It might not be all men, but it is all women
Why the heartbreaking murder of Sarah Everard has sparked a global conversation
Over the last 10 days every woman I know has had a conversation about the heartbreaking disappearance and subsequent alleged murder of 33-year-old Marketing Executive, Sarah Everard.
The tragic events have sparked a global conversation about the dangers women face on a daily basis.
The news has struck a chord with all women around the globe. It reconfirms our fears. It highlights why we keep our location sharing on, why we text our friends "home safe x" and why we walk with our keys in between our fingers, always on guard in case of emergency.
While I've seen countless women come together and share their stories and their trauma, there's been a deafening silence from men, who are failing to engage in the issue of violence against women.
The argument we've seen most frequently? '#NotAllMen'
Firstly, any man is too many men.
We know that not all men are capable of such evil. But what man needs to understand is that every woman that walks this earth is forced to take precautions to maintain their own safety, in ways that a man could never understand.
This is not a time for you to be defensive. This is not a personal problem, it's a social one. Any woman made to feel unsafe when carrying out normal daily activities, is one too many and it happens far too frequently.
You cannot simply exclude yourself from the 'wrong' side unless you're actively fighitng for the right one.
You have to use your voice to ignite change and we need to cut the issue at its core.
This behaviour doesn't start with someone getting attacked on the streets. Its root stems much deeper.
It starts in the playground, with wolf whistles and sexist jokes.
It follows through into our teenage years when women are brandished a 'slut' for embracing their sexuality, but a 'prude' if we deny a man their attention.
It follows us in every second of our life, in every decision that we make. Our fear is so deeply rooted that we're made to feel like the problem.
Women can, and do, shout from the rooftops expressing their fears. But stop letting them shout alone. Challenge your friends if they make a sly remark about a woman, tell them it's not OK for them to be objectified. Raise your sons to know that women are to be respected and are not inferior to man.
Be cautious. Be aware. Help your sisters, your mothers, your grandmothers feel comfortable in a world where it's becoming harder and harder to feel at home.
It is not enough to say "I don't do that, so I'm not a part of the problem." It's is not enough to be a passive bystander. It's time to challenge misogyny at source.
Sarah Everard could have been any of us. Sarah Everard did everything 'right'. She called her boyfriend, she wore bright clothes, she walked on well lit main roads.
But women shouldn't have to carry pepper spray, they shouldn't have to call somebody whilst walking just to feel safe, they shouldn't have to conceal their bodies or change their route home or share their location or change their shoes.
My heart aches for Sarah Everard - her friends, her family, anyone who has been impacted by her story. My heart aches for the woman she was and the woman she could've been.
The onus isn't on women. It's on men. It's not about asking why women are vulnerable, it's about asking why men are violent.
So, do not remain complicit. It is not all men, but it is all women that live in fear and it is down to all men to make a difference.