Twitter user bekah took it upon herself to compile a list of simple ways in which men can help women feel more secure in public spaces and other situations.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 18, 2021. It has since been updated.
The kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard once again called attention to how exhausting it is for women to live with the constant fear of being harmed by men. Many women took to social media to speak up about feeling unsafe every waking hour of their lives and detail the endless precautions they take to avoid being assaulted, stalked, raped, or murdered. While they have countered with the usual "not all men" excuses, some men expressed genuine interest to understand how they could make women feel more secure in public spaces and other situations.
Clearly true in the U.S. as well.— Michael Ivy, MD (@MikeIvyMD) March 17, 2021
The Sarah Everard case shows society's rules for women don't matter if men intend to harm us https://t.co/XUELkdKCOd
Twitter user bekah took it upon herself to compile a list of simple ways in which men can help women in vulnerable situations feel safer in a thread that has since gone viral. "If you hear a woman being bothered, walk over, and support her," she wrote. "You could pretend to be a family member, a friend, or perhaps even a boyfriend if a man is really bothering her and she seems distressed. It would be greatly appreciated. If you hear your friends or men around you speaking in a derogatory way about women or a particular woman, CALL THEM OUT! Don't let them get off lightly. Do not stay silent. Men should be educated, women should not have to be harassed."
video i saw on tiktok about man pretending to know girl so she would stop being harassed. i’ve seen people say they’d feel creeped out etc so i think it’s personal preference. personally i would be very thankful. pic.twitter.com/gEHq2fwAuX— bekah (@spvcecadets) March 12, 2021
"If a woman is walking alone (particularly at night), leave space/distance between you and her or cross the road so she knows you are not following her," she continued. "This will make her feel more at ease and feel like she's not being pursued. Don't walk at her pace, cross over, and overtake her. Never ever victim blame a woman when she opens up about past experiences. Even the smallest experience can be traumatic and last a lifetime. Support her. Do not say 'what about men?' or 'it's not all men' because it is all women. Do not pass it off as nothing."
The Twitter user went on to explain that when walking past a woman at night, it would help if men could try and keep their face visible; i.e. unless they're wearing a mask due to the pandemic. "If you are running at night, make sure to breathe heavy or make much more noise so she does not get spooked out when you run behind her and past her," she wrote. "I'm not saying start panting like a dog, maybe just cough to let the girl know ur behind her so she doesn't get spooked."
hollie guard is also an app i’ve seen it sure how good it is tho <3 https://t.co/zphOEhnfZt— bekah (@spvcecadets) March 11, 2021
According to BBC, following the public outcry surrounding Sarah Everard's death, the British Prime Minister's office recently announced "immediate steps" aimed at improving safety for women and girls in England and Wales. This includes allocating an additional £25 million for better lighting and CCTV, and a pilot scheme which would see plain-clothes officers in pubs and clubs. The undercover officers would feed intelligence to uniformed officers, said Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins, and that the government would work with businesses and police to ensure "that women can feel safe in our streets."
the memorial of the beautiful sarah everard doesn’t just represent the tragic loss of a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend; but represents the fear and sexism faced by women everyday. pic.twitter.com/gkR6XW15g8— louise ♡ (@songsofus) March 16, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who chaired the meeting of the government's Crime and Justice Taskforce on Monday evening — said the government was bringing in "landmark legislation" to toughen up sentences and put more police on streets. "Ultimately, we must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them," he added. However, Labour's shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips criticized the move and called for meaningful changes to the law rather than plans involving "police officers in skinny jeans."
Sarah Everard was murdered by a cop. https://t.co/e5DFy4Io1F— feminist next door (@emrazz) March 16, 2021
Labour's Nick Thomas-Symonds, said the measures were "nowhere near good enough" and called for "urgent action" on issues like harassment of women, domestic homicide sentencing, and more support for rape victims. A spokeswoman for the organization Reclaim These Streets said that while the additional funding was welcome, funding alone wouldn't create the structural changes which were "so important." "Women won't be able to trust that they are safe until misogyny and racism are tackled at an institutional level within government, police, and the criminal justice system," she said.