Sarah Everard disappeared on Monday, March 3rd, and was later found dead on Wednesday, March 10th. Her shocking story generated worldwide heartbreak. She was a 33-year-old woman, working as a marketing executive in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Everard was walking home from her friend’s apartment in the south London neighbourhood of Clapham on March 3rd after 9 p.m. She took the safer, more illuminated route home, taking approximately an hour, where she called her boyfriend to notify him that she was headed home. Despite these precautions taken, her body was later found hidden and dead in an area of woodland in Kent on Wednesday, March 10th. Charged with this murder is Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old Metropolitan police officer who lives in the Kent area with his wife and two children.
In response to this tragic story, many citizens have shown their support for Everard. A Vigil was held in the Clapham Common park, where many citizens gathered to pay their respects, bringing flowers, and lighting candles. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton was also seen with flowers and taking a moment of silence in memory of Sarah Everard. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the U.K. released a statement after the news of Everard surfaced. He assured the British people that such an act will not happen again and that more money, specifically 45 million pounds will be spent to provide better lighting and CCTV cameras in the surrounding areas. Hence, helping women and girls to feel safer when walking the streets of the U.K..
In light of Sarah Everard’s story, many other women are speaking up regarding their experience with sexual harassment, rape, catcalling, and other acts of gendered violence. Such unethical happenings do not solely occur in the U.K., but rather worldwide. Bringing attention to this matter is vital to ensure we all recognize the issue and is the first step in creating a peaceful and just community. Speaking upon this conflict can aid in positively benefiting younger generations of women and girls to gain security and a sense of safety.
Domestic violence, abuse, rape, and other acts of gendered violence have been prevalent in society for many decades. Such conflict derives from the misogynistic lifestyle view throughout history, and how some individuals continue to believe and hold such a lifestyle true in today’s society. Through COVID-19 the rate of these harmful acts has drastically increased, specifically domestic violence. Though the pandemic has caused a rise in gendered violence and conflict, it is not to blame for Everard’s death. COVID-19 only amplifies the realistic notion of what can happen to women and girls on account of the unbalanced display of power between women and men.
The murder of Sarah Everard sent a worldwide shock concerning the security and safety of women and girls. Women should not have to take precautions when leaving their homes, such as walking with a group or in populated and well-lit areas. In a U.K. study done, 97% of women between the ages 18-24 have been sexually harassed in some form (The Guardian, 2021), establishing the recurrence of gendered conflict and violence that women fear. If the action for change is not taken, future implications of this power imbalance will become more harmful for younger generations of women and girls. While there are some measures being taken by the Prime Minister of the U.K., a global, equitable, and inclusive solution must be found in order to achieve peace and security among all women and men.