Reclaim these streets-women unite to show strength.

Angelina Leatherbarrow from Romford Labour today writes in the Havering Daily.

Pop quiz- How many of these have you done or said?

Saying “Text me when you get home” when you leave your friend after a night out. Holding your keys between your fingers to use for self defence, taken the longer way round.Pretended to have someone on the phone as you’ve walked alone.Taken a photo of the cab before you get in.Been told to scream “fire” instead of “help” if you are attacked.Taken an additional pair of shoes that you can run in on a night out.

If your score is zero- chances are you are a man.

The terrible truth is that if you ask all the women you know, most if not all, will be able to recall an incident that has happened to them or someone close. We have all experienced fear when out alone at night – or even in daylight and far too many of us have had that fear justified and been the victim of sexual harassment, assault or even worse.

The awful news that human remains have been found in the search for Sarah Everard who went missing on her walk home last week and that a serving police officer has been arrested on suspicion of her murder has once again opened the door for women to speak of their fear of being a victim, or of their already lived experiences of assault or rape. It has also re-opened a bigger debate about women’s safety and how we perceive victims, questioning choices, ‘what was she wearing?’ ‘why was she out that late?’ ‘why did she walk home alone?’.

The hashtag #notallmen is trending. It misses the point entirely; this isn’t the moment for us to make anyone feel less uncomfortable with the reality of womens safety. We know it’s not all men, but any man perpetrating these acts against women is #toomanymen and it is #allwomen who are at risk of becoming a victim.

Angelina Leatherbarrow showing solidarity with women #reclaimthesestreets.

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