Brunswick Police are calling for information following a homophobic attack last week which left a 21-year-old Brunswick West woman with a broken nose and a large cut to the mouth.
The victim, Shannon (surname withheld), was knocked unconscious in the assault on the corner of Moreland and Sydney Rds, Coburg at around 11.30pm Tuesday, November 15.
Shannon and her girlfriend and another female friend were on the way home from a night out when they were approached by a gang of up to six men.
The men started to harass the three and called Shannon a “stupid dyke” before punching her in the face and knocking her to the ground.
When Shannon stood up to defend herself she was punched to the ground again and kicked.
Her second fall knocked her unconscious and an ambulance was called.
Shannon told the Star Observer the attack has left shaken and fearful of going out.
“It was terrifying and really worrying,” she said.
“We just didn’t expect that to happen. I just want to get the word out there for people to be careful so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Shannon’s girlfriend’s mother, Lianne George, said she was upset to hear the news.
“I’m really, really angry, just so angry that men could actually do this to women, number one, and the fact that they were targeted because they’re gay or lesbian,” George said.
“It’s made me think there’s Neanderthals out there.”
The men were last seen fleeing down Sydney Rd and have been described as being of Middle Eastern appearance.
Constable Jodie Donegan from Brunswick Police urged anyone with information about the incident to contact police.
Since the attack, Facebook posts from other women have emerged, suggesting similar incidents have occurred in the area.
Donegan said, during her two years at the station, reports to police of homophobic violence in the area were uncommon. However, she confirmed police were monitoring the level of male-to-female violence.
Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer Senior Constable Gabrielle Tyacke urged anyone with information to contact police and said anyone who has experienced violence or abuse in the area needs to come forward.
“We encourage people to report any incidents to police, because if they’re not reported police don’t know they’re happening,” Tyacke said.
In April 2010 the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby launched an anti-violence initiative in the area called Out and Safe after anecdotal reports of a rise in homophobic violence in Brunswick.
INFO: Call Brunswick Police on 03 8378 6000.