The murder of Sarah Everard sparks protests

Crowds gather to protest the double standard surrounding sexually assaulted women in response to Everard’s death

Mya Collins, News Writer

Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer in London, is being charged with the murder of Sarah Everard. This event sparked protests worldwide that call the safety of women everywhere — including in the custody of police — into question.

Everard disappeared on March 3 and her body was later found 50 miles away from where she was last seen in Clapham, South London. Protestors are urging for action against male violence and to switch the narrative on this issue.

The narrative surrounding sexually assaulted women is “That in order to buy their own safety from male violence, they must make the ‘right’ choices,” Amanda Taub from the New York Times wrote. “And that if a woman fails to do so, her fate is her own fault.”

Everard did everything she was “supposed to do,” yet still met a violent fate. She wore bright clothing, walked a well-lit path (although it was significantly longer than back alleys) and she was on the phone with her boyfriend for 15 minutes to advise him that she was on her way home. 

“The murder of Sarah is deeply personal for those who knew her, but it has also shocked a nation and reignited intense debate about women’s safety and misogyny,” Samantha Hawley, the Europe bureau chief, wrote. 

Crowds gathered to protest and build a memorial commemorating the life of Everard by carrying candles, bouquets and signs.

“Hey, mister, get your hands off my sister / Arrest your own,” the crowd chanted as they referenced the police officer that was charged for Everard’s murder. 

On the contrary, some speak out against these protests with the belief that the focus point should shift from women feeling threatened by men to the real threat that women face in their homes. 

“Although the fears are understandable, and they have been exacerbated by this particularly horrendous event, the risks actually haven’t changed and the risks to women in public space seem to be relatively low compared to the risks they run in their own homes,” Criminologist Marian FitzGerald told ABC News. 

FitzGerald suggests that the response to Everard’s death was “hysterical” and that men face a greater risk of being killed in public than women do. 

Crowds continue to gather in solidarity to fight against the arguably deep-rooted misogynistic views in society as they urge for the reformation of the double standard that women are held to in regards to sexual harassment.