Police are investigating after a woman and her girlfriend were assaulted and robbed by a group of men on a London night bus.
Ryanair flight attendant Melania Geymonat, 28, from Uruguay, was on a date with a woman called Chris when the incident began to unfold aboard the N1 night bus in West Hampstead, after a night out on Thursday 30 May.
Writing in a Facebook post, accompanied by a picture of couple looking bloodied and distressed, Geymonat described how the group of four men targeted them after spotting them kiss.
She wrote: “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. It was only them and us there. In an attempt to calm things down, I started making jokes. I thought this might make them go away.
“Chris even pretended she was sick, but they kept on harassing us, throwing coins and becoming more enthusiastic about it. The next thing I know is Chris is in the middle of the bus fighting with them.
“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.”
Geymonat is still waiting to learn if her nose was broken in the attack and remains off work.
She added: “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. 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 shit like this happens.
“By the way, I am thankful to all the women and men in my life that understand that HAVING BALLS MEANS SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I just hope that in June, Pride Month, stuff like this can be spoken out loudly so they STOP HAPPENING!”
Both women were taken to hospital for treatment for facial injuries and a phone and bag were stolen during the assault.
The Met Police have confirmed they are investigating the attack and have appealed for witnesses to contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD737/30May. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also appealed for witnesses, branding the attack “disgusting and misogynistic.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the attack as “absolutely shocking”.
He said: “Solidarity to Melania and Chris, and to all in the LGBT+ community for everything they endure for simply being who they are.”
Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman, David Isaac, said: “These two young women – or anyone else for that matter – should never be subjected to physical attacks for being true to themselves in public.
“London is one of most diverse cities in the world and for such a grotesque attack to occur here is unacceptable. Such prejudiced and misogynistic behaviour is out of touch with the our society and should never be tolerated.
“Such attacks also demonstrate the importance of reporting hate crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice.”
According to Stonewall, one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/ or gender identity in the last 12 months, with four in five of those going unreported.