“Text me when you get home xxx’ is a standard procedure amongst women. Auto-pilot,” Mountain wrote. “A woman should have been allowed to walk home,” she added. The comments on the post were heartbreaking, with women sharing how this fear has impacted the ways in which they do everyday tasks. It prompted women to also share their experiences on Twitter using the hastags #textmewhenyougethome and #ReclaimTheStreets to emphasize the need to address gender-based violence.
It’s not all men, but every woman has a similar story or has a story from a friend, family member, or acquittance. According to a report released by UN Women, 97% of women between the ages of 18-24 have been sexually harassed in the U.K., 96% of whom did not report incidents. In the U.S., a report following the #MeToo movement found that more than 77% of women had experienced verbal sexual harassment while at least 51% had been sexually touched without their permission. Additionally, about 41% said they had been sexually harassed online, and 27% shared that had survived sexual assault.
Sarah Everard was just trying to walk home. Her story sheds light on the fear women around the world live in daily. It reminds us that we must make our society safer for everyone. Gender-based violence will only end when people acknowledge the statistics and take action. Yes, it’s not all men, but women should not have to be told to walk with a male friend to feel safe. Sexual assaults are not just committed by strangers: Two out of three sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Additionally, 38% of rapists are considered a friend or acquaintance by the victim.
Violence against women is a widespread phenomenon and a human rights violation. Walking with a man beside you is not the solution. We must find ways to make society safer for everyone regardless of race, gender, identity, or sexual orientation. “Text me when you get home” should not be a habitual phrase you say out of fear for the safety of your friends and loved ones.