As the British public continues to mourn the death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard and face the sinister potential that her alleged killer could be someone who was entrusted with protecting the public, the concern for women’s safety continues to gain momentum.
Everard, who was last seen on March 3, was making a 50-minute journey on foot from a friend’s house in South London when she went missing.
In what is believed to be the last known photograph of her, the marketing executive was dressed in brightly colored clothing and made her walk along one of the city's busy streets around 9:30 p.m.
Everard never made it home, prompting a missing person's search that was brought to an end when her family’s worst nightmares were confirmed. Her body was discovered on March 10, 56 miles away from where she was last sighted.
A police officer has been arrested and charged with murder. Her death has ignited a call for immediate action to address violence against women and girls, while activists have taken to the streets of London to protest.
The palpable grief connected to Everard’s abduction and death was felt by women across the UK and online, and served as a reminder of how violence against women and the threat of it are part of everyday life.
The sentiment was captured in a powerful post on Instagram from fitness expert Lucy Mountain, with the phrase “Text me when you get home xx.”
In the caption to support her now-viral post, Mountain wrote: “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Sarah Everard and how a woman was not allowed to walk home. It’s unbearable. ⠀
“I’ve also felt a deep sense of connection between myself and other women this week. I’ve had conversations about how being hyper-conscious of our safety is just something we’ve done throughout our entire lives. The deep sense of connection is one of fear.”
Online, women have shared their personal experiences using hashtags like #textmewhenyougethome and #ReclaimTheStreets to emphasize the urgent nature of tackling violence against women and girls at the hands of men.
The message is one the many women are accustomed to sending without hesitation — and almost as a default.
Some women shared how the fear would often make them hyper aware, to the point of planning their escape route if they were ever attacked.
Women shared how they feared for their friends and sisters who didn't confirm when they arrived at home safely.
The phrase and the purpose behind it is one that felt like a distinct shared experience among women, as Mountain put it in her post, "Text me when you get home xxx is a standard procedure amongst women. Auto-pilot."
The investigation into Everard's murder is continuing, as are demonstrations with more protests and vigils being organized by activists.