It’s 2022. The holiday glimmer has dulled, the new year’s bubbles have flattened. It’s time to return from these technicolour dreams that December-January brings. In March 2021, Sarah Everard was tragically kidnapped, raped, and murdered. In 2021, at least 133 women were lost at the hands of a man. We have lost many more who have taken their own lives as a result of this despicable male violence. Sabina Nessa was murdered on September 13th. And Petra Srncova was found dead on December 5th. This begs the question…has Sarah Everard taught us anything about women’s safety?
The dissipation of the technicolour that comes with January also comes with the disgruntled desire for new goals. There is no question that we are desperate for a change, we cannot, and violence against women should not be happening. According to E A Stanko, women’s reported level of fear of crime is three times higher than their male counterparts. It has been suggested that this can largely be attributed to the normalization of sexual harassment, and sexualisation of women as a whole in society. All of which are usually dismissed as insignificant, or real crimes.
There is no question that we are desperate for a change, we cannot, and violence against women should not be happening.
There are endless travel blogs that talk about women’s safety, and tips for traveling alone as a woman (none for men though!). But are we that naive to think that Sarah Everard wasn’t being aware of her surroundings? Listening to loud music?
When do we actually get to start feeling safer? When will we be fearless?
When will we be able to just walk, as everyone should, to get from point A to point B without worrying about being attacked?
SafeUP asked their users how they felt about walking at night before using SafeUP, 80% reported being fearful, or afraid to go out. I don’t know about you, but if I want to go out and do something, I want to be able to do it, without fear- just ‘do’. Among the copious, and exhaustive lists of travel tips for “female solo travellers”, came many common denominators. However, a few stuck out. ‘Call a friend’, “let someone know where you are going”, “share your travel itinerary”, “share your location”. These differ from the other tips that have been ingrained in us as women- being cognizant of our surroundings, being aware of what we’re wearing, etc. These tips are just as E A Stanko discussed, they create the normalcy of fear of crime as a woman. But what if, we didn’t have this looming fear. What if we could just go from point A to B, without worrying, because someone had your back.
Sarah Everard's friend famously sent her a WhatsApp that said “text me when you get home xx”. Of course, Sarah never got home. You don’t need to have a friend to text, or let someone know where you’re going, or share your travel itinerary, you just do as you do.
Why do women feel so much safer when they have the SafeUP app? Because it isn’t a habit that perpetuates this fear mentality. It is rather a tool that creates a sense of community
Whilst still allowing you to truly be independent and do whatever it is you truly want to do, without having to think too much about it. After SafeUP users downloaded the app, 75% of them felt safer walking at night. There is no way to know if anyone could have truly prevented Sarah Everard's murder, however, it is a tool that we as women can use to strengthen our community.
There is strength in numbers, and a study by Wilson et al. (2009) investigated gender in relation to a sense of community confirms this. The results of the study suggested that greater numbers of women enable a stronger sense of community.
Having tons of women literally at your fingertips, a click away allows for us to create a greater sense of community amongst women. This way we don’t have to wait to text our friend when we make it home safe, we have guardians a click away who we know have our best interests. We create this greater sense of community and reduce the sense of fear that so many women have felt for so long. Be a part of this growing strength and join the community. We encourage each other, we support each other, we got each other's back.