MOMENTS in history are often synonymous with a global wave of grief, and later a recollection of memories of those times – moments like when JFK was shot or when Elvis Presley died. My mother was a huge Elvis fan and would often speak of the grief she felt for someone she hadn’t met, but whom she admired.

I’m an Elvis fan too, and although I don’t recall that time (having only been two years old), I certainly knew the story behind it and felt the ripples of the shock through the media. Still, to this present day, we see and hear fans’ reactions to the news.

For me and my generation, I think that comparative moment was hearing the shocking news that Princess Diana had died. For everyone – regardless of their stance on the royalty – it was an authentic national period of shock, disbelief, and mourning.

Over the coming days and weeks after her death, the stories of the chase were being pieced together – and it became a major talking point. Maybe it was a mutual feeling of guilt and regret at buying into the sensationalist news.

The desire to know exactly what was happening in her life had been triggered by the media feeding us for years – to see what she was up to was part of our daily lives. It was almost like a Truman Show-type relationship we had with her.

Although it may have seemed innocent, our ignorance meant we didn’t understand how devastating an impact this constant attention could have been on her, and ultimately was.

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The effects of this hounding by the press and her death were obviously more intimately felt by her close relatives, and of course, her children. I will never forget watching those young boys walk behind her coffin.

Amidst all the thousands of people and noise, there stood two lads, no doubt still babies to their mum, grieving her loss. Having lost my mother in my 20s, I cannot imagine what they must have been going through – and all so publicly.

With how well-informed we are now in regards to mental health, I think we can all agree that the trauma faced by them that day and the events leading up to it would have had a significant impact on their lives.

Watching the Harry and Meghan Netflix series, I can see what they were trying to achieve. An antidote in some ways to the press, taking ownership of their story and having control over it. I am sure in many ways, it’s cathartic to get the truth out and tell your own story.

As sad as it is that they would need to do this, it’s also a way to humanise themselves. Too often in the press and on social media, we dehumanise others. Some of the vitriol just would not ever be said in a face-to-face situation, and if they really needed to say it then behind closed doors to a confidant would be the place. That paparazzi frenzy is now open season to all online and it’s dangerous.

I was absolutely disgusted by Jeremy Clarkson’s piece on Meghan Markle. I could not believe that for one, a man could be that enraged at a person who has zero impact on his life, and two, the editorial standard was to let that pass into the public domain.

Make no mistake, that piece will embolden misogynists to act. This kind of rhetoric doesn’t go past without consequences, it spills out to an abuser who just needs to feel they are justified in their treatment of women and off they go.

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The written word is a powerful tool which can be used to stir up emotions, and what that article did was to invoke hate on a BAME woman, a mother who wants to protect her children, one who had just clearly stated publicly that she had got to the point of wanting to end her own life, which was because of the press. To wish her naked shows the level of dehumanisation he has stooped to. To then wish people threw faeces at her was unbelievably appalling.

For a white straight man to be bullying a BAME woman like that in the press makes me wonder – if we are serious about ending femicide, how is this allowed?

Have we forgotten the lessons learned from Diana’s experience? Have we not acknowledged the impact that must have had on her son, who clearly just wants to keep his family safe? Harry knows where this could all end.

I am angry at the level of misogyny which is still seemingly acceptable in society. The continual reinforcement of rejecting stereotypes is exhausting. The minute a woman shows her strengths and takes initiative, she is pulled apart and the tropes roll out: hysterical, controlling, manipulative, bossy. These are by design used to ensure we are not taken seriously.

Flipping these tropes to being emotionally intelligent, organised, persuasive and commanding, turns it all on its head. Our language matters and our written words matter too.

We shall never know what goes on behind closed doors, but we do know what we see clear as day in front of us. On the news, in print, and on social media, we see it. The extra layer that this makes some people a lot of money, is particularly disturbing. We can help by not clicking the link or buying the paper.

We can also write in and complain, start a campaign and join activists in our fight to end violence against women and girls. The threat to our safety and our progression in life has always been the patriarchal structures that emboldens and protects this kind of behaviour. Patriarchal institutions are figuratively tall structures built to uphold the imbalance of power.

Only by working intersectionally as marginalised groups gathering together to fight our common enemy can we topple it.