The stabbing of fifteen-year-old girl, Elianne Andam, killed on her way to school, is a senseless act of violence. Her family and all who loved her must be heartbroken.
Initial reports suggest that the 17-year-old male teenager who attacked her did so after his advances, an unwanted gift of flowers, weren’t welcomed. Elianne may have been intervening to protect a friend.
This is every parent’s worst nightmare. It is also one of the greatest fears for many women and girls, that we are at risk of harm from men and boys whilst trying to get on with our daily lives.
Recently, we were interviewed by BBC Radio York about ‘Project Vigilant’, a Police initiative where plain clothes officers look for signs of predatory male behaviour and inform their uniformed colleagues and attempt to intervene before women are attacked. Young women on a night out were also interviewed. In their interview, they spoke about being routinely groped, sexually assaulted, and sexually harassed in bars and clubs. These incidents of male violence and abuse were described as something they had to endure if they wanted to go out and have fun with friends, highlighting how widespread this issue is and just how many women and girls are impacted.
We also joined a Q&A following a theatre production by the company ‘Next Door But One’. The production, ‘She was walking home’, combines the experiences of 33 women who were subjected to sexual harassment and assault while walking home, some of whom had been supported by IDAS. This powerful performance captures the shared fear and trauma many women and girls carry with them every day. The production is touring schools in Yorkshire, hoping to start important conversations about what it’s like to be a women or girl making your way in a world where the threat of male violence is all too real.
In just these examples, the prevalence of the issue of male violence against women is revealed, and the horrendous impact laid bare.
Elianne Andam was killed by a male who felt entitled to a female’s attention and affection. She was killed because there was an expectation that he should be able to have that affection, or she would face the consequences.
This is a devastating narrative that young boys are being indoctrinated with and it is ruining the lives of women and girls. Many girls grow up with this fear, that if they don’t go along with what a male wants, they are at risk of harm, including being mocked, isolated and excluded, subjected to threats, non-consensual sharing of their intimate images, violence or even death.
No young person should live with the fear of violence. Women and girls should be able to say ‘no’ without fear of repercussions.
More must be done to tackle the root cause of violence against women and girls.
We are devastated for Elianne, her family, and friends and for all those dealing with the loss of a loved one and the consequences of male violence.
At IDAS, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to the work of supporting people to cope and recover from their experiences, and we will redouble our efforts to educate and drive forward the societal change we need to see in the world. We have signed a Manifesto with over 70 other organisations, setting out what needs to be done to effectively tackle male violence against women and girls.
You can join us and take a stand against domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Here are three things you can do today:
- Become an IDAS Champion or volunteer in your community or place of work to ensure everyone knows that support is available.
- Like and share our social media posts to raise awareness of the support we provide so that survivors can get the help they need.
- Donate to ensure that we can continue campaigning for change. We rely on the generosity of our donors and fundraisers to continue our vital work.
We are here for anyone subjected to violence and abuse. Please contact us for support.