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Opinion: Women’s History Month — or is it?

The 2020 Women's March in Washington DC is shown. (Photo Courtesy of risingthermals/Flickr)

March has been designated as Women’s History Month since 1987, meant to celebrate remarkable female figures in history and to recognize the gender for its many historical contributions to the nation. Even in the COVID-19 pandemic, this tradition continued for 2021. 

However, in the same month, there was a mass shooting in Atlanta in which six of the eight victims were Asian women. A British police officer was charged with killing a woman in London. In Kentucky, a man was charged with raping and assaulting eight-year old girl but he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial, according to AP News. There was an increase in self-reports of rape and sexual assault, although there was a decrease in reporting to police from 2017 to 2018, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

These cases throughout this month, a month that was supposed to celebrate women, have been horrific and I can say, as a female myself, that I’ve started to feel anxiety and concerns about my safety. I know it’s not just me — MSN reports that the personal safety app Hollie Guard has seen an average of 2,608 new users each day last month, which is a significant increase from the average of 395 new users they gained previously.

In light of all of this, we need to make change. In England and Wales in 2019, rape prosecutions fell to the lowest rate in a decade despite the number of recorded rapes doubling over six years in 2018, according to the Guardian.

After the shooting in Atlanta, a police officer said the shooter was having a “bad day.”

Victimizing the perpetrator has become normal in many senses, as shown by British TV presenter Davina McCall’s tweet earlier this month: “Female abduction/murder is extremely rare. Yes we should all be vigilant when out alone. But this level of fear-mongering isn’t healthy. And men’s mental health is an issue as well. Calling all men out as dangerous is bad for our sons, brothers, partners.” 

Sarah Everard was killed by someone part of her own nation’s police force, someone who was supposed to protect her instead of being her murderer.

However, simultaneously, we must be united in making change. Dr. Manne, the author of The Atlantic article, writes that although Everard’s case is one that is truly tragic, we must keep in mind that the situation for women is one that affects all women, regardless of race, class, or other defining factors.

So, as we continue on in keeping up this tradition of Women’s History Month in which we commemorate noteworthy women in history, it is important that we also continue rising up to create change in our world today for women. Protests have started in Britain for Sarah Everard, which is a great start, and there have been tons of donations for the families of the Atlanta victims. Continue posting on your social media about the circumstances for women, and don’t let society forget about these events. Find your local women’s march women2women circle. We have made change in the past, I believe we can make change now. Keep rising up. 

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