According to the FBI:
Defining a Hate Crime
A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime – and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.
Keep that in mind as you read on.
Yesterday, during the early hours of the morning in a quiet suburb of Lincoln, Nebraska, a woman’s home was broken into by three men wearing masks. They stripped the woman and pinned her arms and ankles together with zip ties.
They cut her all over her body. Then they carved words into her skin. Then they poured gasoline on the floor and threw a lit match on it.
According to the Journal Star a friend said the woman crawled from her house, naked and bleeding and screaming for help before reaching the doorstep of a neighbor’s home.
A source to LGBTQ Nation said “the words ‘cunt’, ‘fag’, and ‘dyke’ were carved into her face and body, and that assailants tried to set her house on fire.”
The woman’s friends told LGBTQ Nation the assailants also spray painted anti-gay words in her basement, including, “We found U dyke”. They say it’s a definite hate crime because the woman assaulted is a lesbian.
“When someone takes the time to handcuff someone with a zip tie and carve derogatory comments or words into somebody else’s body, that’s sheer hate and at this point, this is a hate crime.”
Damon Robbins, the Lincoln FD arson investigator, told the local media there was evidence that a match ignited vapors coming from gasoline pooled on the woman’s floor. Luckily the fire did not continue to burn. He estimates the damage to be around $200.
So, just to recap:
- These guys broke into a lesbian’s house.
- They carved the word DYKE into her belly.
- They spray painted FOUND U DYKE on her basement wall.
- They set a fire to kill her and burn the evidence.
|(Journal Star via Towle Road)|
Last night a group of between 500 to 1000 people gathered at the Nebraska State Capitol building to hold a vigil for the woman.
Those gathered were so numerous they spilled out into 14th Street. Police forced them onto the Capitol lawn to make room for passing vehicles. The crowd complied, but were understandably agitated.
Karen Bratton-Cranford, the president of Star City Pride, an LGBT advocacy group, used a microphone to urge the crowd to act respectfully and not take matters into their own hands.
“Don’t go out and act on your own. Don’t give them the power to control your actions,” she said.
The unidentified woman’s friends and neighbors are speaking out on her behalf, and I think it is important for every out Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered or Queer person to help get her very real story out in the public’s eye.
For this woman it’s too late. She will see the evidence of bigotry and hate scarred into her face and body for a long time to come. Her healing will take years, if it ever comes, and her personal nightmare will roll along with horrifying flashbacks and daily visual reminders whenever she catches a glimpse of her own face.
We must get a handle on these horrific hate crimes and prosecute the vicious animals who do them to the fullest extent of the law. If our local law enforcement offices don’t recognize a hate crime when they see one, then it’s our duty to show them the connection. We must stand behind our rainbow brothers and sisters, supporting those victimized by hate with as much love as we can possibly shower on them. We will take up their cause and refuse to let them be silenced.
SO WAKE UP LINCOLN PD. The rainbow world, and the world at large, is watching to see just how much more proof you need before you classify this a hate crime and get a real investigation underway.