September 24, 2021

Another Woman “Just Walking.”

Sabina Nessa. 28 years old. A primary teacher.

She was walking what should have been just five minutes from home to a pub. She never made it.

Six months ago, Sarah Everard’s name was plastered all over social media. Now, Sabina.

I’m tired of hearing women’s names in the news for doing things we should all feel safe doing.

We hear these stories, and the fear is that it could happen to us. But I don’t want to live my life constantly afraid.

Though this does not compare, I was walking home the other day and three men on bicycles wearing black masks biked up close to me out of nowhere and tried to snatch my phone out of my hands. Luckily, I was holding it tight and they just biked on.

But it made me afraid, and now I take only main roads home and I keep my phone tucked away.

I text my sister where I’m going and when I’m home, and I share my location with my friends, and I hold my keys between my fingers when it’s late and dark outside. We all do this. My new male housemate said he walked home along the canal near our house when it was pitch black at 1 a.m. the other night as if it was nothing.

It is not fair that we cannot do the same.

As I write this, I think about not only the inequalities for and dangers of being a woman in the world, but being a woman of colour, or any person of colour. I think about how I am afraid of walking home alone at night; well, what about those who are afraid of driving their car and being stopped by the police?

What’s more, it took days for Sabina’s name to appear on social media the same way as Sarah Everard’s.

Gabby Petito, another woman who went missing, was also white and beautiful and the Internet has been sleuthing to try and find out what happened to her.

There are thousands of missing Indigenous women who have not gotten the same attention.

I was listening to an episode of the podcast, “My Favourite Murder,” the other day, and they covered the story of murderer Ed Buck who targeted gay Black men and killed them by drugging and overdosing them. If it wasn’t for activist and blogger Jasmyne Cannick who relentlessly pursued the case and drew media attention to it, it may never have been solved and his victims would never have gotten justice.

There is so much power in the media, social media, journalism to help bring people to justice. To shed light on important causes. But we, as consumers and sharers of media, have the power to direct the narrative, too.

I am so sad for Sabina and for her family. I want answers, too.

It was a busy park, how did no one see anything?

Was it a premeditated murder or a stranger or what made this person do what they did? I just don’t understand how this happened.

Why are there men so sick in this world that they enact violence against women?

How can we stop this at the root instead of now trying to change women’s behaviour?

I am going to keep living my life and try to not live in fear despite these awful stories, but I will always remain vigilant.

And that is just the reality of the world we live in.

~

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