South Tyneside women stand in solidarity with doorstep vigil for Sarah Everard
Hundreds took part in a doorstep vigil for Sarah Everard in South Tyneside, as the borough remembered the 33-year-old and called for changes to keep others safe.
The event, organised by Hebburn woman Rebekah O’Connor, saw women across the borough stand in solidarity on Saturday, March 13, as they kept a minute of silence and lit candles in memory of Sarah.
The tribute was followed by four minutes of clapping.
Sarah Everard disappeared while walking home from a friend’s flat in Clapham, South London, on Wednesday, March 3. Her body was found a week later, hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent.
It has prompted a discussion about women’s safety and the organising of virtual and doorstep vigils across the country.
Rebekah said the event in South Tyneside last night was ‘incredibly emotional’ and ‘bitter-sweet’.
"The fact there were women in every street of South Tyneside, making a stand, is just incredible,” she said.
“The minute’s silence was incredibly emotional.
"When we started making noise, it was liberating. We stopped clapping for a moment to see if we could hear anyone else and we could hear claps in the distance.
“There was a tear shed, to be honest.
“It was just a really emotional time, it just felt like we were part of something and Sarah Everard was in all of our thoughts.
Rebekah added it was ‘wonderful’ to see men were also out in the street clapping.
She continued: “While it was great to hear people clapping, it was bitter-sweet, because it’s horrendous it’s taken something like this to bring about this kind of movement.
“It was heartbreaking but when we started making noise it felt like it was time for something special to happen.
A march and vigil is being planned once lockdown restrictions are eased, with the organisers sending their thoughts to Sarah’s family and friends.
Rebekah said: “All of South Tyneside’s thoughts are with Sarah’s family and friends. I can’t even begin to comprehend what they’re going through.”