Many have been posting the message to highlight the ways in which women check on one another when someone is walking home alone. Instead of saying "goodbye," they ask friends to send them a message when they've safely returned.
Following the March 3 disappearance of Sarah Everard in England, women all around the world began posting the hashtag. They shared their own stories about the steps they take in order to try to remain safe, which they often don't think twice about.
The Sarah Everard story sparked a movement of women sharing their own daily fears.
The "Text Me When You Get Home" posts picked up steam in response to the disappearance of Sarah Everard. At around 9:30 p.m. on March 3, the 33-year-old left a friend's home in south London to walk home.
Though no circumstances ever warrant an attack, a multitude of people pointed out that Everard took numerous precautions to get home safely. She wore brightly colored clothing (including sneakers), made her journey well before midnight on a weeknight, spoke to her boyfriend on the phone while walking, and took a route that was well-lit and on main roads.
Despite all of this, Sarah Everard never made it home.
An officer and a woman were arrested in connection to the disappearance, and on suspicions of murder. Human remains were identified as Everard's on March 12.
Users connected with Everard's story, and they pointed out that there's an unspoken rule book that many follow when they are trying to walk alone.
In the days that followed her disappearance, several hashtags began trending. They include #NotAllMenButAllWomen, #SheWasWalkingHome, and #TextMeWhenYouGetHome.
What is the meaning of all the "Text Me When You Get Home" posts?
Since Everard's disappearance on March 3, women all over the world have been sharing their stories about what they do in order to feel safe when walking alone, or what measures they take to check on their friends who do so.
One common message that they reference in their tweets, posts, or statements is that they say "Text Me When You Get Home." It represents a phrase people often say before someone leaves a party, gathering, or any other get-together.
Getting this type of text can confirm one's safe return.
Influencer Lucy Mountain shared a now-viral screenshot of a WhatsApp message on her Instagram feed, which read, "Text me when you get home xx."
In her caption, she articulated how women know what this type of text really means.
"I've had conversations about how being hyper-conscious of our safety is just something we've done throughout our entire lives," she wrote in part of her caption. "The deep sense of connection is one of fear. We have all shared our live locations. We have all changed our shoes. We have all held our keys between our fingers. We have all made phone calls, both real and fake. We have all tucked our hair inside our coats. We have all ran down dark roads. We have all theorized our escape routes."
Unfortunately, Sarah Everard did not get to send one of these messages on that fateful March evening.
Like Lucy, other users online have been pointing out that "Text Me When You Get Home" is habitual and second-nature, and it's become a replacement for "Bye." Many wondered if men ever feel a need to say it to one another.
In addition to the texts, women have shared the other ways in which they make themselves feel more comfortable when they travel alone.
This includes carrying their keys between their knuckles (in case they need a weapon to fight someone off), staying on a phone call during the entire duration of their walk, leaving while it's still light out, altering their path home to be on well-lit streets, and sharing their location to friends via their phones.
A multitude of people have also posted screenshots of messages they've sent to friends or loved ones when they feel unsafe, or when they believe that someone is following them. They also chronicle other precautions, like ducking into stores, quickly changing paths, or asking friends to be ready to call the authorities on their behalf.
“Text me when you get home safe” is something I say to women I know before we part ways, and I’ve never thought about it. When I’m actually saying is that I worry something awful might happen to them and I won’t stop worrying until I know they’re safe. It shouldn’t be this way.— Miriam Brett (@MiriamBrett) March 10, 2021
These messages highlight the fact that there is often a concern when a woman is by herself, no matter the time of day or the distance of the journey. There's an emphasis on hyper-vigilance, and one comfort is having a tight inner circle of friends to check in with.
The goal of sharing these stories is so that actions will be taken to further ensure the safety of women. The hope is that, one day, all people can feel comfortable walking alone at night, regardless of the hour.