By Molly Rennie
Prompted by the disappearance of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in London, women across the country are urging men to change the way they behave around women.
Claire Barnett, executive director of UN women UK, said: “This is a human rights crisis. It’s just not enough for us to keep saying ‘this is too difficult a problem for us to solve’ – it needs addressing now.”
“We are looking at a situation where younger women are constantly modifying their behaviour in an attempt to avoid being objectified or attacked, and older women are reporting serious concerns about personal safety if they ever leave the house in the dark – even during the daytime in winter.”
This comes after a survey from the UN where UK women reported that 97% of women aged 18 to 24 had experienced sexual harassment. To add to this statistic many women came forward to share their stories of harassment and support others for doing the same.
Men are also taking to social media to ask what they can do to make women feel safer with #NotAllMen trending, replies included: crossing the road when you’re going in the same direction as a women, calling out friends for bad behaviour and trying to get ahead of her so she can see you.
Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, said: “At the root of all this is the normalisation of the idea that a woman’s body in a public place is simply public property and young women just have to put up with it. We have to shatter that normalisation through policy and in the press if we want to change the picture.”
Activists are urging the government to start tackling this issue by having stricter repercussions for people who harass others as well as talking about these issues in schools.