Four teenagers have been arrested in connection to a brutal homophobic attack on a London bus that left two women bloodied and severely injured.
London’s Metropolitan Police report the four teens – one 15-year-old, two 16-year-olds, and one 17-year-old – have been charged for committing an aggravated hate crime.
One 16-year-old was also charged with possession of cannabis, and the other 16-year-old with theft and handling stolen goods.
Instinct previously reported on the attack which occurred in the late night hours of May 29.
Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend Chris say they were approached by the four suspects who began taunting them and demanding they kiss. When they refused, the teens reportedly assaulted them.
“We must have kissed or something because these guys came after us,” Geymonat said in a Facebook post. “They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions.”
The incident soon escalated as Geymonat shared, “The next thing I know is that 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,” she continued. “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.”
Geymonat’s nose was broken and had to be reset, and Chris was taken to a hospital where she was treated for a fractured jaw.
After the attackers fled, the couple asked a witness to photograph them. Posted on Geymonat’s Facebook page a few days later, the bloody photo went viral.
Geymonat later told BBC Radio 4’s World At One that, while she had experience verbal attacks in regard to her sexuality prior to the incident, this was the first time she had been physically harmed.
Police Detective Superintendent Andy Cox publicly denounced the “disgusting attack.” And London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that “hate crimes against LGBT+ people will not be tolerated in London.”
This was a disgusting, misogynistic attack. Hate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 7, 2019
The four suspects are scheduled to appear in Youth Court on August 21.
In the aftermath of the attack and ensuing press coverage, Chris penned an op-ed for The Guardian in which she noted the disproportionate media coverage versus that of violence on people of color, transgender people and more.
The essay read, in part:
A refrain I’ve heard ad nauseum is “I can’t believe this happened – it’s 2019”. I disagree. This attack and the ensuing media circus are par for the course in 2019. In both my native United States and here in the United Kingdom, it always has been and still is open season on the bodies of (in no specific order) people of colour, indigenous people, transgender people, disabled people, queer people, poor people, women and migrants.
I have evaded much of the violence and oppression imposed on so many others by our capitalist, white supremacist, patriarchal system because of the privileges I enjoy by dint of my race, health, education, and conventional gender presentation. That has nothing to do with the merit of my character.
The press coverage, and timely law enforcement response, was not coincidental to our complexions. Neither was the disproportionate online reaction over the victimisation of a pretty brunette and blonde. The commodification and exploitation of my face came at the expense of other victims whose constant persecution apparently does not warrant similar moral outrage.
Make the extraordinary reaction to our attack the norm. I beg you to amplify and channel this energy to hold accountable the intersecting web of elected politicians, government agencies and corporations who have reinforced a status quo of clearly delineated inequality long before this single attack in 2019.