I am sitting in front of my computer, nearly speechless, wondering how someone could have so much hate for the way a person looks or for the music they enjoy, or how they could be so ignorant as to want to harm someone for being different.
On august 11th 2007 Sophie Lancaster (20) and Rob Maltby (21) were attacked but a group of 11 or 12 teenage boys. They beat Rob to un-consciousness, when Sophie tried to cradle and protect him but they stamped on her head. I can’t stomach to write the rest of the horrific details that this group of boys inflicted on these two students. Both victims were in comas; after 13 days Sophie died. Rob recovered with brain damage and disability.
I’m sure I don’t need to fill you in on the tragic details but in case you’re new to the story here are some related links, some information on wikipedia, an article in the telegraph and also the bbc
This vicious attack was carried out by a known gang from a local area, who not only attacked Sophie and Rob, but also filmed this and placed it on the internet. Yesterday Brendan Harris (15), who initially denied the murder, was found guilty. Ryan Herbert (16) pleaded guilty to the murder. Three other youths (ages 15, 16 and 17) were also found guilty of GBH to both victims.
During questioning Brendan Harris and his mother sniggered at the police. This is shocking behaviour for such a serious situation. Why encourage it? Someone I was with, on hearing the news, laughed out loud and said "I’m not surprised, dressing like an idiot" he also added "she deserved it" and he was not alone, another man also laughed with him and a third agreed. This appalling attitude sickens me almost as much as the tragedy which provoked such comments.
It has been said that "society is no more violent than it was ten or twenty years ago, it’s just that these things are being reported more" This is NOT true. Gangs of lads were NOT going around beating young women up and stamping on their heads. They continue to beat those that are different from them, those who are smaller, younger, outnumbered by them and they do not stop. They beat them when they are down, they don’t care who they are or if they are male or female. They have no morals. And it makes me sick. Why do they feel it is acceptable to behave in such a savage way and enjoy the pain of others?
It has also been reported that this is an isolated case. This is NOT an isolated incident. This is a very serious attack but there are stories of un-provoked violence up and down the country (I have myself have been involved in one or two) but with few independent witnesses and lack of evidence there are very few convictions.
How can we change these appalling attitudes towards other people’s right to be respected? How do we teach the generations to come that it is un-acceptable to behave is such way?
I felt so much disbelief and horror, at a purely human level that something like this could happen. Violent hate crimes baffle and sicken me. Goth or otherwise, first and foremost they are people, human beings and they both deserved the same respect that any of us do. It’s all so senseless and heartbreaking that I felt I had to express myself.
Please check out S.O.P.H.I.E (Stamp Out Predjudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere) and read up on some interesting work by Sophie’s mother Mrs Sylvia Lancester to raise awareness for hate crime. Also take a look at some wise words for some more information.
I can’t explain how much Sophie’s ordeal touched me. The extent of sheer cruelty is simply disturbing and utterly disgusting.