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Posts tagged day 24:

Day 24: FannyAnn Viola Eddy

Photo from Find a Grave

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, sexual assault, rape, brutality, beating, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


There is still limited information on the case despite the amount of time that has passed. There is next to no mention of who killed her or convictions.

It was a calm night on the 28th of September, 2004 in the city of Freetown located in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In an office building in the town, one person had stayed behind long after her staff and all employees had gone home. She could have gone home too but she was so absorbed in her work that she didn’t want to leave just yet. She was passionate about what she did and when she got started, she found it hard to stop until her work was complete.

As the young woman worked, a group of three men approached the building. Outside was dark with only the street lamps to light their way. While there was a decent amount of light from the street lamps, the men were still hidden in the darkness. They kept to the darkest areas they could find and wore dark clothing. That made them almost invisible to anyone who would have looked in their general direction but luckily for them, due to the late hour no one was in the area except for them. Everyone was already home and getting ready for bed.

No one was there to witness the group of men as they walked up to the office building. One had brought a crowbar which they held firmly in one hand. The man looked around to be sure that no one was around except for his crew and when he was sure that they were alone, he used the crowbar to pry open a door. It took a little effort but he managed to get it open.

Once the door was open the group of men rushed into the building and looked around. They were looking for their target. They knew that she would be the only one there or should be but if there were others then they were prepared to deal with them. Luckily for the men, it appeared as if no one else was in the building. All of the lights were off and it seemed devoid of any signs of life. The only light source came from one room and that was where their target was located.

The men walked as silently as they could towards the room. They were able to see the light from underneath the closed door so they knew that was where she was. They all looked at each other when they were standing next to the door and nodded. When they did, one of the group members kicked open the door and the three men ran inside.

The young woman who was in her office jumped when the door slammed open. She screamed when she saw the group of men run towards her. Her immediate reaction was to jump up from her desk and to try and run away. She had no clue who these men were or what their intentions were. If they were there to rob the place then as far as she was concerned, they could take whatever they wanted. Nothing was more valuable than her life. Her focus was finding the best route out of the room then out of the building.

She tried to run past one of the men as she assumed he was going for one of the more valuable items lying on a desk but he didn’t. Instead, he lunged at her and grabbed her arm causing her to scream. She tried to pull away but he kept a firm grasp on her. He held on so tightly that she felt as if it would leave a bruise later.

She screamed at the man to let her go. She told the group that they could take whatever they wanted. She just wished that they would let her go but one of the men informed her that wasn’t their plan. She looked up in horror at the one who seemed to be the leader as he approached her. She continued to struggle and free herself from her captor but still he kept a firm grip on her. Her struggles only grew the closer the leader got and when he was within arms length, he slapped her across the face and demanded that she stopped struggling but she refused. That angered him.

He grabbed the woman by her other arm and yanked her from the grasp of his fellow group member. With as much force as he could he threw her against a nearby desk in hopes that would slow her down but if anything, it made her more determined to get away. She was becoming more frightened by the second. Her instincts told her that she had to leave if she wanted to leave. She got on her hands and knees and tried to crawl away but she was hurting from the force of the impact. It made it difficult for her to move around which gave her attacker plenty of time to walk up to her and grab her by her hair.

She continued to scream and trash about but instead of this making the man let her go, it just continued to fuel his anger towards her. Eventually, he and his group had enough of her. They didn’t come to deal with a screaming woman. They had a plan to carry out so that was what they were going to do.

The man threw her to the floor this time and pressed his foot down on her stomach to keep her down. She tried hitting his leg to throw him off balance but the more she hit the more pressure he applied until it was physically impossible to add anymore. She began to cough a bit under the compression.

She looked up at the men who were now surrounding her. By now her screams had turned to tears. She was afraid. She was afraid of what was to come. Now that she knew that these men were not robbers and in fact had come for her, she feared for what was to come. She had an idea of what their intentions were and if it wasn’t to kill her… The thought brought panic to her. She preferred that they just killed her right then and there.

With a brave face she looked up at the leader and told him to just kill her. Clearly they had come with the intention to harm her so they might as well just kill her right away and be done with it but the men had other plans in mind. They told her that just killing her wouldn’t be any fun. That would have been boring. The leader said that in time they would end her life but in the meantime they were going to “enjoy themselves”. Her eyes widened when she heard that. She knew what they meant and she didn’t want it to happen.

