Four teenagers arrested over brutal homophobic attack on lesbian couple
Four teenagers have been arrested after a lesbian couple was viciously attacked on top of a double-decker bus in London, local police announced Friday. The men reportedly attacked the women when they refused to kiss each other for the gang's entertainment.
Melania Geymonat, a 28-year-old medical student on a year's sabbatical, who is originally from Uruguay, described the incident in a Facebook post on Wednesday. She said she had a date with her girlfriend, Chris, an American who now lives in the UK. The couple boarded the bus to go back to Chris' place in Camden Town, and a group of young men approached them.
"We must have kissed or something because these guys came after us," Geymonat shared. "I don’t remember if they were already there or if they got on after us. There were at least four of them. They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions. I don’t remember the whole episode, but the word ‘scissors’ stuck in my mind."
Geymonat said she started making jokes in an attempt to defuse the situation. It didn't work. The men persisted in verbal harassment and began throwing coins at the couple. As their enthusiasm for aggressive behavior escalated, the scene turned violent.
"The next thing I know is that Chris is in the middle of the bus fighting with them," Geymonat wrote. "On an impulse, I went over there only to find her face bleeding and three of them beating her up. The next thing I know is I’m being punched. I got dizzy at the sight of my blood and fell back. I don’t remember whether or not I lost consciousness. Suddenly the bus had stopped, the police were there and I was bleeding all over. Our stuff was stolen as well."
Law enforcement officials confirmed on Twitter that four teenagers were arrested over the incident. "This was a disgusting attack on two women who appear to have been picked out and targeted by a group of youths," said Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, per HuffPost. "The suspects have made a number of homophobic comments towards the couple before throwing coins at them."
"When the women tried to reason with the group, the attack escalated to an assault," he continued. "CCTV footage from the attack is being reviewed by detectives. We continue to appeal for information from the public, particularly those who were present on the bus before or after the attack to come forward and tell police what they saw... Our efforts to trace all the suspects involved and bring them in for questioning will be relentless."
"Four males aged between 15-18 have been arrested today, Friday, 7 June on suspicion of robbery and aggravated GBH," read a Scotland Yard statement. "They have been taken to separate London police stations for questioning."
"This was a disgusting, misogynistic attack," London mayor Sadiq Khan stated on Twitter. "Hate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London."
Geymonat told Metro that she released the graphic photo to raise awareness of violence against women and gay people. She added that she moved to the UK in February and felt safe as a gay woman so the attack stunned her. Afterwards, she and Chris sought medical treatment, and she is still waiting to confirm if her nose was broken.
"What upsets me the most is that violence has become a common thing, that sometimes it’s necessary to see a woman bleeding after having been punched to feel some kind of impact," Geymonat told the outlet. "I’m tired of being taken as a sexual object, of finding out that these situations are usual, of gay friends who were beaten up just because. We have to endure verbal harassment and chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence."