Doorstep vigil planned for Sarah Everard as South Tyneside women unite in solidarity over harassment
A doorstep vigil will be held tomorrow evening as women come together to call for a stop to harassment and to remember Sarah Everard.
The event is being organised by Hebburn woman Rebekah O’Connor and will see communities across South Tyneside invited to show solidarity with Sarah’s friends and family.
The 33-year-old former Durham University student and York woman disappeared while walking home from a friend’s in Clapham, London, on Wednesday, March 3.
Police investigating confirmed on Friday, March 12, that a body found in a Kent woodland is Sarah, with a serving Metropolitan Police officer arrested on suspicion of kidnap and murder still being questioned.
The case has prompted discussions about the safety of woman, harassment by men on the streets and the steps women feel they must take to reduce the risk of being targeted.
As plans came together and were shared via social media by Rebekah, 31, women shared their own experiences about their daughters being verbally and physically attacked, including a recent sex assault which happened during the day on one of Hebburn’s busiest roads, which has since been reported to police.
The event will see people invited to clap on their doorsteps at 6.15pm tomorrow, Saturday, March 13, and can be followed via the Reclaim the Streets - South Tyneside event page.
A march and vigil is being planned once lockdown eases, with the organisers sending their thoughts to Sarah’s loved ones following news of her tragic death.
"This isn’t just problem that happens in London, it’s happening right here,” said Rebekah, who lived closed to where Sarah went missing while living in London and is organising the event with the help of sister Emily O’Connor, 28.
“This is not just for women, it’s for men and children to come together and show solidarity with women and men across the country who have been assaulted.
"It’s to send out that strong message of support for Sarah’s family, but also show that we need to educate people and call out this behaviour.
“I hope it will just raise awareness to show how women feel and hopefully understand why they might feel unsafe.”
Since the vigil event was confirmed, Hebburn Martial Arts Gym has offered to run self defence classes, while South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has lent it her support.