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Ulster University minister praised for emotional radio tribute to Sarah Everard


Minister Cheryl Meban

Minister Cheryl Meban

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Minister Cheryl Meban

A Presbyterian minister has been praised for her powerful and deeply moving tribute to Sarah Everard after breaking down live on air while reflecting on women's safety.

Rev Cheryl Meban, a Presbyterian Chaplain at Ulster University, was overcome with emotion as she delivered her Thought for the Day on yesterday's Good Morning Ulster on BBC Radio Ulster.

Rev Meban began by saying that she had spent "a huge chunk of Mother's Day" trying to find words that would be fit for broadcast.

"Like many people, I am sickened by the murder of Sarah Everard and heartbroken for her devastated family and friends," she said.

Rev Meban began her Thought for the Day segment by addressing the wider issue of violence against women.

"We're not angry about women's safety, we're angry about men violating and threatening women. We're angry because every murder heightens our own fear."

Fighting back tears, she added: "We're angry that we feel nervous of cars that slow down near us, angry that we have to calculate whether we are safe to walk through the local park or go the long way round.

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"Now if you think I'm overreacting and silly, maybe it hasn't happened to you. Of course I have learned not to let these things rule me - I'm amazed at myself crying at the moment - but these things still cross my mind, all the time.

"Do men have to think about these things? Probably, if they have been assaulted, but they won't tell because it feels shameful and stupid. Women, we live with this because we're women.

"We are blamed for what we wear. We're blamed for where we go and what we do, Shamed for being afraid and we're shamed for blaming men and I know it's not all men.

"The best men learn to own their feelings. They don't project on to women as their scapegoats. The worst seek dominance, control over anyone they deem inferior, male or female, physically or otherwise."

A crowd gathered at Clapham Common on Saturday night to remember Sarah Everard but scuffles broke out as Metropolitan Police surrounded a bandstand covered in flowers left in tribute.

Rev Meban added: "I'm haunted by the image of a woman at a protest against violence against women, held on the ground, handcuffed. The image will linger for a long time."

Many took to Twitter afterwards to praise Rev Meban for speaking out.

Belfast Telegraph

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