Five arrests have been made in connection to what police have labeled a “homophobic” attack on a lesbian couple at the end of May in London, authorities confirmed on Saturday.
As reported Friday by The Daily Wire, the couple was allegedly harassed and taunted for being gay by at least four men before they were severely beaten and robbed.
The suspects’ identities have not be disclosed, but police confirmed they are between the ages of 15 and 18. Four of the arrests were made on Friday, and one on Saturday.
“As they sat on the top deck they were approached by a group of four males who began to make lewd and homophobic comments to them,” a police statement said of the attack, according to CNN. “The women were then attacked and punched several times before the males ran off the bus. A phone and bag were stolen during the assault. Both women were taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries.”
“They surrounded us and started saying really aggressive stuff, things about sexual positions, lesbians and claiming we could kiss so they could watch us,” Melania Geymonat, one of the women attacked, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
“To ease the situation I tried to make some jokes, like Chris, wasn’t understanding because she didn’t speak English,” she recalled. “She even acted as if she was sick… but they started throwing coins. The next thing I know Chris is in the middle of the bus and they are punching her. So I immediately went there by impulse and tried to pull her out of there and they started punching me. I was really bleeding.”
The victim said one of the assailants “spoke Spanish and the others had British accents,” The BBC reported.
Geymonat shared a bloody photo of her and her girlfriend Chris after the attack to social media.
“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,” the 28-year-old explained in a Facebook post.
“[W]hat 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 said. “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 because when you stand up for yourself s*** like this happens.”
London has recently witnessed a spike in violent crime. A report commissioned by GLA Conservatives “claims knife crime has increased by 52 percent, while residential burglaries are up by 37 percent and robberies by 59 percent over the last three years. Last year there were 135 murders – a 26 percent increase since 2016 and the highest homicide rate in the capital for more than a decade,” U.K.-based Express highlighted.
Moreover, as noted by The New York Times, hate crimes against gays have spiked, too:
“Reports of homophobic hate crimes have risen steadily in London over the last four years, according to the Metropolitan Police’s crime statistics, with 2,308 reported in 2018, up from 1,488 in 2014. The police have attributed the increase, in part, to a greater willingness of people to report anti-gay crimes.”