Portsmouth women encouraged to show solidarity with one another after death of Sarah Everard
WOMEN have reacted with anguish and anger over the death of a woman who was ‘simply walking home’.
Police have confirmed that a body found in the search for missing Sarah Everard, 33 from Brixton, was indeed hers.
Ms Everard disappeared as she was walking home in south London last week – and a serving Met officer is in custody on suspicion of her kidnap and murder.
Now, women across the country are looking to ‘reclaim the streets’ on Saturday, saying that they should not have to fear walking home in the dark, and calling for men to not only be better educated on right and wrong, but to challenge their friends when they see something wrong.
In Portsmouth, two events are taking place for women to share their experiences and show solidarity with one another.
Cllr Claire Udy, who represents the Charles Dickens ward for Portsmouth City Council, is urging women to simply go out on their daily walks tomorrow and acknowledge one another.
She said: ‘The whole situation has made me feel so angry and I wanted to try and do something positive, while also keeping in the Covid-19 guidelines.
‘We're allowed on our daily walks so it would be great if women could go out, either alone or with someone else, and acknowledge others that they see, to let them know they aren’t alone and to reflect on everything that’s happened.
‘From there it’s about educating women on how to stay safe, and challenge men on what they are doing as well.’
Cllr Udy added that the posts she has seen on social media, where women have shared their experiences with harassment and sexual assault, show that women in Portsmouth ‘do not feel safe’.
Tomorrow evening, domestic abuse and sexual violence charity Aurora New Dawn is hosting a virtual event for women to show solidarity and commemorate Ms Everard’s life.
Shonagh Dillon, CEO of the Portsmouth-based charity, said the incident has hit home for many women.
She said: ‘One of the things that has struck me is how many women have been sharing their stories on sexual harassment and male violence.
‘We have to hold one another to account – men have to challenge their friends rather than being a bystander.
‘It’s not enough to just think that it's not you, because it could be somebody you know.’
The charity is urging people to light a candle and post it on social media, with the hashtags #SarahEverard, #ReclaimTheStreets and #VirtualVigil.