of our daily lives is dictated by the fear of male violence – or at least carried out under its shadow.
It has been a year of collective mourning and rage for Sarah and for the many other women and girls who have been harmed by male violence since. It has also been a year of solidarity, as women and girls across the country united in our grief, and held vigils, marches and protests to honour the memory of Sarah and all women impacted by male violence, as well as demand an end to violence against women and girls.
Violence against women and girls is NOT inevitable. In the past year there has been a noticeable cultural shift towards accountability, and eliminating male violence is now high on the public agenda. The Government and justice agencies have made many promises and commitments to tackling violence against women and girls, which if followed through could see some meaningful changes in the way rape victims and survivors are treated. But progress still feels unbearably slow, and we are still a long way from achieving the equality we continue to fight for.
Today our thoughts are with Sarah’s family, her friends, and all of those who cared for her. We will continue to use our voices to demand radical action and meaningful change - for Sarah and for all the other women murdered by men.