20-yr-old lesbian left bloodied after she was attacked by homophobic thugs: 'It has knocked my confidence back'
On January 11 in Sunderland, Charlotte Graham, a 20-year-old woman, was walking to meet a friend. Without any warning, she was attacked -- punched in the head from behind and thrown to the ground by two men. She was allegedly attacked for being a lesbian.
On January 11 in Sunderland, Charlotte Graham, a 20-year-old woman, was walking to meet a friend. Without any warning, she was attacked -- punched in the head from behind and thrown to the ground by two men.
She was allegedly attacked for being a lesbian. Charlotte, who goes by Charlie, was left battered and covered in blood. According to the BBC, the Northumbria Police said they were treating it as a hate crime and were hunting two men.
Charlie, who says this is the fifth time she has been targeted for her sexual orientation, wants everyone to see her injuries. She said, “I got hit from behind by a fist to the back of my head, then I hit the ground, hurting my legs and face. I tried to get back up, but they pushed me back to the ground and the two guys ran off. I was left bleeding and scared.” The attack has reportedly left Charlie traumatized. Suffering from panic attacks and headaches, Charlie is now too scared to leave the house. According to the Mirror, in a previous incident of assault, her eye was split open, requiring stitches.
Speaking to the press, Charlie recalled another incident where she was walking down the road with a girlfriend, when a stranger approached them, shouted “d*ke” and then punched her. “It has knocked my confidence back,” said Charlie. “I don't go anywhere by myself anymore. I only feel comfortable at my mum's house. I have panic attacks and anxiety attacks just thinking about going home in case they find out where I live and decide to come through the door, or I get attacked in my own home. I have had people threatening to come through my door and smash the windows in.”
Charlie further said, “I think you should be able to be proud of who you are. It makes me feel I have got to stay in the house and hide who I am and everything but in this day and age, I shouldn't have to do that. It should be accepted. I've tried not to let it beat me up and get on with my life, but I do worry if it happens again that it is worse than it was before. It did scare me, but I thought 'it's just one of those things... it's happened again. What am I supposed to do about it? It happens everywhere. It's my bad luck.”
Talking about herself, Charlie said, “I do look like a boy and I do act like a boy and there is no femininity about me at all. But I am not aggressive, or rowdy and I don't pick fights. I have never opened my mouth to anybody.”
Despite the abuse and the panic attacks, Charlie is, however, determined to get the word out about the spate of homophobia in England. She said, “It is very important to me for my pictures to be shared, so people are aware there are people out there that will attack you for whatever reason they feel is necessary -- whether that is your sexuality, color of your skin, the way you walk or how you dress. It was very painful and I'm still in a lot of pain now having to take regular pain relief.”
According to a 2019 Guardian report, homophobic and transphobic hate crimes, including stalking, harassment, and violent assault, have more than doubled in England and Wales over five years. The report said that the rate of LGBTQIA+ hate crime rose by 144 percent between 2013-14 and 2017-18, adding that in the most recent year of data, police recorded 11,600 crimes.