London bus homophobic attack: Fifth teen arrested as lesbian couple say they are 'not scared about being visibly queer'
Despite being attacked brutally, Melania Geymonat and her American partner Chris were blamed by many on social media for "bringing it on themselves"
CCTV cameras captured a horrific attack perpetrated on a lesbian couple traveling in a London bus that left one of them with a broken jaw for refusing to kiss her partner.
The beatings, which have brought a wave of homophobic abuse online, was captured in footage by bus operator Metroline, who said they are co-operating with law enforcement to hold the attackers accountable, Daily Mail reports.
Met Police arrested a fifth teenage boy, aged between 15 and 18, Saturday morning in connection with the attack.
In the early hours of May 30, Melania Geymonat, 28, and her American partner Chris, 29, were physically assaulted and robbed following an evening out in West Hampstead, north west London. The attack left both victims bloodied, bruised, and traumatized.
But the real ugliness of the situation was visible on social media, where users left vile and derogatory comments about the women just days after the attack and blamed them for "bringing it on themselves."
Ryan Bennett wrote on Facebook: "That's what you get for being gay."
Chisomo Chitete wrote: "No wonder my brother still can't find a girl to marry. All the girls have been taken by girls."
Danzil Denno wrote on Twitter: "Don't do that in public. See now the results of being silly?"
However, the brave couple has declared they are not affected by the torrent of insults online and "are not scared to be visibly queer."
In a conversation with BBC London News, Chris explained how the gang of rowdy men started to demand they kiss after noticing they were a couple. They even made crude sexual gestures at the pair.
"They got up out of their seats and walked over to where we were and started very aggressively harassing us," she said. "One of them stayed a couple of rows behind and was throwing coins at us. I did not engage with him at all. Initially, Melania was trying to de-escalate the situation. She was being friendly but trying to keep them at bay."
The couple was defiant to what the gang demanded of them, sparking a vile and brutal attack that left them with severe facial injuries.
She continued: "Fighting broke out and I don’t know how we got from fighting on the top of the bus down to the lower deck but in that time frame they took my phone, her bag and they ran off the bus."
While Geymonat sustained a broken nose, Chris was left with a broken jaw.
Chris continued: "I was and still am angry. It was scary, but what is still making me angry is that this is not a novel situation. There are more hate crimes being committed. We’re just one anecdote."
Metropolitan Police records show an 18 percent rise in homophobic and transgender attacks from May 2017 to April 2018.
Geymonat added: "The violence is not only because we are women who are dating each other. It’s also because we are women."
When asked what people should take from the incident, Chris said: "I'm not scared about being visibly queer. There are a lot of people’s rights at risk and people’s basic safety is at risk. I want people to feel emboldened to stand up to the same people who feel emboldened. I want people to stand up for themselves and each other."