Women Should be able to Walk Alone in 2021

On the night Sarah Everard’s body was found I went to bed thinking about Sarah and how every woman I know struggles to walk alone or exist anywhere. Every woman I know has a story about a man who has verbally and physically harassed them. Sometimes it was online, on a date, while sharing a bed with a friend, while walking home, on a night out; women are just existing at home or outdoors and violence or abuse happens.

Sometimes when I think about things, poems or rhymes start to form in my head and I shared this one on a video on Instagram and a few people asked for a written copy so I’d share this here.

Let Women Walk Alone

They tell us don’t walk alone, 

Hide away your phone, 

Hold your key, 

Be ready to flee.

It could happen in a park or an alley, 

A festival, the tube or a rally, 

Is there no where that we can be safe? 

To just exist outside our homes, 

Without wondering whether we have our phones 

At the ready, 

In case it occurs 

The thing we dread, the man that lures

Behind us on our walk home, 

In the bus, the club, they roam 

About to scare us, even if they don’t act 

Because to them it’s nothing but fact, 

Women were asking for it, for doing that. 

80% of all women are harassed

And yet no one asked, 

If they were stopped, 

Labelled and dropped 

By their friends, when in no in fact 

Some were complicit in that. 

There still out there, 

They lurk and stare, 

It’s not a joke, 

Just because that bloke, 

You saw on TV 

Went free. 

As what about she?

Are we not free? 

We don’t feel it. 

They tell us don’t go out at night 

You might receive a fright 

For the monsters aren’t under the bed 

They’re sometimes inside your head 

But mostly they live among us 

Being kind and nice, because 

They think they can have you 

No matter what you do 

Or what you say 

They sometimes don’t go away. 

You recite it in your head 

The rules that scare you in tucked up In bed: 

Don’t look you might provoke them, 

Don’t run you might provoke them, 

Don’t wear that, you’ll provoke men. 

People say well not all men, 

Then men begin to thank them, 

As though some are good, others bad 

But then some of them are a dad 

They are a brother or a son 

And each of them has a Mum. 

It’s not your fault men aren’t taught to wait 

Aren’t taught to hold back their mate 

Instead they watch as they think it’s fun 

As you speed up, then begin to run. 

But before she’s your gal, 

Or your pal, 

She exists like you and me 

She’s wasn’t made for you to touch or see. 

Don’t say her name, 

Or some other refrain, 

That you’ll think she’ll like 

When what she’d like 

Is for you to cross the street and show your face 

Hang back on your pace, 

Give us some space, 

avert your gaze 

Because this isn’t a phase,  

Women are always at risk, 

We are not safe to just exist 

Or do things the normal way 

The world reminds us every day, 

We have to shrink, to hide, to cower 

To cover up and at the hour

Stay indoors 

Because supposedly you are safe upon these floors

But that’s not true for all of us. 

It’s hard to understand if you are a man, 

It doesn’t always cross your mind, because usually you can, 

Live a life without fear, anxiety or doubt 

That someone will grab you, hurt you or worse, 

Because they see taking your life more valuable than just your purse. 

I know some men are attacked like us, 

And I would not minimise your pain, 

There are men that do this, 

Then they ask for us to forgive, 

Because it’s just how they are, 

But spare us your far, 

Far, flung lies

Keep up your flies 

And hold your head in shame, 

Don’t fight it or tell us to frame 

Our opinions, because it wasn’t forced 

As no means no, 

Not not yet, 

Not no of course. 

Until you hear us, you spare us, you get it, 

We will be afraid, we will stay together 

In light and dark, in every weather. 

And all the while we wonder if we did something wrong, 

All because we wore a thong 

Or maybe we didn’t. Perhaps we were a match 

But that doesn’t meant you can attach

Graphic photos and ask us to reply 

As really all we do is sigh 

That yet again we’ve found another rotter. 

Don’t take what isn’t yours 

Don’t follow women through doors, 

Leave them be, let them go home, 

Let them feel safe, let them walk alone.

Read more about women’s issues here.

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