Words: Steve Brown
A woman was left bloody and bruised after a brutal homophobic attack.
Charlie Graham, 20, was approached by two men in Sunderland who hurled homophobic abuse towards her before battering her in the head and throwing her to the ground.
Graham – who identifies as a lesbian – says this is the fifth time she has been targeted because of her sexuality, the Daily Mirror reported.
She told the publication: “I got hit from behind by a fist to the back of my head, then I hit the ground, hurting my legs and face.
“I tried to get back up, but they pushed me back to the ground and the two guys ran off. I was left bleeding and scared.”
The incident – which police are treating as a hate crime – has left her terrified and afraid to leave her home.
She continued: “It has knocked my confidence back. I don’t go anywhere by myself anymore. I only feel comfortable at my mum’s house.
“I have panic attacks and anxiety attacks just thinking about going home in case they find out where I live and decide to come through the door, or I get attacked in my own home.
“I have had people threatening to come through my door and smash the windows in. I think you should be able to be proud of who you are.
“It makes me feel I have got to stay in the house and hide who I am and everything but in this day and age I shouldn’t have to do that. It should be accepted.
“I’ve tried not to let it beat me up and get on with my life, but I do worry if it happens again that it is worse than it was before.
“It did scare me, but I thought ‘it’s just one of those things’.
“It’s happened again. What am I supposed to do about it? It happens everywhere. It’s my bad luck.
“I do look like a boy and I do act like a boy and there is no femininity about me at all. But I am not aggressive, or rowdy and I don’t pick fights.
“I have never opened my mouth to anybody.”