In the last week, the UK has witnessed the abduction and murder of yet another young woman, Sarah Everard. What makes this remarkable is that the suspect is a serving police officer, a man with a sworn duty to protect Londoners.
Contempt of Court
I will not name this man or publish his photograph as he has not been charged with Sarah’s murder and the contempt of court laws are quite stringent in the UK. I would not want to take the risk of prejudicing any trial that may come out of this truly devastating case.
Men — Listen To Women
Instead, I want to address my fellow men. Why do we do this? What is it about some of us that makes us kidnap and murder women?
Clearly not all men are rapists but the vast majority of rapists are men. I don’t seek praise for never having raped or murdered a woman and I cannot understand the men whose Twitter outpourings, using the hashtag #notallmen, seem to believe they should be at least thanked for not being violent towards women if not given an actual medal. Come on, weirdos, it’s not enough to say, “I’ve never raped anyone” and then go smugly on your way as if the problem is nothing to do with you. This problem involves all of us.
Instead of advising women what THEY should do to stop us raping them — not drinking, not wearing provocative (in our opinion) clothing, not walking home alone — perhaps we should look amongst ourselves to identify the kind of man who calls out at women in the street, who gets his dick out on the Tube, who flashes women in fast-food restaurants, who harasses women out jogging, who gropes women on trains, who thinks it’s ok to treat women as their property in any situation.
In fact, this is not a female problem, this is a male problem. We all know a man who behaves like that, who makes comments about women in the pub or office or, well, anywhere. If you see behaviour like that, call it out. Don’t let them get away with it. If that’s you, stop it now.
Especially, don’t be one of those men who only realise the difficulty women face because “I have a 14-year-old daughter” and you’d hate anything to happen to her. I’m afraid the whole “I have a daughter” thing makes you sound like, if you didn’t have her, you would be one of those rapey bastards. I’m sorry, it just does.
So, if you do have a daughter, do the right thing for her and stop tolerating abuse of women by men. She’ll thank you for it.
118 Dead In 12 Months
Yesterday in the house of Commons, the Labour MP Jess Phillips read out the names of all the women, and their children, who have been killed by men in the last 12 months as she does every year on International Women’s Day. 118 names. I have no doubt that in the US that number is much higher.
I can only echo Jess’s final comment: “Let’s make sure that next year the number is zero”.
Sadly, it is already greater than zero.