Opinion: Sarah Everard’s death reminded me I am at risk for simply being a woman.

Sadly, Sarah Everard’s story is nothing new, writes Lillie Rohan. Photo / Herald Network Graphic Warning: Content may be distressing.
OPINION:
I like to check in an hour before my flight departs. It’s the same every time and last Friday was no different.
Except that last Friday while I sat in the airport, I scrolled Instagram and came across the “Text me when you’re home xx” post by Lucy Hamilton, a UK personal trainer.
If you haven’t read the post, it is Lucy’s heartbreaking take on Sarah Everard’s alleged murder.
While I waited in the airport, I read Lucy’s words and I fell down a rabbit hole of news articles about Sarah’s alleged murder. During the flight I tried writing this article, because Sarah’s death was too close to home. It hit a raw nerve.
Sarah’s alleged killer was a police officer.
Someone who was meant to protect her.
Someone who should have kept her safe.
The person who allegedly killed Sarah is, disappointingly, a male and one who allegedly indecently exposed himself in a McDonald’s before Sarah’s death. Reports claim police turned a blind eye to this, failing Sarah yet again.
When the world’s sisterhood talk of Sarah, they are wrapped in a blanket of grief for a woman whom most have not met but can empathise with because they too have expected to be able to walk home safely.
Their grief is because they are here, alive, and Sarah is not.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “shocked” about Sarah’s death – but why is he shocked when this happens to women so often?
Any parent, grandparent, partner, sibling, or friend will know that Sarah’s death doesn’t come as a shock because it’s in a woman’s DNA to intuitively look over her shoulder, always.
Before I moved to Auckland, typically, Dad told me never to walk home alone in the dark because you don’t know who is lurking around. I listened to him because I’m an overthinker and he instilled fear in me.
While I may be wary about walking home, this does not mean the risks and dangers end there.
It can be as simple as meeting someone for a drink on a Tinder date, like Grace Millane did. It could be breaking up with your boyfriend like Sophie Elliott did or lending a man a helping hand like Nicole Tuxford did.
Like many young women, I go clubbing, to festivals, and parties, therefore I am at risk – like every woman who has been raped or sexually assaulted in social gatherings where your only expectation is to have a good time.
Like every female, I am at risk for simply being who I am.
Women make up most of the victims of violent crime in New Zealand, with the overwhelming majority of the offenders being men. And devastatingly, the more violent the assault, the more likely the victim is female.
This is why women are taught to have a precaution checklist, one that includes: never leave your drink unattended, always let someone know where you are during a date, do not walk home alone at night, hold your keys between your fingers, and so, so many others.
Women are raised to fear for their safety, which is why the “text me when your home” text is so commonly found in a female’s phone.
It’s why Sarah Everard’s alleged murder, just like Grace Millane’s and Sophie Elliott’s, has hit a raw nerve.
If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on: 0800 044 334 or text 4334.
Alternatively, contact your local police station.
If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.