"Text me when you get home."
It's a simple phrase we've all probably used before. But it was enough to spark a social media movement after an influencer used it to highlight the precautions women are forced to take to keep themselves safe.
It comes after UK woman Sarah Everard disappeared on March 3 after walking home from a friend's house in south London. Her body was later discovered on March 10 by police in a wood outside of London. A 48-year-old police officer was subsequently arrested and charged with her kidnapping and murder.
Everard's case has ignited widespread discussion around the safety of women when it comes to simple things like walking home at night.
Personal trainer and Instagrammer Lucy Mountain created the viral post and says it shows the reality of what it means to be a young girl and woman in this day and age.
"'Text me when you get home xxx' is a standard procedure amongst women. Auto-pilot," Mountain says.
She points out that the reality for women is "sharing our live locations" or "making phone calls, both real and fake".
"I've had conversations about how being hyper-conscious of our safety is just something we've done throughout our entire lives… We have all held our keys between our fingers. We have all theorised our escape routes."
Thousands of people have re-shared the image.
Mountain said the post resonated with so many women because almost all of them have been scared while doing normal daily activities such as walking home.
"What's so insidious is that these things don’t even feel like 'special safety tools'... Because 'that's just the way it is'. I wish more men understood the fact that we cannot walk alone at night with headphones in.
"That whenever you say 'they're just being friendly', you are part of the problem. That whenever we get in Ubers, there's the lingering thought this could be it."
"A woman should have been allowed to walk home."
It's not a 'blame game'
She said her post wasn't meant to attack men but instead was about starting a conversation so women can feel safe.
"It's not a you vs. us thing," she wrote.
After the success of her first post, Mountain shared another giving men an opportunity to ask what they can do to help.
"We need you to call it out when your mates make inappropriate comments. We need you to stand up for us. Listen to us, even if you will never fully relate," the post reads.
Many women agreed with Mountain.
"This explains everything we feel so well. Thank you," one woman commented.
"I always ask someone to wait while I lock up at work, every single time. I've run like the wind, I've literally heard my heart thumping so loud from fear," said another.
Another said, "only this week have I realised that a lot of men had no idea this was day to day behaviour for us".
And it resonated with men too, with one man acknowledging the issue and calling for others "to have the courage to stand up and challenge any behaviours or actions that make women unsafe and uncomfortable".
It doesn't stop there
Women's safety has also been an ongoing conversation in Aotearoa for quite some time. A Stuff report in 2015 showed 44.1 percent of women felt safe "while walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark" compared to 77.8 percent of men.
"Even in their own home almost one fifth (19.1 per cent) of women didn't feel safe when alone at night, compared to just 7.8 percent of men."
What can I do if I feel unsafe?
In response to Mountain's post, thousands of women gave their tips for what to do if you're in a situation where you feel unsafe. Some of the examples include enabling emergency call features on your smartphone.
On an iPhone 8 or later, Apple says users can trigger an emergency call by pressing and holding down the side button and one of the volume buttons until the Emergency SOS slider appears. This will let off a siren and in a few seconds, the call will go through to emergency services.
If you own an iPhone 7 or older, "this will work differently, and you'll want to hit the side button five times in rapid succession".
For Android users, an Emergency call button can be located at the bottom of the screen, which the user enables by pressing and dialing 1-1-1.
Where to find help and support:
- Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
- Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
- Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
- What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
- Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584