Our comment on the Clapham Attack

We wanted to comment on the shocking and cruel attack on a woman and her two young daughters in Clapham last week. We were hoping to be able to do this knowing that the perpetrator had been apprehended, and that his victims were in recovery but as yet he remains unfound, and the 31-year-old woman he injured is still too ill to speak and under sedation. 

Our thoughts are with her, her children and the members of the public who tried to help and sustained injuries, as well as the five police officers involved in helping. 

Thankfully, instances involving acid/alkali like this are rare, but it is shocking that someone could knowingly and deliberately cause this life altering harm to a woman and her children, or to anyone. No one has the right to harm another person, there is no set of circumstances where this can be considered anything other than cruel and criminal. 

We also wanted to note our disappointment at how, as soon as it was known that the suspect was a refugee, much of the media and conversation moved swiftly to debates on whether the alkali attack was somehow ‘cultural’ and why he had been granted asylum. This is a racist rhetoric and a distraction from the real, urgent conversation needed about male violence against women and girls (MVAWG) which is pervasive across all countries and cultures. 

MVAWG is an epidemic in this country with 1 in 3 women experiencing physical or sexual violence, and a woman being killed every three days often by a man who is either her partner or a previous partner. It is devastatingly pervasive. At Solace we work every day to both prevent it and to support women who are or have experienced abuse and assaults. We also work to help woman and girls to recognise signs of controlling or coercive behaviours that may develop into violence. 

We work to both understand the roots of this violence and misogyny and to keep the focus on how we can prevent it, how we create a safer world for women and girls.  

There is no excuse for violence or threats of violence. Often abusers try and find excuses for their behaviours – from experiences in childhood or from previous relationships – but there is never an excuse or reason to inflict harm on anyone, whether physical in this very disturbing case, or emotional/psychological. 

We know that the trauma of abuse can be lifelong for some women and girls and that this assault will be life changing for the woman and her children, and also for those people involved. It’s terrifying and deeply upsetting. 

But we also know that for many, with the right support, they can live safe lives and thrive. We offer therapeutic services that support women to cope with the impact of abuse and to recover. 

If you feel unsafe in your relationship, then please reach out for help. Contact us on 0808 802 5565 or email advice@solacewomensaid.org

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