What it’s actually like to be a woman scared to walk alone through Lenton

Happy International Women’s Day, I guess?

Whilst currently living through a pandemic, there is another epidemic that has always been lurking in the darkness (quite literally) that is yet to go away – sexual harassment of women.

The recent, horrifying news of the disappearance of 33 year-old Sarah Everard has resurfaced common, daily and recurrent fears faced by many women. 97% of all young women to be exact.

Undoubtedly, this means that most of your mates have had to keep looking over their shoulder on the walk home, prayed they’d be able to send the “I’m home x” text, strategically plan where they would run to if they needed help on their route home or who would hear them if they had to scream.

For us girls living in Lenton, I’m sure that some of these experiences have hit home. Every time a new post like this appears on Buy and Sell the anxiety heightens a little. It is ingrained in us that you should never walk home from Crisis by yourself if you wanted to leave a little earlier than your friends and that we should be a part of the Notts Safe Space group chat just in case we need to warn each other about recent harassments. Funny how most boys didn’t have to go through this part of the induction to Uni though.

Now, the conversation isn’t about what more women can do to be safer. We shouldn’t have to sign the petitions to ask for more street lighting or invest in a rape alarm or pepper spray. We need men to be educated and increase the conversation on what THEY can do to help women feel safer.

Talk to your friends. I’m not saying 100% of men are to blame for the threat to women’s safety, but they should be responsible for making an effort and having the necessary conversations the recent news has sparked.

The days following International Women’s Day have seen a woman be branded as a liar for speaking out about her mental health and women sharing their experiences of constant safety fears following the disappearance of Sarah Everard. This is not how it should have been.

Come June 21st, I want to stroll home from my long-awaited night out with the only thought being that I had THE best time and not what horrors I could encounter on my route home.