Text me when you get home
by JAANVI NAYEE and EDNA PINTO
She wore bright clothes, she called her boyfriend, she took the safest route, and yet that still wasn’t enough.
Thousands of women hate walking alone, whether it is day or night. They even go to the bathroom together. Have you ever wondered why? After the death of Sarah Everard, it must be clear to you. Women don’t feel safe at home and it’s about time we understand why and make a change.
To label this reaction as ‘absurd’ would be an understatement. It may not be a shock to many women, but this just shows how much as a society we’ve improved- not very much. ‘A lovely, bright, intelligent girl’, ‘beautiful’, ‘strong and principled’: how cruel could someone be? 33-year-old Sarah Everard was unable to arrive home on the night of 3 March, despite walking in the brightest path. When will it end?
Andrea Jenkins, 19, from Watford, a Brunel Student at University said, “I think it’s ridiculous that it’s gotten to the point where girls have to share the ways they defend themselves and have to think of what you can do to save yourself in each scenario.
“When it starts to get dark or there’s no one there, I get a little bit panicky. If they’re close, I try and move to the side to let them walk past but I naturally walk quite fast, so I put some distance between us. But when it’s light out and busy, I feel fine.
“I sometimes have keys but if I walk past a group of people, I either pretend to be on my phone or I call someone.
“It’s amazing how many women went to the protests and for the police to break the peace and start arresting them for no reason whatsoever but allowed people to gather for football, I have no words.”
As Baroness Jenny Jones of Moulsecoomb said, “Nobody makes a fuss when, for example, the police suggest women stay home. But when I suggest it, men are up in arms.” The whole point of the suggestion of a 6pm curfew was to address how completely ridiculous it is that women can’t feel safe and free when they are alone.
Zanika Brown, 18, a King's College London student from Croydon said, “I’m not surprised. I feel like some men feel so entitled that they can’t take a no. I wouldn’t go out after certain times by myself or walk down dark roads.”
Rachel Sharp, 52, a journalism lecturer from Brunel University said, “I would say that I always have a fear in the back of my head. I am always worried.
“I have been followed and I have had to hide in a doorway waiting for cars to pass. The worst one was a man exposing himself to me on a train and I had to get off before my stop. I had to call my mum to come and get me. I was about 17. It was probably my worst experience.
“I feel safer in central London because there are more people around. If you’re near your home where there are less people, who would know if someone grabbed me?”
When travelling home from a friend's house, a holiday or anywhere, women always tell their friends ‘Text me when you get home.’ to reassure each other that they are safe. The fake phone calls when walking past strangers, the deodorant spray in a bag when walking home, the keys held in hands like a weapon just in case. These are all things that women do to feel like they can defend themselves if a situation occurs. Will women ever feel safe alone?