The brutal murder of Sarah Everard has shocked everybody in the country and it can’t be a surprise to anyone that the response to it was immediate, passionate and angry. The women who came out on to Clapham Common with candles and flowers to show their anger and sorrow, were acting on behalf of everybody who had heard the news about the murder and was moved and horrified by it. But then the police, having been briefed by Priti Patel, decided to disperse their gentle vigil with unnecessary violence and their actions made the situation infinitely worse. The pictures of a group of bulky policemen pulling a girl to the ground and kneeling on her, were deeply shocking.
But it has led us all to a turning point. Women everywhere are saying it is a disgrace in our day and age that a woman can’t walk down the street without being verbally or physically abused and that it can’t be tolerated any more. They’re quite right, as the majority of us know very well but it has led to newspapers generalising about these awful things and talking and writing as though all men are violent towards women and it has to be said that not all men are violent towards women and there are women who are violent too, towards their children, the animals that have the misfortune to be in their care and old people.
Most men are loving and gentle and are as appalled at the violence shown by other men to women passing by on the street and by police on duty to women daring to protest. These things are an abomination and we should all, men and women alike, be opposing them.
For violence is an expression of extreme hatred and most adults who show it have been brought up in such a way that they are full of negative and destructive emotions, jealousy, hatred, and even, terrible though it is to say it, being spoilt brats. For the spoilt brat feels it may do as it pleases and if it is full of hatred that it has every right to express it.
And before anyone tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about – as they well might – let me tell you all that I lived for the first nineteen years of my life with a violent abuser and that it was not male. It was female and as I watched her very carefully all through that time, I gradually learnt what made her tick and why she was so uncontrollably violent. I also know after such a childhood, that these badly warped characters can’t be changed by a law, although the law can be the start of change. They also need to be required to face the people they really are and be brought to the point when they sincerely want to change, and that would take very skilled psychiatric treatment, which would probably need to go on for a considerable time.
There is a job ahead of all of us and we are all involved in it now. And if I’m being provocative then so be it.