The chilling reality behind six-word text message

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·4-min read

Text me when you get home.

It's a simple message we've all received from a worried loved one when parting with friends after a night out.

But now in the wake of the horrific murder of Sarah Everard in the UK, women are using the six simple words to reveal the reality of how unsafe they feel in their daily lives.

Ms Everard's body was found last week after she disappeared while walking home from a friend's house at night on March 3.

A Metropolitan Police officer was charged with the kidnap and murder of the 33-year-old as her remains were found in a builder's bag in the woods.

In a haunting post online, Instagram influencer Lucy Mountain detailed the reality for women walking at night, saying they have all shared live locations, changed their shoes, held keys between their fingers, made either real or fake phone calls, tucked their hair into their coats, ran down dark roads and theorised escape routes.

Undated family handout of missing woman Sarah Everard.
Sarah Everard disappeared while walking home from a friend's house on March 3. Source: AAP

Women must be 'hyper-conscious of safety'

"I feel like my words can't do justice to how many women are feeling right now," she said in an Instagram post.

"I haven't been able to stop thinking about Sarah Everard and how a woman was not allowed to walk home. It's unbearable.

"I've also felt a deep sense of connection between myself and other women this week. I've had conversations about how being hyper-conscious of our safety is just something we've done throughout our entire lives.The deep sense of connection is one of fear."

Ms Mountain added the safety precautions women took were "insidious" because they were just engrained behaviours women had picked up since they were young because because "that's just the way it is".

"Text me when you get home is a standard procedure amongst women. Auto-pilot," she said in the powerful post.

"I wish more men understood that we cannot walk alone at night with headphones in.

"That whenever we get in Ubers, there’s the lingering thought this could be it. That whenever you say ‘they’re just being friendly’, you are part of the problem.

"That whenever we walk past groups of men, our heart beats a little bit faster. That whenever we shout back at sexual harassment in the street, we take yet another gamble at risking our safety."

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Ms Mountain ended her post with a poignant plea to people to stop harassing women and victim-blaming, and stated women should be allowed to walk home.

The influencer's post resonated with women around the world, with one tweeting she and her friends take the safety precautions without even thinking twice.

"No one sleeps till the last person is home in the taxi," the woman wrote on Twitter.

"To be honest, I started to cry reading ‘we have all tucked our hair into our coats’. I thought this was just me! How devastating," another said on Instagram.

Australia protests gendered violence

Outrage over Ms Everard's death comes as people in Australia are protesting to demand action on gendered violence in the wake of rape allegations that have rocked Parliament House.

Tens of thousands of people across the country took part in the March4Justice rally that Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to attend.

Mr Morrison said the march was a "triumph of democracy".

Protesters hold up signs during the Women's March 4 Justice in Canberra.
Prostesters during the March 4 Justice rally in Canberra. Source: AAP

"Not far from here such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not here in this country," he said.

Mr Morrison's speech fired up Labor leader Anthony Albanese who had attended the rally with a strong contingent of party colleagues, along with the Greens and independents.

"What I saw outside was passionate women who are angry," he said.

"They are angry about what's happened to them, they're angry about what's happened to their mothers, their grandmothers, their sisters, their daughters and their granddaughters."

Women's March4Justice founder Janine Hendry said the prime minister's offer of a meeting with just three women was not enough.

with AAP

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