'Woman seeks to embrace that which is living, personal and whole' (Edith Stein)
In March 2021 Sarah Everard, a 33 year old marketing executive from Surrey, was kidnapped and murdered whilst walking home after visiting a friend in South London.
The case unleashed a huge outpouring of national grief and led to a series of vigils held regionally across the UK to remember Sarah's life and show support to her family. It also sparked widespread debate about women's safety and the increased levels of violence and harassment that women experience.
Although there has been a focus on issues of policing and on improved security for women and girls as they go about their daily lives, there has perhaps been less of a focus on the role that men can play in adopting proactive strategies to challenge the prevalent views, attitudes and intentions that might foster predatory behaviours. The Sarah Everard case should send a distress signal (an 'SOS') to men around the dignity and the value of a woman's life.
Edith Stein, a Carmelite nun, wrote extensively about gender and her philosophical work on perceptions of femininity are as relevant today as ever. She accepts that any view of reality, including that of gender, will be to some extent culturally constructed. She believed that femininity and masculinity together express what it means to be made in 'God’s image'. Humans experience greater freedom and fulfilment when they acknowledge both difference and complementarity. For Edith Stein, all humans must freely realize and enact their 'interior disposition' in order to develop as a human being within wider society.
As we approach Christmas and New Year the Ami Elisabeth Catez Institute are launching a initiative - 'SOShembracesLiving' - aimed at men of all backgrounds and ages to consider the very real threat that women feel from inappropriate language and conduct, from careless action and behaviour. We hope that men can back this initiative and increase their resolve to ensure women remain safe and so women can truly ['embrace'] life and living, 'the personal and the whole'.
To challenge our mindset can at times be difficult. There may be many ways that men, consciously or subconsciously, deny the role women can play in human life and within their communities. This initiative is led by a desire to see men identify for themselves the damage that such attitudes and behaviours can cause and that lead to increased levels of fear among women of all ages, and hostility towards women at all ages.
'SOShembracesLiving' needs now to be embraced by men of all ages.
Every person born into the world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique ... if there had been someone like her in the world there would have been no need for her to be born' (Martin Buber)
Are you doing your bit to ensure women and girls
in the UK are safe?
1) Check on INTENTION
2) Check on PERCEPTION
3) Check on BEHAVIOUR
Their space. Their potential. Their choice.
So she can embrace
Remembering Sarah Everard