Sunderland woman injured in suspected homophobic attack

Amy Walker
Photograph: Blue Light Images/Alamy

A 20-year-old woman was left covered in blood after she was punched in the back of the head during a suspected homophobic attack.

Charlie Graham had been on her way to meet a friend in Sunderland when she was attacked by two men during the early hours of Saturday morning.

Her mother, Michelle Storey, has since posted images of her daughter’s bloodied face and knees on social media in an effort to find those responsible.

Northumbria police said they were investigating the suspected hate crime, which happened in the Town End Farm area of the city.

Graham, who said she was pushed to the ground before her attackers ran off, said she had been attacked in similar circumstances on five other occasions.

In previous unprovoked assaults, she said she needed stitches after her eye was split open and was punched after someone called her a “dyke”.

She added she had experienced panic and anxiety attacks worrying that the perpetrators may find out where she lives.

“I don’t go anywhere by myself anymore. I only feel comfortable at my mum’s house,” Graham told Mirror Online. “I have had people threatening to come through my door and smash the windows in.”

She added: “I do look like a boy and I do act like a boy and there is no femininity about me at all. But I am not aggressive, or rowdy and I don’t pick fights. I have never opened my mouth to anybody.”

A spokesperson for Northumbria police said: “Shortly before 1am on Saturday, we received a report of an assault on Blackwood Road, Sunderland.

“It was reported that a woman was walking when she was attacked by two males who subjected her to homophobic language and caused injuries to her face, hands and knees.”

Graham, who said she was still in pain and taking painkillers following the assault, said she wanted photographs of the injuries to be published widely.

“[It’s] very important to me for my pictures to be shared, so people are aware there are people out there that will attack you for whatever reason they feel is necessary – whether that is your sexuality, colour of your skin, the way you walk or how you dress,” she said.