A group of boys as young as 12 are wanted by police for a suspected homophobic attack
Police in the Netherlands are searching for a group of boys aged as young as 12 who are accused of brutally assaulting a gay man in a suspected homophobic attack.
The victim, Bart Jansen, 39, is now suffering with knee and back problems after he was confronted by the youngsters outside a shopping centre in the town of Eindhoven last week.
They asked Jansen he was gay, and when he confirmed that he was, “immediately the atmosphere turned 180 degrees,” he told Dutch newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad.
The boys, whom Jansen describes as “of non-Dutch ethnicity,” spat at him and shouted insults, including the slurs “f****t” and “zemmel”, the Moroccan-Arabic slang word meaning the same.
He ignored them and walked into the supermarket, but when he left the shop the boys were waiting for him and had grown to seven in number.
“I already saw them outside when I had just paid at the cash register. I still considered walking around, but just decided to walk right past it. They were boys of 13 or 15 years old. How bad could it get?” he thought.
“I walked by calmly but, out of nowhere, was kicked in the back. While still reeling from that, I was struck twice more,” reported Eindhoven News.
The boys piled onto Jansen until one of them called an end to the homophobic attack, ordering his friends to stop kicking.
“He shouted at me to walk away immediately,” Jansen recalled. “When I stopped a few meters further they almost caught me again. Luckily I made it into my apartment building just in time.”
Jansen was badly injured but says the aggression he saw in the boys’ eyes was much more painful. “I am not angry about it, I am especially very sad,” he said.
“You think back to what happened and you wonder: What did I deserve this from? I’m not doing anything wrong? That people can hate you so much for who you are. That hurts a lot.”
Police are urging witnesses to contact them with any information about the attackers, who they believe could be aged as young as 12.
In particular they are searching for two boys between 12 and 14 years of age who were wearing black coats. One was described as tall and slender, with a pointed face and medium-length dark hair. The other had a larger build with dark, curly hair.