For the second year in a row, the France-based organisation SOS Homophobie has published the figures showing the acts of harassment towards lesbian women recorded over a year. And the results are very worrying: between 2017 and 2018, heinous acts towards gay women have surged by 42%. In total, 365 cases have been recorded, meaning roughly one per day.
These figures include a huge variety of abuse: ranging from rejection to discrimination, including insults and physical violence. According to the figures published by the organisation, 28% took place online, 14% within families, 13% in public areas and 10% at work.
SOS Homophobie hasn’t been able to determine whether this enormous surge was due to an actual increase in abuse against victims or whether more people have just decided to speak out about it. In all cases, the abuse was real. Several victims have also accepted the organisation’s request to talk about their experiences. Their stories were told by the French media source, France Inter.
This is Valérie and Aurélie’s story. These two women were victims of unprecedented violence while they were holding hands while queuing for the toilet in a restaurant. A man started insulting them.
‘I asked him to stop judging us. And then, he punched me right in the face, I fell over and he kept hitting me. Aurélie pulled him back and he then started on her,’ explained Valérie. Another couple experienced a violent outburst when they were kissing in the street. A young girl came up to them and ‘punched them in the nose and the cheeks,’ explained the victim.
On public transport, on the street, in bars… in different places, but victims have claimed to experience completely unprovoked abuse, just because of a kiss or a public display of affection. Although these heinous acts don’t always involve physical violence, they are always traumatising for the victims. Sometimes, even so much so that they end up changing the way they behave in public.
‘These experiences […] I have experienced them for the last two and a half years. They have convinced me that I shouldn’t kiss my girlfriend in public,’ concludes an anonymous source.
Lesbophobia represents 22% of all heinous acts towards people in the LGBT+ community. Check out the video above to find out more!