From Lawrence Fox’s misogynistic comments to allegations against Russell Brand and the murder of Elianne Andam, there is one common thread. Men who see women as objects. It isn’t how God created us, says Bekah Legg

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Russell Brand (left) has been accused of rape and sexual abuse, which he denies. Ava Evans (centre) said Laurence Fox’s comments about her on GB News were “unforgivable”. A 17 year old boy allegedly murdered Elianne Andam (right) by repeatedly stabbing her. He will stand trial next April. 

Stories of women being assaulted and abused by men have been hitting the headlines.


First came the ‘revelation’ of allegations made by a number of women against Russell Brand, cataloguing emotional and sexual abuse. Then there was a verbal assault on journalist Ava Evans by Laurence Fox, who branded the political correspondent ‘unshaggable’ on television, rather than actually counter her argument. And then, tragically, came the murder of Elianne Andam, a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Croydon.

They are very different stories in many respects, but they share a common denominator: men who see women as objects existing only for their own benefit.

Elianne Adnam was stabbed on her way to school in Croydon this week, reportedly for refusing flowers from a boy. Presumably, she was meant to be flattered, she was meant to accept, she was meant to be grateful. She was meant to give him what he wanted.

Women should do what they’re told, be grateful for any attention and be available on demand

Ava Evans was subjected to a barrage of lewd, sexist comments by Laurence Fox on GB News which resulted in thousands of complaints to regulator OFCOM. He has now been suspended for responding to her comments on men’s mental health by asking viewers of Dan Wootton Tonight: ”Who would want to sh*g that?” Rather than engage in a discussion with her about her point of view, he chose instead to reduce her to nothing more than her sexual appeal. 

For those women who have spoken up about alleged rape and abuse by comedian Russell Brand (and those who have been hinting at similar allegations for years) it would appear that they - and potentially many others - have been seen as good for the taking, something to be enjoyed and dominated.


It’s all so depressingly familiar. Yet as I write, I know there will be those who want to object that men get stabbed too. I know. There will be those who want to shout that women sometimes objectify men. I know. I also know that women are capable of sexually assaulting men. But there is a weight to the reality of male-perpetrated violence against women that is overwhelming. Frankly it’s exhausting, terrifying - and it’s not how it’s meant to be.

Violence against women is not God’s original intention. As obvious as that sounds, it’s worth digging into, as it helps us understand how we’ve got to this position. Men and women were not meant to be at war; one was not meant to be possessed or dominated by the other. Men and women were created, together, in the image of God to rule over the earth. Neither was intended to rule over the other and, yet, they do.

What happened in the Garden of Eden has shaped the relationship between men and women ever since, so it’s helpful to recognise what actually happened. When Adam and Eve were tempted to eat the forbidden fruit, it wasn’t about the taste or the look; it wasn’t even about the knowledge of good and evil. The temptation was the power that would come with that knowledge; “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

Being made in the image of God means many things, but one that is often overlooked in our sermons is that it means being powerful. As Christians, we describe God as omnipotent - or all-powerful. Humans - created in God’s image, but not God ourselves - are potent. Yet we yearn to be like God - to be all-powerful.

The birth of inequality

Since the fall, we have had this desire for power over people, to be perceived as better or more significant and to gain control and possession of others. You can track the outworking of this desire through the ages in the inequalities humans have created to obtain and protect it - empire, racism, patriarchy, ableism and more. And, of course, the first inequality we see in the Bible is that between men and women: “he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).

Men and women were not meant to be at war

This verse has too often been seen as prescriptive (God’s intention for humankind) rather than descriptive (God’s lament over what humankind will become). It has been used to justify the subjection of women and, in turn, this has contributed to cultures that say a woman’s worth lies in what a man can obtain from her, practically and sexually. This understanding contributes to a world that says women should do what they’re told, be grateful for any attention and be available on demand.

It is a culture that most of us are horrified by but feel powerless to challenge or change. But there is another verse in the Bible that comes as God’s people are faced with their equivalent of today’s headlines. Judges 19 is the story of another woman whose value lay in what she could do for men. It is a story of horrific violence against a woman. But in verse 30, God’s people come together in horror and say: “We must do something! So speak up!”

I believe that call carries across the ages to God’s people today. We must do something, speak up and, critically, show another way.

The Red Chair Campaign is raising awareness of violence against women in your church, your workplace or somewhere public in your community. All you need is a piece of red cloth, a chair and a poster. See