She was just walking home. He was a serving Metropolitan Police officer, who abused the trust placed in him to abduct, rape and murder.

It’s impossible not to be repulsed by Wayne Couzens’ horrendous crimes against Sarah Everard. The victim impact statements from Sarah’s family are gut-wrenching to read.

But repulsion alone won’t fix the systemic issue of male violence against women. That needs action, at all levels of society, and a massively transformed culture of holding men to account for what they say and what they do, as well as to challenge the institutional structures that uphold male power.

Glasgow Times: SarahSarah

Most immediately, given the nature of Couzen’s crimes, the spotlight is on the police.

Sentencing remarks from Lord Justice Fulford noted the police’s ‘unique position’ – that the trust placed in them relies entirely on them acting “lawfully and in the best interests of society”. That trust is in tatters.

The Met has claimed that Couzens was a bad egg.

But they knew of previous complaints against him, and yet still he served. We now know that other officers are being investigated for sharing misogynistic, racist and homophobic messages with him months before he murdered Sarah Everard, and still they served.

So attempts to disown him feel like efforts to evade wider accountability and institutional reform. According to the Femicide Census, 15 serving or former police officers have killed women since 2009. A bunch of ‘bad eggs’ suggests deeper questions must be asked.

The Met must acknowledge the gaping void in trust this leaves. It must recognise that its role in delivering justice must be based on an understanding of who does and does not have power, in any given situation. Its response so far – to advise people stopped by lone plain-clothes officers to challenge their legitimacy – does not suggest it can do that. It suggests an institution that is ignorant to the vastly unequal power dynamics at play in that kind of interaction. My Green councillor colleague, Kim Long, hit the nail on the head when she tweeted in response to this suggestion, “or … stop creating, protecting, and relying on institutions that are built by holding power over others, and then being surprised when that power is abused.”

This is also a societal issue, for all of us. Male violence against women is endemic, and change must be systemic. Since Sarah Everard was murdered, another 77 women have been killed by violent men. The recent murder of Sabina Nessa, was described as ‘premeditated and predatory’. Men are hunting and killing women.

In the immediate aftermath of Sarah Everard’s murder, Glasgow’s councillors came together on this issue. We agreed that the responsibility lies not with women, girls and gender non-conforming people to change their behaviour, but on men to stop attacking women. We agreed to educate, challenge and hold other boys and men to account, and we agreed to all consider our leadership role in tackling gender-based violence. We can all do better.

For Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, and every other woman who has suffered at the hands of men, we must honour that commitment, and do all we can to end male violence.