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Gay cancer patient brutally attacked by homophobic thugs who didn’t like her t-shirt or her haircut

Emma Powys Maurice August 18, 2020
Heulwen Rowcliffe: Cancer patient brutally attacked by homophobic thugs

Heulwen Rowcliffe (right) with her partner Karen Faith (Facebook/Karen Faith)

Gay cancer patient was Heulwen Rowcliffe subjected to a brutal attack by two homophobic thugs who kicked and punched her to the ground because they objected to her t-shirt.

Rowcliffe, 45, was diagnosed with breast cancer a month ago and has since undergone surgery and radiotherapy. She was sent home to recover in Lampeter, Ceredigion, where she ventured out to walk her dog on Friday (14 August).

She was walking along a riverside footpath at around 3.35pm when two men in their early 20s approached her and commented on her t-shirt, which read: ‘My Girlfriend Bought Me This.’

“These two guys came up to me and said, ‘Why are you wearing that t-shirt?'” Pronath told Wales Online. “They then pushed me to the floor before one of them hit me and the other kicked me in the back.”

As she lay on the ground she attempted to call the police, but put her phone back into her pocket as the men tried to grab it from her.

“Because I was wearing tight jeans they couldn’t get the phone out and they ran off,” she said. “I walked home and phoned the police.”

Heulwen Rowcliffe (right) with her partner Karen Faith (Facebook/Heulwen Rowcliffe)

Rowcliffe hurt her back in the attack and also suffered scrapes on her face. She’s clear that she was targeted “because of the way I dress and because of my haircut,” and while she’s shocked it happened in her hometown, she wasn’t entirely surprised.

“This is not the first time,” she told the BBC. “I’ve been assaulted a few times just because of how I look and what I wear. Not in this area, but in New Quay and Carmarthen.”

The repeated homophobic attacks have impacted her mental health, which made it difficult for her to leave the house even before her cancer diagnosis.

“I don’t normally take the dog out for a walk because I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks,” she said. “I have barely left the house in the last three years. It’s my dad who normally takes the dog for a walk.

“I will never walk down that area again. I don’t even want to leave the house.”

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed the force was investigating an alleged hate crime. Anyone who witnessed the incident near the Cae Dash footpath on August 14 is urged to contact police by calling 101.

More: cancer, Hate crime, Heulwen Rowcliffe, Homophobia, homophobic attack, Lampeter, UK, Wales

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