The victim of an LGBT hate crime in Lincoln, Nebraska has decided to come forward and make a public statement about her attack on local television. Charlie Rogers was attacked in her home when three masked men broke into her house, bound her wrists and carved offensive anti-gay words into her abdomen. The attackers also attempted to set her house on fire and painted more slurs on her wall before leaving.
The community of Lincoln, Nebraska has stood by Rogers during the entire week, holding a vigil to support her. The police confirmed that the attack was a hate crime directed at the LGBT community after they discovered the nature of the words in her home but many doubters have surfaced, suggesting that Rogers made up the whole event simply because no suspects have been unearthed yet.
Rogers came forward in a moving interview, speaking clearly and tearfully about the attack. She reaffirmed her humanity, her integrity and her support of victims of violence around the world in the statement.
She said regarding those who do not believe she was attacked:
Being a victim in a situation like this, or survivor, and then having your integrity questioned I guess… It feels very victimizing again. It feels very saddening. It makes an already difficult situation more difficult because my world has been changed forever by these events.
Rogers’ statement points out that those who don’t believe she was attacked are playing a game and injecting an essentially anti-LGBT agenda into an already traumatic situation. By claiming that Rogers is lying about her experience, doubters are belittling simultaneously Rogers (most likely because of her identity as a lesbian woman) and the serious nature of LGBT hate crimes. She continued in her statement:
I’m a person, you know, with feelings, with concerns and it’s just so…. It feels like a punch in the stomach, like a betrayal…
Instead of the focus being on safety and healing and the investigation, the whole thing turns into a defense, essentially. You know, it starts to feel like, you know, it doesn’t even become about the situation it becomes about something altogether different and then I start to feel like a pawn in a game.
People are people. Agendas are agendas. And I think it’s really important that we distinguish between those two things.
Rogers concluded her statement by thanking those that have stood beside her during this most difficult time and reaffirming the importance of awareness and compassion. “Everyone is worthy of safety, and justice, and fairness.”