ANY person who read the details of the horrors inflicted on Sarah Everard at the hands of a serving police officer will have felt shock, anger and fear.

But for women it feels like another devastating blow. We have watched and read countless news reports of our sisters found dead and defiled, in parks, abandoned places and in their homes, their lives taken too soon at the hands of a man.

Whether they knew their killer or not doesn’t matter.

A man abused his power as a police officer to torture Sarah for his own selfish despicable ends, as if her life were worth nothing. He no doubt felt entitled to her body.

And, days before the information was released, another young woman, Sabina Nessa, was killed by a man she didn’t know. We are living in an epidemic of male violence and we need to address it, now.

I have watched the outpouring of grief as women across the UK reacted to the gruesome details of Sarah’s death. I won’t repeat them, I think we have heard enough.

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What does need to be said is that we need radical change. I can’t have been the only person who felt close to tears reading the details, fighting back dark thoughts about what Sarah’s last moments would have been like, what she was thinking, what we all would have been thinking, had it been us.

I have stood countless times at the gates of Queens Park in Glasgow when it has been adorned with ribbons in memory of another woman killed.

I have joined and reported on marches in the streets to claim back the night, so we can walk safely without fear. I’ve heard countless terrifying stories from friends of late-night encounters with men. I’ve even witnessed it.

Once a man, who we thought we had ditched, found my friend and I in a different bar after we had tried desperately to get away from him. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. We eventually had to call our night short and go home, seeing no other option for escape.

I could go on and on.

The National: Sarah Everard

The harrowing impact statement from Sarah’s mum Susan sent chills down my spine. There are too many victims and it is truly unfair.

The Met police telling women to challenge plain-clothes officers misses the point. Women don’t need to change, we have been dealing with this all of our lives, just like the women before us.

If we learned anything from the Black Lives Matter movement it should be that there are systemic issues in policing, not just against women, but against ethnic minorities and those in the LGBT community.

Scotland has a feminist First Minister, policing is devolved. We have the power to do something about it and we can lead the way.

We have a women’s health plan, a UK first. We have just become the first country in the world to embed LGBT education in the school curriculum, and we introduced the Domestic Abuse Act in 2018.

We are making progress, but it is only the start.

We need to tackle this at the root. We need education on consent, pornography and all of these issues at a school level. My school sex education in the early 2000s involved a video of a red animatronic condom called Johnny wearing a cowboy hat, and there was not one mention of consent.

Although I don’t doubt there have been improvements since my schooling days, the world has irrevocably changed. Young people now have ready access to violent pornography, which let’s be honest can absolutely skew a person’s view of how sexual relationships should be, and are at a high risk of having intimate pictures of themselves shared without their consent.

We need to think of this in a modern way and we need to protect those young women from suffering as we have in any way that we can.

Crimes that are indicative of escalation – indecent exposure, indecent communication, disclosing intimate images without consent, sexual assault, rape – need to have harsher punishments.

We need to increase the number of successful prosecutions, we need a renewed focus.

It isn’t just women who will benefit. I have spoken to men who have felt that same crushing fear walking home at night, worried that the man a few steps behind is moments away from launching a vicious attack. It is unacceptable.

Everyone has a part to play. The time of making excuses for other people’s behaviour is over. That Sarah’s killer was nicknamed “the rapist” is an aberration. Those around him knew, there are always signs. He was not the first and he will not be the last, but we must make strides to stop it in its tracks.

The message has to be tough. Society as a whole has to face up to the horrific scale of male violence.

There is no easy solution to this.

Women just want to feel safe, for once.