OPINION: Predator in Police Uniform

Lyrics for a new Hoamin song: Vigil

Today I saw that a predator in police uniform has been sentenced to life in custody after he coerced a completely innocent woman into his vehicle under false pretences. This man then sexually violated her, killed her and burned her remains before taking his wife and children to stand on the very ground her charred remains had seen just days before.

I feel a small victory on behalf of all women for the fact that, in this case, justice was sought and delivered. That being said, the definition of justice in a case where somebody is tortured and killed unjustifiably is a very strange concept. Does withering away in jail serve as true justice? Does it really amount to rehabilitation or reconciliation with the truth and weight of his actions? Does it change the fact that Sarah Everard is gone? Does it lessen the blow for those who loved her? Does it ensure safety for every other woman who is catcalled, assaulted, kidnapped, stalked and snatched away under false pretences from the streets they’re entitled to walk?

She was just walking home. Fuck.

Today I thought about all the times I’ve been followed home, had slurs slung at me from car windows as people crawl along the road to remain level with me, held keys between my fingers, been followed home from the bus stop, been spat on because I’ve said I’m not interested and been told I’m asking for it, because of the way I’m dressed.

Today, like most days, I seethed inside at the prospect that some people remain blind to the crushing weight of the patriarchy and oblivious to the fear that women, often unbeknownst to them, carry every single day of their lives. We’re so conditioned to be afraid that we take precaution as though it were innate routine, embedded into us before we were even earthside.

They tell you that you’re free and that things have come so far, for women. I tell you that there’s still too much to be done, so excuse the fact I’m tired and angry and despondent, but some progress isn’t enough for me.

I tell you that women are celestial powerhouses that have been respected and idolised since the planet first came to be. I tell you that women have been pulled down from their pedestals and dragged across the fucking floor. I tell you women are capable and proud beings that have been wronged systematically for centuries. I tell you that women are strong, wild creatures that deserve to roam with the same freedoms as their fellow men.

I want radical reform. I want the whole damned world turned on its head. I want actions and consequences. I want the satisfaction of oppressors and criminals feeling the same fear they inflict upon their victims. I want the satisfaction of survivors staring out and feeling some relief in that their abusers are caged up like the uncontrollable Neanderthals they are.

Today I saw that a predator in police uniform has been sentenced to life in custody after he coerced a completely innocent woman into his vehicle under false pretences. Tomorrow is a new day. I wait with bated breath.

OPINION: UK Femicide rates

One of the many reasons I proudly call myself a feminist is because, clearly, there is still so much work to be done in the fight for equality. Gendered violence is still a thing in a “progressive” society like Britain and it shouldn’t be anywhere. We have learned that we must equip young girls to be vigilant because they WILL experience awful things at the hands of men and this is just a known fact of life.

80% of women of all ages have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. On average, every 3 days, a woman is killed by a man in the UK. 62% of those women are killed by current/former partners.

What the fuck?

If you’ve got ovaries, it’s not safe on the streets, but it’s equally not safe in your home either. This is the fundamental message. This is the reason why we need legislative and cultural change.

R.I.P Amy-Lianne Stringfellow, Sarah Everard and all the other women who weren’t given the platform of main headlines💜

For more statistics, visit the Femicide census site.

Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian