Deaf lesbian activist suffers homophobic attack
A deaf woman has told how she was attacked just yards from her South London home.
Helena Martins 43, told the Evening Standard she was cornered by a man as she walked home – in what she believes is a homophobic attack.
Ms Martins – who suffers from Meniere’s disease and lost her hearing five years ago – moved to London from Portugal twelve years ago and lives with her wife in Tooting.
Speaking of the attack, which happened last Thursday (December 10) evening, she said : “I am very shaken. I have no doubt that I was targeted because I was a woman wearing a tie.
“He was quite fixated on the tie. I am not butch but I wear masculine attire.”
“And because of my disease, I suffer from vertigo, so I do not walk straight. I might look like I’m drunk when I’m not – so maybe I was seen as an easy target”.
Moments before the attack she removed her cochlea implant, – which she uses to hear – as she approached her house.
The man then attacked her, hitting her in the eye, before pulling on her tie in an attempt to choke her before scratching her face.
Mrs Martins – who is trained in Taekwondo and is Head of Digital Engagement for the National Deaf Children’s Society – eventually managed to kick the attacker in the crotch, which prompted him to run off.
She then picked up her implant and rushed home.
“It was like a flash. I ran inside. I was in shock – I just wanted to be left alone” she told the newspaper.
“I have scratches across my face and red marks on my neck. This is a way of letting people know that hate crime and homophobia is still very much alive” she added.
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The attacker was described as late 20s to early 30s with dark hair and eyes, and facial hair.
He was wearing a grey jacket and a grey wool sweater with dark jeans.
Homophobia and hate crimes are still a “day to day problem” for the LGBT community a spokeswoman for Stonewall said
“It is crucial that people report hate crimes they witness or that they are a victim of, even if they are unsure if it is a crime.
“Reporting helps prevent further incidents in the future” she added.
Police are investigating the attack, which happened around 5pm on December 9. No arrests have been made.