Sometimes, reading or listening to the news can make us want to switch off from the world around us. However, it is becoming increasingly important for us to pay attention.
Some of you may be under the impression that in our 21st century world, things have changed. Unfortunately, many of the issues surrounding misogyny and oppression against women still plague our society today.
Our girls are now being taught, 'my body, my choice', 'no means no'. What happens when those voices are ignored? It is all very well teaching our children to believe and say these things with confidence however, sadly their voices are not always heard or respected. The behavior of our society is not yet reflective of the messages we are teaching.
Most recently, you may have been made aware of the death of a schoolgirl in Croydon, Elianne Andam. Elianne tragically lost her life at just age 15, simply by coming to the defence of her friend, who had just rejected the advances of a young boy, aged 17.
Elianne's murder has understandably been a shock, a girl so young murdered by a boy. This has led people to speak out, to raise questions in an attempt to facilitate change. This violence simply cannot continue. At Surge, we are familiar with many opposing views to the protection of women, and surprisingly this does not come solely from men themselves. We are in agreement that it is certainly not all men, but it is all women. We teach our girls from a young age to keep themselves covered whilst boys roam shirtless and free. We teach them it is not safe to walk alone in the dark, to carry our keys, always let someone know where you are, the list is endless. Yet the unspoken reasoning to these teachings does not become apparent until those girls begin to experience the reasons why. Girls continue to experience threat, whether that be through cat-calling in the street, or that the acceptance of a drink on a night out means that girl should go home with them for the night. In some cases, the fear of physical violence by simply saying the word 'no', renders our phrases obsolete. The fear of repercussions leaves many girls and women in the position of saying nothing at all because they feel that their words are not heard, they are not valued or respected and that men hold the physical upper-hand in taking those choices away from them.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has spoken out today regarding the "epidemic of violence against women and girls". Sadiq Khan continued on to say that "Misogyny should be a hate crime". Whilst he has been heavily criticised for some of these views, not only do the statistics support it, but the fear felt by women in our society is becoming increasingly evident.
In the various articles, the Mayor continues on to make some pertinent observations arising from the current crime statistics which indicate that in every 3 days, a woman is killed by a man. He follows on to say, “We’ve got to make sure boys … in primary and secondary schools, in particular, are taught from an early age about how their relationships are affecting girls.". The Mayor also indicates that the police need to be addressing issues of institutional sexism.
However, it is not only the responsibility of the police to address issues of institutional sexism, that responsibility of each and every one of us. Only our behavior can can our society. It is important that each of us take the time to reflect on our own thoughts and opinions and consider whether these are own or whether they are influenced by years of oppression and misogyny.
It is all of our responsibility to change the narrative of our society, to educate our children in the hope that the next generation is able to see a future without living in a fear.