Why mothers should lead campaign to end knife crime in London

Mkandeh
Posted September 14, 2018 from United Kingdom
Knives costs lives
Knives costs lives: Stabbing is on the rise in London and youths are the victims of fatal stabbing. (1/1)

 

Today, a London youth stabbed on August 1st will be buried. His parents are Sierra Leoneans. I watched the news on the day of the incidents as distressed neighbours and colleagues of the young man expressed their worries about the spate of violence in London. I didn’t know the victim was a child of a woman I know very well. I didn’t know the crime was closer to home than I had thought.

 

This week I went to the market to buy foodstuffs as usual. I didn’t plan for the news I was to receive. I met a sister I have known for long. She has a warm character. She is funny and charming. I was expecting her usual charm as I bumped into her. I was shocked to see her in a sombre mood.

 

She wore a black robe and a black head scarf. I was about to ask her jokingly if she was mourning when she uttered. “I haven’t met you since this thing happened”. I immediately asked, ‘What thing are you talking about?’. She started sobbing and narrated the sad ordeal.

 

On the fateful day, she saw helicopter hovering her home. She also heard sirens from police vehicles. She went out of her flat and asked one of her neighbours what was going on. The neighbour told her ‘I am unable to tell you’. Her heart begun to race, with a dingy feeling of the unknown, the unexpected. Sadness had slammed her deep and very hard. She didn’t know what to think at that moment. She rushed into the lift and out of the building. She saw a crowd of people and a police barricade. She saw a young man lying on the floor. The paramedics were helping to save him. She then saw the trousers. The trousers belong to one of her sons. She felt like a sharp needle have pierced through her heart. She called out to her Son. But he was far away and could not hear her. She told the police ‘He is my Son. Let me go and speak with him’. She believed if her son could hear her speak, he would not give up.  She believed her son would not let her go through such a horrific experience. But this was not to happen. The police did not allow her. She started wailing. Neighbours came and held her, tried to comfort her. They prayed for her Son not to die. This was impossible. The 23-year-old later died.

 

To many, this may sound like a tragic tale. But this is the reality for many families living in London. Stabbings are on the rise as latest figure shows.  Young people are the victims. Latest figure from the metropolitan police shows knife crime has surged by 16%. In first three months of 2018, there were 45 murders. There were 1,299 stabbings in London up to the end of April this year. There were 35 fatal stabbings in London, prompting the question why this surge.  For many people living in London, particularly young people, the streets, corners, alleyways and every public space seem like war zones. No one knows what could happen next. Even adults are scared. No one wants to fall victim of mistaken identity. No one wants to fall victim of terrorist attacks. We are increasingly becoming agoraphobic. And it is becoming even more worrisome with austerity measures leading to a cut down on police presence in public spaces.

 

Austerity measures by the government have led to a fall in the number of police officers we see on the streets.  There are 3.3 police officers for every 1,000 Londoners.  There have been a £1.4 million funding for projects to end anti-knife crimes, but critique believe the real funding should be focused on setting up youth centres across the city. Many youth centres were closed-down, leaving young people with very little engagements that could distract them from violence. Experts have also blamed austerity measures on increase in poverty for many households, leading young people to resort to violent crimes. What does this mean for our safety as Londoners? What does this mean for the future of our young generation? What does this mean for mothers who are losing their children? What does this mean for the mental health of single mothers who found themselves in this quagmire?

 

For many women in the migrant community, who had witnessed and fled conflicts in their countries of birth. Violence bruises a healing sore in their hearts. Violence impedes the healing process. It reignites horrific memories of wars and leads to post traumatic stress disorder. Violence brings back a nightmarish feeling of pain, horror and despair. These feelings are the same for mothers who have lost their children to fatal knife crimes in London.  

 

Mothers suffer the consequences of violent crimes. They lose their children, and this normally leads to serious emotional and psychological consequences on their wellbeing. As they receive counselling services, they should also be engaged and allow to lead the campaign to end these crimes. This helps with the healing process. They should be empowered to plan, develop and implement initiatives that will educate communities about the dangers of knife crimes. They are able to communicate emotionally to their sons and daughters and discourage them from crimes. They could also engage other parents and help make our communities better. Mothers are very close to the issues and they understand what matters most to their children.

 

As I said goodbye to the sister, I felt a cold chill running down my spine. I felt deeply sad for her. I thought about myself. This could have been me or any other Londoner. Our safety, our security is at risk and we are frightened.

 

This post was submitted in response to The Future of Security Is Women .

Comments 25

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jlanghus
Sep 14, 2018
Sep 14, 2018

Hi there,

What an odd and sad trend:( I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's loss:-( That doesn't sound good that the youth centers were closed.

I think it would be a great idea for both parents to be engaged in leading the campaigns to end these crimes, not only for healing about education as well. It's a great idea!

Thanks for sharing your story and spreading awareness. Hope you have a good day!

