By Emma Dooney
‘Reclaim These Streets’ vigils are being held all over the UK this weekend, in light of the horrifying disappearance of Sarah Everard last week.
Inspired by ‘Reclaim The Night’, an annual feminist march that started in 1977, the events aim to raise awareness of women’s safety in society and pay respects to the life of Sarah Everard.
The 33-year-old marketing executive went missing on her walk home from a friend’s house in Clapham, London, on 3rd March. A Metropolitan Police officer was arrested six days later on suspicion of kidnap. On 10th March, he was further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure. Human remains were discovered by police in a wooded area of Kent.
A UK police officer was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering a London woman who disappeared while walking home.#SarahEverard was 33.Human remains have been found in the search. The case has sparked outcry: "We should not feel afraid to walk the streets." pic.twitter.com/DizGKwM90CMarch 11, 2021
The original ‘Reclaim These Streets’ vigil will take place in Clapham Common, where Everard walked before she disappeared. Organizers of the event explained that the vigil is for Everard as well as all other women who feel unsafe in society.
Streets should be safe for women regardless of what we wear, where we live or what time of day or night it is. Join our socially-distanced vigil on Clapham Common at sunset this Saturday & we'll #ReclaimTheseStreetsSign up, share & invite your friends: https://t.co/RY7jCeagz6 pic.twitter.com/439APiz47BMarch 10, 2021
‘We believe that streets should be safe for women, regardless of what you wear, where you live, or what time of day or night it is. We shouldn’t have to wear bright colors when we walk home and clutch our keys in our fists to feel safe,’ they said on the event’s Facebook page.
The organizers also criticized the Met Police’s initial response to the disappearance, which included advising women in Clapham to stay inside after dark.
‘It’s wrong that the response to violence against women requires women to behave differently...Women are not the problem.’
The vigil, which will commence at 6pm at the bandstand of Clapham Common on Saturday, is open to all members of the public. Attendees are advised to observe social distancing, wear a mask and bring a light to remember all the women who have been harmed by gender-based violence.
A number of other ‘Reclaim These Streets’ events have been organized across the country for people who are not based in London. Vigils for Everard will be held at various locations in the UK, including Glasgow, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Leeds, Southampton, Cambridge and Liverpool.
Those who cannot attend any of the organized events are encouraged to observe a doorstep vigil by lighting a candle on their front porch or in their window.
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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