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Crime

Gay couple assaulted by neighbours in violent homophobic attack

Patrick Kelleher August 14, 2018

NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty

A gay man from Belgium has opened up about the terrifying ordeal he and his husband experienced, when two neighbours beat them up in a homophobic attack on Monday morning.

46-year-old Mauro Padovani, who works as a cartoonist, and his 59-year-old husband Tom Freeman were attacked on Monday by two neighbours.

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty

Padovani told Corriere.it on Monday that he is still shocked by the severity of the assault, which left him with a concussion and his husband with injuries to his back.

“They spat in our face. They insulted us, and then they started beating us with a steering lock on the head, on the back and on the legs. Everywhere.

“I love Belgium. I got married here. But now, I do not feel safe here anymore,” he added.

According to Padovani, this is not the first time they have been subjected to homophobic violence and harassment from the neighbours. When they first moved into the building and introduced themselves, the couple told them that they hated gay people.

Since then, they say they have experienced a number of attacks.

“They once threw bricks at us. When they saw us, they screamed at us. We went to the police several times, but they never listened to us,” Padovani said.

NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty

Padovani and Freeman met online 12 years ago and “fell in love right away.” They got married five years ago, but sadly, Freeman developed Alzheimer’s disease just a year later.

“He has Alzheimer’s, and that hurts me the most, to see him on the ground in tears. To beat a person like him is like beating a child,” he said.

Figures suggest that incidences of homophobic hate crimes have increased in several countries in recent years. In March, it was revealed that there had been a sharp increase in hate crimes in London, both on the streets and on public transport.

Just last weekend, two young gay men were brutally assaulted in a homophobic attack in Ukraine, and gay porn star Wesley Woods last week revealed that he had been attacked for being gay just days before.

More: Belgium, Europe, hate crime belgium, homophobic attack belgium, Mauro Padovani

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