The Catalyst of Several Truths

Trigger Warning: Mentions of rape, sexual assault, war, discrimination and abuse.

Carolina Abdo

It has almost been 2 moths since the disappearance of Sara Everard, a young woman from the UK simply walking home from Clapham to Brixton. Sarah Everard became an emblem of the sick, and abhorrent, misogynic behaviour lingering on the streets of the UK. This attitude towards women has been a rhythmic recurrence, and there has been several cases similar to Sara Everard, so what has made her an agitator for a modern feminist movement? Everard’s case has validated the harsh truth that women should feel vulnerable when alone in London, and this is apparent in the statistics; A UN Women report found that 97% of women aged between 18-24 had experienced some kind of harassment, while 80% of women across the age categories had experienced it in public spaces. Everard’s fate struck a chord and gained such great media attention as she was quite simply an ordinary girl; she was a white young girl living in central London.

Yet it must be noted and recognised that women of colour experience both racialized and sexual harassment and, devastatingly women of colour’s stories gain a lot less coverage by the media. In fact, this harassment against people of colour is rooted in history, for example, US occupation in Asian countries following the Philippine-American War, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, implemented local sex industries and sex trafficking rings to serve soldiers. And the sexual assault apposed on black women became normalised during slavery in the United States, as a weapon of domination” which only fed the male chauvinism and racism. “New York-based human rights organisation, finds that 60% of black girls and women report having experienced coercive contact of a sexual nature” by the age of 18”, just this alone illustrates that this is not just a one-off historic event, its nature has bled into contemporary society. However, even though this double standard is screaming in our ears, any movement against social injustice is, of course, good movement. And Sara Everard’s case has been a catalyst of several truths told by many women, especially young girls.

Everyone’s Invited is an online platform where women can anonymously share their testimonies of rape, sexual assault, abuse (mental, physical, verbal or sexual), as I am writing this article 15,919 testimonies have been uploaded. This not only delineates the product of trivializing these actions, but also the bravery and power present in every woman. Everyone’s Invited in no way is condoning cancel culture, and does not intend to cancel all men, their ethos is simply focused on healing, educating and eradicating rape and assault culture to create a new future for the current and next generation of women.

Reading Everyone’s Invited sparked sadness, annoyance, cold-sweat and exasperation. Oftentimes, below the testimonies were schools that these vile misogynistic acts took place. Latymer, Westminster Kings College, Eton, Wimbledon High School, were just a few of the culprits. People I know attend these schools, both girls and boys; my mind began to spin. The source of this misogynistic and sexist behavior derives from the lack of education in private schools. There is a lack of awareness, understanding and consequence enforced by figures in private schools, this manifests into women suppressing their stories and experiences, which takes a mental toll on a young woman, until finally a platform such as Everyone is Invited comes along, and women can reveal their testimonies, anonymously of course.

Sara Everard is not only an emblem of sexual assaults against women, but she is an emblem of the time when young girls, of any background, living in London took it upon themselves to eradicate rape and sexual assault culture, defended and obtained the Streets of London.