Mkandeh
Sep 16, 2018
Sep 16, 2018

Hi Jill,
Many thanks for your comments. I agree education is very important and both parents should be involved.
regards

jlanghus
Sep 16, 2018
Sep 16, 2018

Hi Mariama,

You're welcome:)

Hope you have a good day!

Feka
Sep 14, 2018
Sep 14, 2018

What a hard pill to swallow? Parents should really join campaigns to end violence. Thanks for sharing

Mkandeh
Sep 16, 2018
Sep 16, 2018

Hi Feka,
It is indeed a very hard pill. Families should be involved in campaigns to end violence.
Many thanks for comments.

Corine Milano
Sep 14, 2018
Sep 14, 2018

Oh, Mariama, I am so happy to see you posting again on World Pulse, and so moved by this story. I have not heard of this trend that is happening in London, and I'm very sorry to hear of it. Thank you for highlighting the story of your friend and her son.

This observation on how this type of violence—which is present in so many countries, unfortunately—impacts those who have escaped countries in conflict in search of security. Indeed, trauma can be found anywhere and it is so important that we find solutions that center those who are immediately impacted. Empowering mothers who have lost children to violence is a very powerful idea.

Thank you for sharing and speaking up on behalf of your Sierra Leonean sister who lost her son. We need these stories to come to light so that we can band together to create the security we need.

Mkandeh
Sep 16, 2018
Sep 16, 2018

Hi Corine,
Indeed mothers need to be empowered and given the lead to end such violence in our communities.
Many thanks for your comments.
Regards

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 16, 2018
Sep 16, 2018

Dear Mariama,

I also had no idea that there has been such a lot of knife violence in London. How brutal for those who have escaped violence only to lose children in their new community. Governments that cut back on services, create poverty and close down youth centres are responsible. It is so true that mothers know what to do and what could be done if given some basic support. "They should be empowered to plan, develop and implement initiatives that will educate communities about the dangers of knife crimes". Absolutely.

Mkandeh
Sep 18, 2018
Sep 18, 2018

Hi Tamarac,
Thanks for your comments. Governments' cut is indeed worsening poverty levels for families and leads to a set of other issues for families and communities.
Kind regards,

Beth Lacey
Sep 17, 2018
Sep 17, 2018

It is so sad that this is a rising trend in a world capitol. I agree with you that families should become actively involved in correcting this.
Beth

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hi Beth,
Many thanks for your comments.
Families have a crucial role to play indeed.
Thanks again

Tarke Edith
Sep 17, 2018
Sep 17, 2018

Hello sister
Thanks for sharing your sad story on our platform sister it is not easy to bare such a situation but let put our voices together to see how we can stop this aspect of insecurity starting from our homes to the world .

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hi Dear,
I do agree. Together we can make the difference we all aspire to make.
Warm regards,

Adanna
Sep 24, 2018
Sep 24, 2018

Dear Mariama,

Thank you for sharing and I am sorry to hear about the sister that lost her son :(

More youths need to be engaged in doing something meaningful because "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

Love,
Adanna

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hi Adanna,
Many thanks. That's a very important point. The youths need to be engaged.
Thank you

Akinjise Daniel
Sep 26, 2018
Sep 26, 2018

Awww... what a sad story. Thanks for sharing with us

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

You are most welcome. I appreciate your comments.

Juliet Acom
Sep 27, 2018
Sep 27, 2018

This is so sad.

You are right. Parents should support programmes to end the rise of crime.
Advocacy begins with us ☺

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hi Juliet,
The involvement of parents is very important indeed. I think they are the best to develop the best strategy to cut down crime rates.
Thanks again

Ngwa Damaris
Sep 27, 2018
Sep 27, 2018

OMG...it’s so sad we live in a world full of violence.Precious lives are being lost because of negligence and carelessly.I feel deep pain when I hear of such deaths.I am in full support of your campaign.Wish u all the best in your endeavors

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hi,
Indeed we are losing precious lives because of negligence.
Many thanks for adding your voice to this.
Warm regards,

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Sep 27, 2018
Sep 27, 2018

Hello, Mariama,

I would never know that there is such a crime in London have I not read your piece. Beautifully-written. My heaet mourns for the son of your friend. I agree with you, mothers need to have an avenue to speak up, too.

Supposed your friend was given a chance to go near her son, perhaps he could have fought to live. Who knows?

As a mom of sons, please hug her for me.

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hi,
You are so kind. I will hug her for you. Mothers are at the centre of this issue. I believe they should be put at the front of campaigns to end this. It is really sad what's going on here regarding our young people.
Many thanks again.
Warm regards,

Ngala Nadege
Sep 28, 2018
Sep 28, 2018

Hello dear ! What a striking story !! Parents equally have a role to play in this .stay safe
Thanks for sharing

Mkandeh
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hello,
Many thanks for your comments. Parents do have a role. I am staying safe dear.
Warmest regards,