She resumed fighting the men. She kicked and punched and screamed again. She screamed for help at the top of her lungs even though she knew it was useless. She and her attackers were the only ones in the building. No one was there to hear her or come to her aid. Even if someone was walking on the streets, they wouldn’t have been able to hear her cries. She was on her own. She was alone in the room with the men who had surrounded her.

When she realized that it was useless to fight, she broke down. Tears poured down her face. They streamed down her cheeks and neck as she felt her clothes being torn from her body. She did put up some resistance but there wasn’t much she could do about it. She couldn’t fight back. Both her arms and legs had been pinned down. She was helpless. All she could do was cry.

She pleaded with the men to let her go. She wouldn’t tell anyone about what had happened if they just let her go. They said nothing and laughed at her. They went through with their plan while she had no choice but to endure it. It hurt. Everything hurt. She continued to plead with them. She knew it was hopeless but that didn’t stop her from trying.

Her tears soaked the collar of her shirt as the men had their way with her. It was a horrible experience. She wanted to die. She wished they would kill her so she wouldn’t have to endure this torture any longer but they kept her alive the entire time.

When they were done, she tried once more to get away. She felt like something came alive in her. She found the strength to kick and fight back. She managed to kick one of the men and it felt so satisfying to her when she heard him scream in pain. That gave her even more energy. She stood up and tried to locate the nearest possible exit but before she could even take one step, she felt a sharp pain originating in the back of her head.

She fell to the ground and with a dazed look on her face, she looked up. Standing behind her was one of the men holding a crowbar. She held her head in pain and didn’t put up a fight when she was hit again. She accepted it as she fell to the ground in even more pain.

As she laid there she heard a window smash but she was in too much pain to see what was going on. She assumed that the men were just creating an easy escape route but she soon found out that she was wrong. They weren’t trying to leave. They were just looking for a more efficient weapon…

After shattering the glass, one of the men picked up the biggest shard he could find and walked over to the woman. Underneath his mask he had a smirk on his face.

The woman barely had the energy to look up at him. All she was able to manage was to slightly turn her head and when she saw what was coming, she wished that she hadn’t. The man was looming over her and the glass shard gleamed in the dim light emanating from the single lamp in the room. Everything happened so quickly. The woman barely had time to process it.

The man raised the shard up before bringing it down towards the woman’s face. The sharp glass sliced her skin and she screamed out in pain. It hurt beyond description. She could feel her skin part as the glass sliced it’s way through and she could feel the blood gush from the wound. It wasn’t particularly deep but since it was on the face and it was a long cut there was quite a bit of blood. The smell of iron invaded her senses and it sickened her.

Her attackers laughed at her as she screamed in pain and terror. They were enjoying her suffering. It pleased them. Entertained them. It showed how sick these men were.

The man attacked her a few more times before another one approached her. He punched the screaming and crying woman in an attempt to shut her up but it didn’t work. By now all of them were fed up with her. None of them could believe that she was still making noise even after everything they had done to her.

One nodded to the man. That was the signal. They were sick of her now and wanted to get out of the building. They weren’t sure if someone had passed by and called the cops but they didn’t want to stick around to find out. They had done what they had come to do. It was time they departed.

The man grabbed the woman by the face and snapped her head to the side. He was the strongest of the group which is why he was the one who was chosen for this particular task. That sudden movement was all it took. The men heard a loud cracking sound and the woman went limp. She collapsed in the man’s grasp so he let her go and let her body fall to the ground. She was lifeless. She didn’t move. Her chest didn’t even rise signalling that she was no longer breathing. The men had completed their mission. Now it was time they left.

They grabbed everything that could possibly point the police to them and left from the same door they entered. The woman’s body remained on the ground where it was discovered the following day by her friends and coworkers the following morning.

Her name was FannyAnn Viola Eddy and she was just 30 years old.

AFTERMATH

There are conflicting reports on multiple sites about what happened after the murder and even about the murder itself. A majority of the sources say that FannyAnn Eddy was raped, stabbed then had her neck broken while at least one source said that wasn’t the case and that she was in fact strangled.

When it comes to after the murder, some sources say that no killer had been arrested in connection to the crime while others say a man known as Mr. Sankoh who was around 19 years of age at the time had been arrested. At least one source said that he was a janitor and former employee of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association office. Some sources say that he escaped and hasn’t been convicted for the murder.

No one else has been arrested and there hasn’t been a trial for the murder.

