The case of Sarah Everard has fuelled our rage – for her we should keep it red hot

I don’t really want to take back the streets. I want to take back the whole damn world a) because I’ve been to a lot of these marches and b) I’m one of those horrible feminists you read about who think it’s not women’s behavior that needs to change ; it is men.

Reclaim the Streets by who? Kidnappings like Sarah Everard’s are rare. Harassment on the street is far more normal – even commonplace. From whistles to men making lewd comments, following you, getting too close, a sudden grope, a car slowing down, a group of men refusing to give way so you have to squeeze through, random ones Threats if you don’t smile when commanded. This happens all the time.

Less as I get older, less as I can afford taxis. My daughters started when they were 11 or 12. I read that Eddie Izzard has “breast envy”. Apparently, he’s never had a teenage girl who was terrified and overwhelmed by the attention “boobs” draw when they first appear.

Women are more scared than we let on, but right now we’re angry. Extremely angry not only about this murder but after a year of lockdown – when domestic violence has soared – we are not safe going out. We are ruled by the potential of male violence anytime, anywhere, and please, not with the #notallmen lark. Please listen to all women.

The suspect was accused of embarrassing himself at a fast food restaurant late last month. Was that a warning sign? Men talk to other men. Do they call each other at the end of the night and say, “I got home safely without bothering a single woman”? Do they say to each other, “Feel like I could rape someone”? Of course not. But do men have buddies who say things about women that make them uncomfortable and then say nothing? Probably.

Remember serial killer Levi Bellfield who murdered 19-year-old Marsha McDonnell, 22-year-old Amelie Delagrange, and 13-year-old Milly Dowler? His bouncer colleagues later reported that he had said terrible things about women. The alarm bells should have rung. Men should be able to report other men. Still, misogyny is not a hate crime. It’s banter. It’s just the wallpaper we live with. But in almost all cases of murder and rape, and indeed terrorism, there have been warnings, early indications that a man is starting to terrorize women.

Controlling women isn’t just an individual preference, it’s a collective one. How else do we explain that a gathering to express anger and sadness at Sarah Everard on Clapham Common is being blocked by Met Police, who say such a vigil is unlawful, although organizers have made it clear it is wearing a mask, socially distanced event?

Everard’s funeral will also remain unattended except by her close family due to Covid rules. How awful it all is. Fear is now giving way to anger. What happened to the #metoo movement? It faded perhaps because there seemed to be a lot about very famous actors.

That is different. This is about your wife, your daughter, your sister going out in public day and night with the kind of freedom that men take for granted.

For change, we need to talk to our boys about how we can make girls feel safe. We have to say that the urge to have sex is not an uncontrollable force. We have to say that sex without consent is always rape and we have to send men to jail for it. We need to have phone lines for men who feel like they can’t handle their feelings. Men need to judge men and men need to tell other men that hitting a woman is the lowest of the low.

The police will not stop this vigil. It feels like only more men are trying to control us. you don’t understand, do you? Our anger makes us fearless. Our anger is our power. For Sarah and everyone else, we keep it red hot and red hot. The flames are lit. The case of Sarah Everard has fuelled our rage – for her we should keep it red hot

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