'Text me when you get home'.
Every woman you know has sent this or received this at one point in their life. It looks innocent, a caring friend reaching out to ensure you get home safe, but women across the world have begun to use the text as a rallying cry for an end to gendered violence.
An Instagram post using a screenshot of the message has gone viral in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, a UK woman who was murdered walking home in South London.
Sarah's murder has prompted an outpouring of grief and anger across England and the world, while in Australia, recent allegations of rape inside parliament house have intensified the outrage.
The text message has been used as a chilling reminder of where the culture is at, beautifully articulated by personal trainer Lucy Mountain, who shared the viral Instagram post that has racked up almost 3 million likes in a matter of days, with millions sharing the image to their own social media accounts as an act of protest.
"I don’t even know how to word this because I feel like my words can’t do justice to how many women are feeling right now," Lucy began the 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," she continued.
"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."
"We have all shared our live locations.
"We have all changed our shoes.
"We have all held our keys between our fingers.
"We have all made phone calls, both real and fake.
"We have all tucked our hair inside our coats.
"We have all ran down dark roads.
"We have all theorised our escape routes."
Lucy went on to point out that these actions don't even feel like 'special safety tools', rather ingrained behaviour, and called on men to consider the part they part in this culture.
"‘Text me when you get home xxx’ is a standard procedure amongst women," she wrote. "Auto-pilot."
"I wish more men understood the fact 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.
"Stop harassing women.
"Stop victim-blaming women.
"And stop burdening women with the weight of other men’s actions. ⠀
"A woman should have been allowed to walk home."
Hundreds of thousands of people, women and men, took to the comments to express solidarity.
"I stand with all of you but I wish it was never needed," one person wrote. "I really hope this can change forever and it sadly we need to keep shouting for those in the back. I will also raise my voice and correct other men. We need to move forward together."
"This explains everything we feel so well," one woman wrote. "Thank you."
"Nearly cried reading this, those words were perfect but sad it was truth," another agreed.
Sarah Everard's murder
Sarah Everard, 33, was a marketing executive from South London, her family remembered her as 'bright and beautiful — a wonderful daughter and sister' in a statement released through the police.
She had just begun a new job and was seeing someone new, The New York Times reporting she was eagerly awaiting post-pandemic life.
Sarah been at a friend's house in Clapham, south London, on March 3 in the hours before she went missing while walking home.
An officer with the Metropolitan Police Department was charged with her murder and kidnapping.
Vigils were held across the world in light of the murder, though in London they descended into violent scenes after police shut down the gathering with force over its violation of coronavirus safety laws.
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