Couple targeted in homophobic attack on London bus say they are now 'more physically confident'
A couple who were attacked on a London bus have insisted they will not behave differently in public and feel more "physically confident" because they know they will stand up for themselves.
Melania Geymonat, 28, and her girlfriend Chris, 29, were returning from a night out in West Hampstead when a group of teenagers began taunting them, making crude gestures and asking the pair to kiss for their entertainment.
When they refused, the group started throwing coins before launching a violent assault, which left Chris with a broken jaw.
In an interview with Channel 4, they described the incident as primarily 'an attack towards women, and then after homosexual women'.
But they said it has not changed how safe they feel going out in London and said they would not allow the attack to change the way they act as a couple.
Chris said: “I’ve always been scanning the environment. This attack did not leave me feeling less confident - if anything I’m more physically confident myself because I know that I will stand up myself.”
She added: “I have had twinges of uneasiness - but to not behave the way that a heterosexual couple would freely is letting people get you down.”
Ms Geymonat, a 28-year-old doctor from Uruguay, said she believes the group saw the couple as “sexual objects.”
“It was an attack towards women and then after a homosexual attack,” she said.
“The first thing that happened that night is they were watching us and seeing us as sexual objects, they thought we were there to entertain them so in that sense we were objects for them.”
Chris admitted she still felt angry in the wake of the attack but the feeling was not directed at the teenagers.
“These kids on the bus they’re not really the source of my angst now it’s more (that) hate crimes are alive and well,” she said.
A picture of the couple taken immediately after the attack, which took place on May 30, went viral when it was posted on Ms Geymonat’s Facebook page.
Speaaking of the picture, she said: “The picture is very striking. It's a violent picture so I think it was circulated for shock value but it is a picture of two white women, we’re very tidily packaged into sympathetic victims."
Ms Geymonat said the gang behaved like "hooligans", throwing money at the couple before punching them.
Both women were taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries. Chris had a broken jaw.
Four males, aged between 15 and 18 years old, were arrested on suspicion of aggravated GBH and robbery in relation to the attack.