My Passion for Women’s Rights by Matilda
Women are dying. Dying at the hands of men. Dying at the hands of the sexism engrained in our society.
Women are being killed.
Yet nobody cares. Nobody counts. Nobody remembers. We don’t currently count dead women in the UK, no government study is done into the patterns of data about domestic abuse victims who are killed, die by suicide or die suddenly.
This is not ok. These women need recognition. This needs to change.
We are constantly being told by the people in charge that their “first priority is protecting the people of their country”. But I don’t believe that this is the case. How can it be? How can this be the case when, we, the women, the girls, still fear walking home by ourselves? The fact of the matter is they are not thinking about the women when they say this. They are forgetting. And the worst of it is: this is not anything new or different. Women are constantly being forgotten. Forgotten when people discuss economic policy. Forgotten when people talk about infrastructure. And forgotten when the people in charge - the men in charge - stand up and say that their first priority is protecting the people of their country. This is why women are 47% more likely to suffer severe injuries in car crashes because safety features are designed for men. This is why for every female film character there are 2.24 men. And this forgetting and ignoring of women is why it will take us as a planet 108 years to close the gender gap.
“Oh well, it’s only women”.
Everyday sexism has become something we have all just accepted as part of our daily lives and dead women something we are told to try and forget. Dead women are now just normalised, just one of those things. But killed women are not rare, or something to brush under the rug. Killed women are common.
"Missing: Please Help Our dear friend Sarah Everard," read the posters that went up on South London streets and local social media forums in the days after the 33-year-old disappeared on her walk home in early March. And I’m sure you’ve heard this story many times already. But I believe that it’s important to tell the stories of these women as much as we need to until change comes. Sarah Everard's journey from Clapham Common to Brixton had taken her through some of the capital's most populated, brightly-lit, and well-walked parts. The parts we are told to stick to, trained to stick to. The safe parts of London. Hundreds of people - many of them young women - tread those pavements every day and consider the streets in and around them home. But that doesn’t make a place any less dangerous for a woman in a sexist world. As the police investigation ramped up, local women were warned to be careful about venturing out alone. When a police officer was arrested - and subsequently charged with Sarah's murder - the Head of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick acknowledged that women in London and beyond "will be worried and may well be feeling scared", although she said for a woman to be abducted off the street was an "incredibly rare" event. And yes the particular case of this murder was rare but the story is the same: a woman murdered by a man, the story is the same as so many we have heard before. And I am tired of being told it over and over.
I - along with many others - have been catcalled, I was 12 the first time. And since then - along with many others - I have policed myself, trained myself. And this is not just me, not just one case. We are taught to moderate everything: our clothing (and for those older) our drinking. Taught to get taxis even if we know we can’t afford it. To hold keys in between our fists, fake phone calls, so people know that someone will hear. Not to wear headphones when jogging, so we can hear. To stick to well-lit areas, “safe areas”. It’s exhausting. And what’s so upsetting about it all, is it is not our responsibility, it should not be our problem.
Women are not the reason women are attacked.
But men are.