Robin Hammond

St Petersburg, Russia

23 year old Darya Volkova. Late one night in the first week of March 2011, Darya was attacked on her way home from a driving lesson. For two months before that she had received threats on social media. She would receive messages like 'death to lesbians', 'burn in hell', 'if you won't shut up we will find you', 'we know where you live, we will find you and you will pay for it', 'we will kill you'. These were in response to her coming out as a lesbian and her street activism. As she walked through a park on the way home heard the foot steps of several people behind her, they shouted for her to stop, she started walking faster until she came across two men blocking her path wearing balaclavas. She was surrounded. They started to push her and shout 'death to lesbians', 'burn in hell'. One of them threw a punch which she was able to block, and then she felt a powerful blow on her back as one of the men struck her with a baseball bat. She fell to the ground. She was kicked and beaten with baseball bats until she was knocked unconscious. One of them men then stabbed her in the stomach. She lay bleeding for what must have been around four hours before she was found. By that time she had lost a lot of blood. She was rushed to the hospital. Several times her heart stopped after surgery. After being discharged from hospital and spending a week resting she went to the police: 'they just laughed at me,' she said 'you got what you deserve… we don't serve lesbians here'. She was scared to go back to the area so moved away. She still receives threats on social media. No investigation into the attack has ever been made. 'I really hope that destiny will judge them,' she says. While many countries around the world are legally recognising same-sex relationships, individuals in nearly 80 countries face criminal sanctions for private consensual relations with another adult of the same sex. Violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender expression is even more

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Robin Hammond
City
St Petersburg
Country
Russia
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