D&O / Russia
“October 19th, we were returning in a great mood from a jazz concert. It ended quite late, so we went home on the last subway train. At the station just a few people came out with us. The escalator was empty except two guys, about 25 years old. We are going up with holding hands and in one moment kissed. After that, there flew in a crumpled piece of paper, but we chose not to pay attention to it, thinking it was an accident.
We got out of the subway and went our usual way, holding hands. The street was deserted, but nothing but we go that way every day, so we no reason to be worried.
They attacked us when we were on the way to home…
O: I heard quick footsteps, and immediately felt a strong blow to my head. They attacked us from behind without saying a thing. Everything happened so fast that I did not even have time to understand what was going on. I thought that they wanted to take my bag.
D: I saw in my peripheral vision someone quickly approaching my girlfriend. I wanted to pull her toward me, but it was like lightning, and at this moment he hit her on the head. The impact was strong – she could barely stay on her feet. I was very scared. Turning, I saw that the attacker – one of those young people from the escalator. He shouted, “Oh, you fucking lesbian!”. I tried to push him away, but then he hit me.
O: In fright I screamed: “Are you crazy?! We’re sisters.” At this moment he hit D. in the face, shouted, “Yeah, I saw you! Promoting LGBT! “. I wanted to stop him, but I couldn’t even reach him. He hit me.
He beat us in turn, shouting: “No LGBT!”. We tried to do something, but to no avail. We felt absolutely helpless. All this time his friend stood by filming what was happening on his phone, probably to show off to his friends. This lasted a few minutes. Finally the assailant shouted that he would kill us if he ever saw us again. Then they were gone.
D: I tried to stop O to see if she was okay. But she pulled me forward and asked to go straight home.
O: I cried and did not understand why this happened to us …
D: I was in pain and went limp. I was very angry at myself for having failed to protect us. At home we felt the full impact of each stroke.
O: I was sick, dizzy and sick. My entire spine and face were in pain. But I knew that we were lucky – in any case, we both alive …
D: My thigh ached – I could not sit, stand, everything hurt. My head ached. But most of all I was worried about O, I thought that she was in more pain than me.
We were in such a state that we could not do anything. The next day, we were afraid to leave the house, and we didn’t call the police because we were expecting a negative attitude from them because of our orientation.
O: Still, a day later we went to the police, the emergency room, and a human rights organization. But the criminal case has not yet been initiated, despite the efforts of our lawyers, and our own efforts. But the police were very quick to provide our story in the media. Many people made negative comments about the articles, because in our country, gay people are not tolerated. All this only aggravated our emotional state.
O: After the incident I felt like someone could just run up and for no apparent reason to attack us. This feeling stays with me even when we are in a crowded place during the day, not to mention late at night … I do not feel as free as before. Now, when we walk hand in hand, I cannot help thinking: “And how will that crowd there respond to us? Will they pounce with cries of “no LGBT!” … I have asked for forgiveness from my girlfriend for being in this situation and not being able to stand up for her. Up until now, the thought of my helplessness haunts me. Before, I did not want to believe that people can be so easily attacked in the street just because they are gay. Now I believe it …
O: After the attack, I felt even more strongly how dear D is to me, and how scary the thought that I could lose her. The worst thing that I felt was an absolute inability to protect the one I loved, or even myself. Yes, now I look back on the street and look at every passing male as a possible source of danger. I realized that there are defective people who can pounce on us just because we are lesbians. But every time, now when I’m in the street, when I take her by the hand, I do it consciously, it is my choice. D. hold my hand, this is my reward for your courage.”
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