Four teenagers were arrested Friday for allegedly attacking Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend, Chris, on a London bus after the lesbian couple refused to kiss.
NBC News reported that 28-year-old Geymonat and her girlfriend were on their way home from a night out in West Hampstead last week when they were approached by a group of teens who made crude sexual gestures at the pair while demanding that they kiss. When the couple did not comply with the teens, they were left bloodied and battered by a vicious punching attack.
“They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions,” Geymonat said in a Wednesday Facebook post describing the attack. “I don’t remember the whole episode, but the word ‘scissors’ stuck in my mind.”
Geymonat said she made jokes in an attempt to lighten the situation with the gang, but that approach didn’t work.
“In an attempt to calm things down, I started making jokes,” Geymonat said. “I thought this might make them go away. Chris even pretended she was sick, but they kept on harassing us, throwing us coins and becoming more enthusiastic about it.”
Shortly after, the group attacked and beat her girlfriend Chris. Geymonat recalled going to aid Chris, who was bleeding badly while being beaten by three teens, when the group turned their attention on her.
“I went over there only to find her face bleeding and three of them beating her up,” Geymonat wrote. “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,” she continued. “Suddenly the bus had stopped, the police were there and I was bleeding all over.”
Local police, who said the attack was captured on a CCTV system, described the beating in similar terms as Geymonat.
“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. The women were then attacked and punched several times before the males ran off the bus,” police said in a press release issued Friday.
Police put out a plea for witnesses to come forward regarding the attack, eventually resulting in the arrest of four teens.
Melania Geymonat incident highlights what critics say is hostile climate toward LGBT individuals
“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,” Geymonat said in her Facebook post. “I’m tired of being taken as a sexual object, of finding out these situations are usual, of gay friends who were beaten up just because.”
In 2018, the FBI reported a 17 percent rise in hate crimes across the United States. 15.8 percent of those incidents were involved individuals being targeted because of their sexual orientation. Activists have pointed to the figures as evidence that society still has a long way to go in acknowledging the rights of LGBT persons.
Some critics however, cite reporting methodology to argue that the numbers aren’t necessarily indicative of a spike in hate crimes.