Darya /

“My name is Daria Volkova, I’m 23 and bi-gender. I live in Russia – it is to live in constant resistance to a system, one which does not focus on the maintenance of the people, but on its own – the systems – survival. And life for LGBT people is living in fear: for work, family, yourself, and your life.

In the Winter of 2011, I began to receive numerous threats from unknown people in social networks. I didn’t pay attention to it. On 5 March of that year, I was coming to my mother’s home, late at night from a driving course. My way, as usual, was through the large, dark, deserted park near home. In the middle of the road I was suddenly surrounded by eight masked men. In their hands were baseball bats. One had a knife. They jumped on me. They screamed at me, humiliated me, insulted me. They knocked me to the ground and started beating with the bats… I tried to resist, to defend myself, but against a crowd of adults, this group of crazy and embittered men, it was useless… I lost consciousness. One of them, the one with the knife, when I was unconsciousness, stabbed me with in the stomach and left me to bleed to death.

I was found by my friends, who began a searching for me when I didn’t get to home in time. And then… three days of resuscitation, and surgery, and cardiac arrest. I survived in despite to everybody. My friends took me from the hospital to their home outside the city, where I recuperated. We lied to my mom. With her poor health she wouldn’t survive to her 55th year with such a “”surprise””.

For more than a year after the attack I lived in fear and paranoia. I felt that I was being followed all the time. I was afraid to leave the house and went out only during the day and only hand in hand with a friend. I left ComingOut, and reduced all contacts to a minimum, and spent most of the time just sitting at home. Until one day, I understood that these people had achieved what they wanted – they made me, an LGBT activist, silent. They completely broke me. And then I realized: I wouldn’t allow them to succeed.

Now I think it’s my duty to tell my story to everyone. Especially to Russian LGBTIQ. Everyone should understand that the risk of homophobia is real. We are killed, really, and our lives and souls maimed. And even if you are sitting at home in the closet – it does not mean that at one moment you won’t become the next victim. And the police will not help you, just like me, they just kicked me out, humiliated me, cut my statement as soon as they heard those treasured words – ‘I am a lesbian.’”

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