Mindemoya stabbing at Meadowview Apartments raises safety concerns

Vanessa Atawish of Mindemoya was the subject of a vicious knife attack on August 15 in her home at Meadowview Apartments.

MINDEMOYA – On August 22 at approximately 3:44 pm, members of the Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a disturbance call at the Meadowview Apartments complex on Nixon Street in Mindemoya.

A complainant had made a report of two women screaming and yelling from an apartment. One of the females was seen running down the street naked saying her throat had been cut. Police arrived on scene and spoke to the female outside. She told police that she got into an altercation with another female and was then stabbed in the neck and chin with a knife. Police located the female accused of the stabbing a short time afterwards. She was subsequently arrested and charged. 

Eyewitnesses to the event say that the Meadowview fire alarm was triggered and, as the residents of the apartment building were filing outside, they saw two naked women fighting in the hallway.

A 24-year-old female of no fixed address has been charged with: assault with a weapon, contrary to section 267(a) of the Criminal Code (CC); two counts of uttering threats – cause death or bodily harm – spousal (two counts); aggravated assault; fail to comply with conditions of undertaking given by officer in charge; and two counts of mischief under $5,000 (two counts).

“What is someone of this caliber doing in a place like this that houses people with challenges?” one Meadowview resident said to The Expositor, noting that the population of Meadowview Apartments is largely senior, developmentally challenged or women who have recently left abusive relationships. “This is the second time this month the police have been called here,” the resident added, citing safety concerns.

The victim, Vanessa Atawish, spoke candidly with The Expositor about her experience.

Vanessa Atawish has lived her entire life on Manitoulin. On August 22, she was absolutely sure she was going to die.

Ms. Atawish met her attacker during a recent stint in a treatment program and the two became good friends.

“We were hanging out at my apartment and we decided to get a bottle and drink,” Ms. Atawish said. “We got a bottle of Long Island iced tea. We each had two drinks. I was in the kitchen when she came in. I had done my dishes earlier and they were in the dish rack. I saw her pick up a Thomas knife and I asked her what she was doing when I saw her hide it behind her back. She didn’t respond and I went into the bedroom where my laptop was and sat with it in front of me. She came and stood in the doorway and said, ‘I am going to kill you.’ She starting hitting me in the face with the knife. She cut my chin and my neck. She cut my arms and I have nicks on my hands. She bit me more than once. I managed to get the knife away from her and I ran out and hid the knife in the laundry room. I was panicking. No one would answer their doors, so I pulled the fire alarm.”

Ms. Atawish was taken to the hospital by ambulance where the knife wound on her throat was taped and she was given 10 stitches under her lip. 

“I couldn’t stay in my apartment,” Ms. Atawish explained. “Forensics come from Espanola and they taped my door. You can’t break that tape. I stayed overnight with a friend.”

Ms. Atawish said she was told that her assailant has six outstanding warrants.

“I don’t understand,” Ms. Atawish said. “There was no fight. I thought I was going to die that day. I honestly did. I thought I was going to die.”

The accused was scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice Bail Court in Little Current on August 23.

Victims of domestic assaults are not alone. If you have been assaulted by an intimate partner or know someone who has, there are local resources here to help. You can visit the Manitoulin Family Resources website at www.mfresources.net for assistance. A toll free call can also be placed to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511 where your information will remain anonymous and confidential. If you are in an immediate crisis, dial 9-1-1.