Only real change will stop crimes like Sarah Everard death: West Ham MP

Lyn Brown official photo

West Ham MP Lyn Brown - Credit: Lyn Brown

My heart breaks for the family of Sarah Everard.

They endured the shock and devastation of the disappearance, the dreadful hope that maybe this was “just” an abduction and prayed fervently that she would be found safe and sound, soon followed by the crushing despair when that final piece of hope was cruelly destroyed.

Sarah Everard disappeared in Clapham on March 3.

Sarah Everard disappeared while walking home in Clapham on March 3. Her body was found in Kent woodland on March 10. - Credit: Metropolitan Police

Women all across the world will relate to this story. Sarah Everard’s abduction and murder has led to women talking about our experiences and how we feel unsafe.

We carry our keys in our hands as some kind of weapon or protection, we cross streets when there are footsteps behind us, we go up garden paths waiting and hoping that the man behind will pass us by, we drive round and around hoping and praying that the figure standing outside our home will move on soon so we can get out of the car and go inside.

Like most other women, this has been me, my whole life long.

We drive our friends home and wait for their doors to open so we know they are safely inside, or we chat to them on their mobile phone as they walk, getting them to text to say they’ve arrived safely even if they are driving themselves and arriving at an empty home.

It is so clear, that like many other murders, both domestic and stranger, that the devastating, emotional impact extends to our friends, neighbours and communities.

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We know this from our experiences in Newham as we hold too regular vigils for those we have lost.

Only real change will stop crimes like this from happening again and again.

Over the coming weeks I will be working with colleagues to look at how the law can be improved to highlight and prevent crimes of misogyny, to protect and to provide justice for women like Sarah, for other women in desperate domestic situations, and for all our children caught up in the exploitation by criminal gangs.

  • Lyn Brown is MP for West Ham