The death of Sarah Everard has shown a loss of mutual respect and concern for each other, one that has left women vulnerable and men demonised. We must learn to trust one another again, rather than playing the blame game, argues Wen Wryte.

I'll start with a bold statement: Everard's death had nothing to do with the patriarchy or gender inequalities. It was the result of her being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a human predator decided the time had come to commit assault and murder.

Sarah Everard's death is being propagandised by political activists as being about gender inequalities, a consequence of a patriarchal society that does not care about women. The mass media in the UK is awash with calls to reclaim the streets as if it is possible for women – or anyone else for that matter – to lead a risk-free life.

Yet, a totally risk-free life is impossible, because in avoiding some risks others are created. There is also an elephant in the room in all this, and that is that there is no elephant in the room. There is no simple, straightforward way of protecting women from men who harm, brutalise, rape, and kill.

There used to be a way of (almost) achieving this. That consisted of men respecting women and caring about them so that women did not have to walk home alone; where women did not have to return to an abusive husband; where women did not have to live a life in fear of attacks from predatory males.

It was a time when families cared about daughters to the extent of making sure that they had an escort home when out at night; a time when women who went out were willing to accept that they carried some responsibility for their own safety and took appropriate precautions instead of expecting everyone else to make the world a safe place for them.

But times have changed, and the sexual revolution and women's liberation of the 1960s onwards has resulted in many women today taking the attitude that addressing the issue of violence against women is a uniquely male responsibility.

Write for us.

We're always on the lookout for talented writers and welcome submissions. Please send your opinion piece or pitch to: editor@commentcentral.co.uk

However, undermining that aspiration is that women can become equal to men in all things.

Men and women are fundamentally different, and that is precisely what the demonstrators' rhetoric about male violence against women is announcing, despite the identity politics mantra that there is no material difference between male and female.

The real lesson to be drawn from the tragic and unnecessary death of Sarah Everard is that if we are to foster a culture of caring for and about one another then the social divisiveness of the antagonistic and hostile rhetoric of identity politics must be acknowledged as being one of the factors in inducing an element of withdrawal of good men from the role of being the willing and chivalrous protectors of vulnerable women.  Caring and concern for others is made very difficult when respect is absent from one or both parties.

There was a time when it was drummed into boys and young men that they should respect the opposite sex as protector. This was conduct praised as being gallant and chivalrous. After sixty years of the permissive society, and of aggressive feminism and hostile generalisations about males, it is not difficult to see why this sentiment might not hold the appeal it once had.

It is not the streets that need to be reclaimed. It is the old-fashioned society of courtesy and good manners, of care and concern for others, a society of mutual respect and goodwill. This begins with parenting with parents actually conducting themselves as parents instead "friends" to their children. They must accept that there are gender differences in their roles in socialising their children and give moral training to grow up to be caring, responsible adults.

Which brings us full circle. We live in a divided society characterised by mutually antagonistic identity groups clamouring for preferential advantages to be awarded to them by the state. When those demonstrating about Sarah Everard's death blame all men for not preventing the crimes of the very few who attack women, they are demonstrating a capacity for denial that exceeds their naïveté.

"No man is an island" wrote John Donne, and that applies to women also.  We are all interconnected by the invisible strands of culture, bonding, and belonging. If women wish to be protected by virtuous males from vicious males, they will have to recognise that not all men are predators; that those men who are willing to put themselves in harm's way are being courageous for the benefit of women instead of showing off their male chauvinism. We will need to learn to trust one another again. And that requires goodwill from all involved, instead of playing the blame game.

No society is perfect; no individual is perfect. No life can be risk-free. Bad things sometimes happen.  But by fostering a culture of mutual respect and concern we can live together without acrimony and settle our differences through bringing out the best in one another instead of blaming all men for the crimes of a tiny minority who are in no way representative of men as a group. That way we can learn to trust again and depend upon one another for our mutual safety, instead of grabbing at one-another's throats when tragedy strikes.

17 votes

Sign-up for free to stay up to date with the latest political news, analysis and insight from the Comment Central team.

By entering your email address you are agreeing to Comment Central’s privacy policy