Lockdown end offers hope after a terrible week - Karen Koren

Is it too good to be true – will we be fully open by July? Nicola’s roadmap out of lockdown sounds amazing.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 7:00 am
A woman in Writer's Square, Belfast, taking part in a demonstration against gender violence and to defend the right to protest following the murder of Sarah Everard and subsequent police actions at a vigil in London. Picture date: Tuesday March 16, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Reclaim. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

We can finally go to the hairdressers at the beginning of April and it won’t be long before we can be in a beer garden, having a drink with friends.

It’s strange, though, it’s hard to take it all seriously, so many times over the past year have we thought that we were almost back to normal, only to be disappointed.

By January of this year we were in a worse position than we were last autumn. Seeing is believing, I suppose, so I will wait and see if life goes back to as it was pre-Covid.

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A woman in Writer's Square, Belfast, taking part in a demonstration against gender violence and to defend the right to protest following the murder of Sarah Everard and subsequent police actions at a vigil in London. Picture date: Tuesday March 16, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Reclaim. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

So much has changed over this year. Most people have been careful and listened to the rules, hoping for a stronger and better future.

It was, therefore, shocking to see women thrown to the ground and handcuffed by the police on Clapham Common during a peaceful vigil over the memory of Sarah Everard on Saturday evening.

What happened to Sarah was horrific, all the more so as she was walking home at 9pm in a lit-up area.

It is understandable that women felt they had to make the statement, that they do not feel safe walking alone at night.

Sarah was the same age as my daughter and I feel for her family and friends and for all the women that felt they had to go to Clapham Common on Saturday evening.

It’s even worse when you think of the Rangers fans taking to the streets of Glasgow just over a week ago, in their thousands setting off flares and being allowed to do it. No police knocking them to the ground or applying handcuffs.

It just seems to be one rule for men and another for women. It seems that Sarah’s kidnapping and murder has touched a raw nerve with many women and are recognising that we should not have to feel scared walking home.

So many women and girls have been harassed, degraded, catcalled, assaulted, raped and exposed to.

It’s time for it to be recognised and for something to be done to change things.