It is some consolation that Wayne Couzens’ guilty plea for the murder of Sarah Everard ensures he will soon receive a punishment the courts deem fitting for his unspeakable crimes.
There will be no drawn-out, painful trial for Sarah’s family and friends to suffer through, at least. However, this is by no means the end for them. They will grieve for her every day for the rest of their lives.
When Couzens is sentenced, a line will be drawn – but only under one small element within the huge issue of women’s safety and the violence towards them ingrained in our society.
Our outrage has faded far too fast
The heartbreaking discovery of Sarah’s kidnapping, rape and murder in March prompted women around the UK to speak more openly than ever before about the sexual assault and harassment they had faced. Many men expressed surprise and shock at the sheer scale of the problem.
We allow ourselves to become apathetic to this issue at our peril. It will not go away by itself; it will escalate. If we do nothing, more women will die just trying to walk home
Women shared traumatic, personal experiences, protested for their rights as best they could, and stood in solidarity with each other and those who had lost their lives – Sarah Everard and so many more before her.
It felt like a significant moment. Women were being seen and heard.
Yet now, even as Couzens faces prison, the momentum behind protecting women’s safety seems to be dwindling. We have already forgotten the devastating stories told. Our outrage has faded far too fast.
We allow ourselves to become apathetic to this issue at our peril. It will not go away by itself; it will escalate. If we do nothing, more women will die just trying to walk home.
Scotland can lead the way on ending violence towards women
Earlier in the year, many politicians and public figures spoke out in support of women and against violence. Nicola Sturgeon posted photos online of a candle she had lit in tribute to Sarah Everard, and spoke of her own fears of walking alone at night.
That there will be few – if any – women who don’t completely understand and identify with this @KateEMcCann thread tells us everything we need to know.
Thinking of Sarah Everard and her devastated family. https://t.co/joEeCpBeYT
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 10, 2021
A great deal of work is required to change our society at its core, and we need our leaders to step up and start the process. To see Scotland leading the way on this would be truly inspiring.
The Voice of the North is The Press & Journal’s editorial stance on what we think is the most important story of the day