Teenage Boys Confess Harassing Couple After They Refused To Perform Sex Act
Three teenage boys have admitted harassing two women on a bus after they refused to kiss for their entertainment.
Melania Geymonat, 28, and her girlfriend, Christine Hannigan, had been travelling on the top deck of a night bus to Camden Town when they were confronted by the youths on May 30.
The teenagers, aged 15, 16 and 17, appeared in court on Thursday, November 28, after previously denying charges of harassment by using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.
Highbury Corner Youth Court previously heard how the two women were surrounded by the boys, hit with coins and subjected to sexual gestures after they refused to perform a sex act.
The assault happened when the teenagers realised Melania and Christine were a couple, and started demanding they kiss in front of them. When the women refused, the gang physically attacked them, leaving them both covered in blood and needing hospital treatment.
Four boys were charged with an aggravated hate crime under the Public Order Act in July, with the 15- and 16-year-old handed an additional charge of handling stolen goods. All four previously denied all of the charges.
However, before the trial on Thursday – which was expected to last two days – three of the teenagers, who cannot be named for legal reasons due to their ages, admitted the public order offences. Charges were dropped against a 17-year-old.
Prosecutor Saira Khan told the court, as per The Guardian, each of the teenagers played a different role during the nine-minute incident, which left one of the victims with a broken nose.
Speaking out at the time of the attack, Melania described it as ‘chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence’ on her Facebook page. In an article in The Guardian written by Christine, she said the attack was ‘par for the course in 2019’ before urging everyone to ‘make the extraordinary reaction to our attack the norm’.
Christine’s right; despite how horrifying this assault was and how much media attention it sparked, Melania and Christine aren’t the only ones facing homophobic abuse on a day-to-day basis.
Earlier this year, a survey of 108,000 LGBTQ+ people in the UK – making it the largest national survey of its type in the world to date – found more than two-thirds of respondents said they had avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner because they were scared of a negative reaction from others.
The fact it’s 2019 and two people can’t even hold hands or act like a couple without fearing unjust consequences is the devastating reality members of the LGBTQ+ community face on a daily basis. They should have the same rights as any other person in the world – not just on paper alone – yet in reality they don’t.
Hopefully this case will act as a turning point; the teenagers who pleaded guilty will be sentenced later today by District Judge Susan Williams.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, or email [email protected]
CreditsThe Guardian and 3 others