Whilst those who know me well would probably describe me as somewhat opinionated it is rare that I feel so animated, angry, desperately saddened and motivated to the point that I feel compelled to put my thoughts into writing, this however is such a time.
Having watched and listened along with the majority of Britons and many others around the world to the tragic events unfolding before our eyes concerning Sarah Everard surely we must all finally confront and effectually challenge male violence, misogyny and the environment we have allowed to continue and ferment in which these atrocities flourish.
It is us and every aspect and element of our attitudes, our society and societies that we must address from the casual allowance of derisory and derogatory comment toward women and girls to the actual embodiment of psychological and physical violence that currently permeates our society at sickening levels.
Our media and press downplay violence towards women, they trivialise or worse sometimes dismiss sexist and misogynistic attitudes and acts. Our tabloids objectify women through both imagery and the written word and through our continuing tacit consent and lack of address this all continues unchallenged.
The awful events we have seen in recent days are the tip of the iceberg. Women daily are being subjected to coercive and intimidating behaviour by their partners. I know of women that aren’t allowed their own bank accounts, can’t come and go freely without accusation of inappropriate behaviour and live in constant fear of displeasing the men in their lives. I have personally known a number of women that have suffered domestic violence, rape, having their independence and confidence crushed repeatedly and constantly undermined to the point where they question their own sanity.
We as men need to self-examine and hold ourselves to account. We need to appreciate the women in our lives and our wider society and treat them as in most cases more than equals (I’ll explain this more later). We need to stop the objectification of women and treat it with the contempt it deserves calling it out whenever we encounter it and addressing the circumstances that allow it to exist.
Having grown up with my mother in the absence of my father my surroundings were predominately populated by women and I consider myself privileged by this. My mother and most of her friends were highly educated, strong-minded, successful in every way one might describe success and didn’t rely on men to validate them. Some had suffered the intimidation and violence mentioned earlier but had evolved and seen it for what it was. As a result of growing up in this environment I became both respectful of the opposite sex and have never felt threatened by women who are bigger and better than me in any way. This I feel is where the root of the problem lies with most men who disrespect women.
Many men are insecure and egocentric which is where I believe many of the fundamental problems with the male psyche and subsequent attitudes and behaviour toward women stem from. It is us men who must confront and challenge ourselves, we must acknowledge and address the drivers deep within ourselves that are devoid of morality, decency and humanity. We must effect change in ourselves and in turn effect the necessary changes in our society. We cannot allow the climate and atmosphere, the attitudes and behaviours that culminated in this recent tragic loss of life to perpetuate any longer.
We have seen successful prosecutions for rape fall to an all time low (my God they were pitiful before this). We are seeing horrific levels of domestic violence exacerbated by the current lockdown. We witness daily the verbal and attitudinal abuse of women all around us and it is time for us to stop our inactivity, our procrastination and to be a power for good.
Please, please join me in making a difference from this moment on so that every person in our society has the opportunity to live their lives to the full and without fear, intimidation or violence.