Police don’t consider it to be a hate crime while everyone who knew FannyAnn Eddy believe that it was.

IN LIFE

FannyAnn Eddy was known as a fearless leader of the LGBTQ+ community. She was known to use her own money to buy materials for young lesbian women so they could make clothes and various items they could sell to make a living. She spent much of her time going to schools to educate children about their own self worth. All of her work and courage made her well known throughout Africa and even other countries.

In 2002, FannyAnn Eddy founded the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association (SLLGA). This group provided both social and psychological support to people in the LGBTQ+ community in Sierra Leone. She was also a member of Sexual-Rights Activists Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, All Africa Rights Initiative (AARI) and the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL).

She testified in front of the U.N Commision on Human Rights in Geneva concerning the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Sierra Leone. She explained how they faced constant harassment and violence. She said that hate attacks on people identifying as LGBTQ+ went unpunished by authorities which just encouraged the violent attacks and treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “Breaking the Silence on Human Rights Violations in Sierra Leone under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): A Shadow Report on Discrimination and Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. African Men for Sexual Health and Rights Network, Concerned Women’s Initiative of Sierra Leone, Dignity Association of Sierra Leone, Heartland Alliance’s Global Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights, International Human Rights Law Clinic, American University Washington College of Law, The Initiative for Equal Rights and West African Youth Network. March 2014, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/SLE/INT_CCPR_CSS_SLE_16487_E.pdf. (Direct Download Link)

  2. “Brutal Murder of Fanny Ann Eddy, Lesbian and Gay Activist from Sierra Leone”. Hans Binswanger. Kubatana, 2 October 2004, http://archive.kubatana.net/html/archive/sexual/041002hb.asp?sector=HR%22target=%22_blank%22.

  3. “FannyAnn Eddy”. Human Rights Defenders Memorial, https://hrdmemorial.org/hrdrecord/fannyann-eddy/.

  4. “Fannyann Eddy”. Joan Nestle, https://www.joannestle.com/dedication/index.html.

  5. “FannyAnn Eddy - Nominee”. Victor Salvo. The Legacy Project, https://legacyprojectchicago.org/person/fannyann-eddy.

  6. “Fannyann Eddy (1974-2004)”. The Hirschfeld-Eddy-Foundation, http://www.hirschfeld-eddy-stiftung.de/en/foundation/about-us/names/fannyann-eddy/.

  7. “FannyAnn Viola Eddy: Speaking Against Silence”. Laura Darling. Making Queer History, https://www.makingqueerhistory.com/articles/2016/12/20/fannyann-viola-eddy-speaking-against-silence.

  8. “SIERRA LEONE: CLARIFICATION ON THE MURDER OF FANNYANN EDDY”. OutRight Action International, 12 January 2005, https://outrightinternational.org/content/sierra-leone-clarification-murder-fannyann-eddy.

  9. “Sierra Leone gay activist killed”. BBC News, 5 October 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3716768.stm.

  10. “Sierra Leone Gay Activist Killed”. The Associated Press. CBS News, 5 October 2004, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sierra-leone-gay-activist-killed/.

  11. “SIERRA LEONE: IGLHRC MOURNS THE MURDER OF FANNYANN EDDY; CALLS ON ACTIVISTS EVERYWHERE TO RESPOND”. Susana Fried. OutRight Action International, 4 October 2004, https://outrightinternational.org/content/sierra-leone-iglhrc-mourns-murder-fannyann-eddy-calls-activists-everywhere-respond.

  12. “Sierra Leone killing proves human rights defenders are at risk”. Human Rights House Foundation, 24 November 2004, https://humanrightshouse.org/articles/sierra-leone-killing-proves-human-rights-defenders-are-at-risk/.

  13. “Sierra Leone: Lesbian Rights Activist Brutally Murdered”. Human Rights Watch, 5 October 2004, https://www.hrw.org/news/2004/10/05/sierra-leone-lesbian-rights-activist-brutally-murdered.

  14. “SIERRA LEONE: UPDATE - ALLEGED FANNYANN EDDY MURDERER REPORTEDLY ESCAPES POLICE DETENTION IN SIERRA LEONE”. OutRight Action International, 15 July 2005, https://outrightinternational.org/content/sierra-leone-update-alleged-fannyann-eddy-murderer-reportedly-escapes-police-detention.

Image

  1. Fannyann Viola Eddy. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19893169/fannyann-viola-eddy/photo.

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