To start this article I want to take a moment to send our love and thoughts to the family and friends of Sarah Everard. We have all seen the horrifying news this week that a young woman’s life came to a tragic end after she walked home from a friend’s house at night. We all should be talking about this tragic loss of life in the context of Sarah’s hopes and dreams that she will now not get to achieve. Another female life taken away at the hands of a male. Jess Phillips (MP) this week read out the names of 118 women and girls who were killed where a man has been charged or convicted as the primary perpetrator over the last year. This is not right!! We should not have to live in a world where this is allowed to continue. For me this has been a week of thought and reflection. I like to think that I am a man who has a good value base, treats everyone equally and shows respect and dignity for all human beings on this planet; however, I know that all men can and need to do more, me included. I felt incredibly upset and angry this week at the “not all men” hashtag. All this does is change the conversation, in a similar way that the “all lives matter” hashtag did in response to black lives matter. All men do have a part to play in this and if you can’t see that, then you really are part of the problem. I have taken time this week to think about the privilege that I have as a male. Why is it that it is safer for me to walk my dog in the dark than it is for my wife? All men need to stop, think and ask the question “what can we do to make this a safer world for women?” An example is when we are out walking at night, in a rush. If a woman is in front of us, rather than speed up, which has the potential to cause fear and anxiety, let’s cross the road. If we are in a situation where we hear an inappropriate joke or sexist comments, let’s not laugh, let’s challenge and speak up. Behavior like this can no longer be accepted in our society. As a music magazine it is hugely important that we give equal coverage to female artists. We have seen how the music industry is unequal towards females, festival line-ups are often dominated by male artists, Reading / Leeds in particular. I like to think AMP magazine is addressing this but if there is more we can do, please let us know. We have heard how female artists are manipulated throughout the music industry. We read the outrage this year when Phoebe Bridgers had the audacity to smash up a guitar. Does anyone care when male performers smash their guitars? During this sad week it was with added poignancy that Bryde, an artist who we have respected for a number of years, released a cover of Silent All These Years, a song that was originally released by Tori Amos in 1997 with anti-sexual violence organisation RAINN. Please have a listen to this song, it is incredibly important during these times and an absolutely beautiful cover version.
Listening to Adam Walton’s Saturday night show on BBC Radio Wales, he opened the show with three educational, inspirational and thoughtful songs that all highlight what women have to face on a day to day basis. Stella Donnelly – Boys Will Be Boys, Adwaith – Femme and Evrah Rose – I Am. Please go and listen back to Adam’s show now and be informed.
Sitting writing this right now the UK does not feel like a good place. This week has highlighted so many issues that are deep rooted within our societies and the institutions that are there to protect us. The police handling of the peaceful vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common was brutal and disproportionate. All the reports that I read from people in attendance was how this was a peaceful, quiet, socially distanced event. All this changed when the police marched in heavy-handed. Once again, male dominance over women from the very top of our society. Serious questions need to be asked as to how this was allowed to happen. We need answers but not just answers; we need change. This is a conversation that needs to continue, we need to demand answers from the top down, this can be done in a peaceful way. Writing to your MP may help. I have read comments today from my MP Nick Thomas-Symonds and can see how seriously he is taking this. One of the biggest things we can do is to talk amongst family and friends, ask what can we do differently. Let’s all work together to make this society of ours safer for everyone. We need to continue to educate ourselves, read books, listen to music, listen to the radio, watch shows on TV that help to educate us. We can also educate ourselves by listening to the female voices that fill our world with so much wonder. Let’s educate our children. Parents of girls (of which I am one), let’s make sure we bring our girls up with an understanding of what is right and wrong, and what they should expect from men. Parents of boys, take time to teach your boys from a young age how to treat women and how to treat all humans as equal.
There is no getting away from it, times are hard at the moment but we can all come together to make a change and remember the name Sarah Everard as the catalyst for change.