FEATURE: Why Are Women Unsafe?: A Deeper Look Into Violence Against Women Around The World

By Ellie Fletcher – International Affairs Editor

The tragic murder of Sarah Everard sent shockwaves across the continents. Everards’ death sparked a movement that encouraged women to share their own experiences from all around the world. The World Health Organization reports that one in three women will experience some form of sexual assault; in numbers that is around 736 million women. Moreover, one in four of 15-24 year olds in a relationship will experience some form of violence from their partner. The question is: why as a society are we allowing this to continue?

Following the tragic death of 33 year old Sarah Everard on the 3rd of March 2021, women around the world took to social media to share their stories. One of the biggest trends was of women showing what they were wearing when they were assaulted. This not only highlighted there is a global failure to protect women, but proved that men already had the incentive to attack women regardless of what they were wearing. The statistic of 99% of women experiencing some form of sexual assault was a startling reminder that there was a reason most women do not feel safe walking the streets on their own. The argument that ‘it’s not all men’ has no real standing anymore; it is enough that the statistics of violence against women are as high as they are. Men need to understand the issues and unite with women to fight against the prevalence of sexual assault against women.

Sarah Everard was raped and murdered by MET Police Officer Wayne Couzens sparking international outrage; calls have been made for MET Police’s Chief, Cressida Dick, to resign.

On October 8th, 20 year old Brandon Freyre attacked, assaulted, and strangled a woman unconscious. The woman escaped after being thrown down a flight of stairs. Following the attack, Freyre was arrested and protests in support of the victim were sparked around the University of Delaware, which Freyre attended. This attack demonstrates that these assailants believe they are entitled to treat women as their own personal property. This mindset needs to change! This emphasizes how important education is to prevent these attacks, and that, if we teach younger generations why these attacks happen, maybe we can prevent them from being committed in the future.

Globally, violence against women has a disproportionate effect on women in lower and lower-middle income countries according to the UN. Additionally fewer than 40% of women who experience any form of violence seek help. These statistics are staggering. Sarah Everard’s murder, and the failures of the MET Police, have highlighted why this is the case. People do not feel safe going to the police for help; these figures may indicate why men feel they are free to attack and harass women: They know they are unlikely to be prosecuted.

However, there is also the question of what behaviour can intimidate people. Grabbing a woman is not appropriate, catcalling is a form of street harassment, and Crossing the street to follow or be near a woman can be intimidating. All of these examples seem to exemplify the reasons women do not feel safe. It remains clear that there needs to be an attitude change, especially in the approach to legislation designed to keep women safe around the world.

Editorial Note:

If you’ve been affected by the contents of this article, or wish to speak to a professional about your trauma, you can reach the following organisations at these addresses:

Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline in Northern Ireland:

Phone: 0808 802 1414
Website: dsahelpline.org

Lifeline:

Phone: 0808 808 8000
Website: lifelinehelpline.info

Woman’s Aid – Domestic Violence Support Service:

Phone: 028 9024 9041
Website: womensaidni.org

The Rowan Centre – Sexual Assault Referral Centre/SARC:

Phone: 0800 389 4424
Website: therowan.net

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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