OPINION: I Am Part of the 97%


Araceli De La Torre Marin, OwlFeed News Managing Editor

Sarah Everard, went missing on March 3rd after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, London, to walk home.

Everard did everything that women are told to do while walking alone—she was wearing bright clothes, chose a public route, and called her boyfriend as she walked. It shouldn’t be something that we need to do or worry about. But that didn’t change the fact that her body was found a week later in Kent woodland forest.

Everard’s death struck home for many social media users, sparking a worldwide movement.

There was a study that was announced shortly after the disappearance and death of Everard, which has inspired women across the globe to share their own stories of sexual assault or harassment under the hashtag #97percent. Women across the globe went to TikTok to share what they were wearing at the time of their assault or harassment. While others addressed the assertion that “not all men” are predators.  


We do agree that not every man is a sexual predator. Matter of fact, we know that certain men are good, friendly, respectful, and considerate people who are socially and sexually responsible. We know that there are men who trust and listen to women as they speak about their daily fears, rather than dismissing them as hysterical or overreactions. 


However, some people suddenly go on the defensive, as if we were accusing all males of being sympathizers for rape culture or, worse, real rapists. That is not what is happening. 


When women report it, they often aren’t believed or the case is cast aside. Or some say, “We don’t want to ruin their reputation, he has such a bright future.”


Not all men are perpetrators, but we’re 3% away from all women being victims at some point in their lives.


On occasion, there are some uneducated predators, men that are “joking” that the remaining 3 percent of women should also be harassed.


What some don’t understand is that it can happen anywhere, at any time, at any age. It doesn’t matter what you wore or what you were doing.  


At 11 years old, a man followed me in his truck walking home from school. I ran to the nearest place, which was a salsa restaurant, he stayed and waited for me to get out. I had to call my sister to come to pick me up.


Even before I hit 14, I would start receiving graphic comments from boys who were classmates, high school students, and even some adults. Some even sent me inappropriate pictures. They would try to pressure me to do things I was not comfortable with.


These are just a few examples of the things I have experienced. I could go on. 


These are just a few precautions most women do walking at night alone: don’t wear headphones or earphones, keep keys between your fingers, be aware of your surroundings, be on the phone with someone just in case, have pepper spray or something just in case, walk where people can visibly see you, and don’t go into alleyways. Take a different route every day to not be predictable (this is also for during the day). 


Sarah Everard has opened a door for all of us to speak our truths 

Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, women will no longer have to exist in fear of violence, and more men will stand up for women and speak out about harassment against women. 

Until then…We will not be silent.

Photo Credit: Fred Murphy, Brian Stansberry, Ted Eytan