Sarah Everard; why women’s safety must now be taken more seriously – The Yorkshire Post says

THAT so many women are continuing to come forward, in the wake of the tragic disappearance of York-born Sarah Everard, and saying that so little appears to have changed in the 40 years since serial killer Peter Sutcliffe’s reign of terror, is a depressing indictment of modern society.

York-born Sarah Everard vanished more thana week ago and her disappearance is now being treated as murder.

Quite rightly, our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and all those who knew this effervescent young woman, with her life ahead of her, who is now the subject of a high-profile murder inquiry after the discovery of human remains in Kent.

And while the arrest of a serving police officer on suspicion of murder has added to the public distress, it should not detract from wider societal issues that come to the fore, and all too quickly disappear, at times like this.

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What these harrowing personal accounts reveal is how one half of the adult population feels threatened, and has to take more extreme personal safety precautions, because they feel vulnerable when they step out to go to work or meet friends.

Poice are treating York-born Sarah Everard's disappearance last week as murder.

The challenges extend beyond knee-jerk debates about tougher sentences for offenders, policing levels or politicking, like that of London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, trying, tactlessly, to score cheap political points on the back this latest case, rather than listening, understanding, and comprehending the significance when the roll-call of women killed by violence - at the hands of men - since the last International Women’s Day was read out by Jess Phillips MP in the Commons.

What is it that makes women going about their daily lives feel afraid – and how do men, and wider society, need to respond?

For too long the narrative has been too focused on what women must do in order to stay safe, what changes women should make and what limitations women should place on their liberties in order to keep safe. It is time to stop blaming the victims, and start understanding the destructive power of misogyny in the daily lives of women the world over. Only then can we even begin to hope for safer streets for everyone, but for women in particular.

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