A woman in Lincoln, Nebraska was accosted in her home this week by three masked men. Police have announced that they consider the incident an LGBT hate crime after they discovered derogatory words for lesbians painted on the walls of the woman’s home. Some friends also said that more slurs were painted throughout the woman’s basement.
CNN reports that the victim’s hands were tied, and words had also been cut into her body, but investigators did not announce what those words were. The woman, who is reportedly a 33-year-old, was able to get to her neighbor, Linda Rappl’s, house and ask for help. It was apparent to Rappl that the woman had been subjected to torture for some time.
Investigators also noted that gasoline was poured around the woman’s house and someone had lit it in an attempt to set the house ablaze. Fortunately, the fire did not substantially damage the structure or the woman, although the attempt was made to destroy the house. The woman lives openly as a lesbian and acquaintances have maintained that she is a committed community member.
News of the hate crime spread rapidly across the internet, spurring support for the victim and spawning statements against LGBT hate crimes. Twitter was awash with statements regarding the woman’s attack. One woman said, “Some people make me sick. Why can’t we all respect and appreciate each other?” Another said, “Why is this stuff still happening?” Yet another said, “This. Has. To. Stop.”
The local community of Lincoln, Nebraska has also taken a stand against the hate crime. Mayor Chris Beutler stated on Monday that:
Hate crimes are despicable and appalling to me and to all Lincoln residents… Lincoln strives to be a community that embraces tolerance and equality. We stand united with our gay and lesbian citizens in denouncing violence directed at any group.
Members of the community also organized a vigil for the victim of the crime on Sunday, which about 500 people attended. Police officials have stated that they will pursue the case until justice has been served.
The woman is reported to be recovering steadily and is now out of the hospital and at an emergency shelter. LGBT rights organizers have stated their faith in the police force to follow the course of the investigation to its conclusion. Although investigators were at first reticent to state that the crime was a hate crime, they later officially announced that they classified the attack in that category.
Photo Credit: Bob Bobster