Last week I posted my statement that was read at the protest. Today JCH's statement was posted on another site and I am sharing it here. I was obviously involved in what happened and experienced all that JCH is discussing, however, I cried when I read it.
It is touching, and shows how an attack like this can impact people... please read and also visit www.dym-sum.com
It was a night that was meant to be a celebration of friendships. But it turned into a night of horror; and four friends would never be the same again.
It was our last weekend together before some of my dearest friends would be moving out of Boston and we wanted to make it memorable. Unfortunately, four random men, three of whom have never been caught, decided to make our memories an unforgettable nightmare.
I will never forget the screams coming from behind me. “You fucking faggots!” was the first sign that something was wrong. I turned, and there was my best girlfriend Jenna being punched in the face and falling to the ground. I ran back to them as fast I could but I was too late to prevent the attack. All the while I was screaming, and tears were welling up in my eyes as I heard them scream, “Die faggot die!”
I made it back. And there was my best friend Jon motionless on the ground after receiving one final kick of many to the head. They had been stomping on him. He was unconscious. I thought he was dead.
The men fled to their car. Jenna and I chased them. We were screaming the license plate number of the getaway car into our cell phones as they drove off. The 911 operators were telling us to calm down. It was not possible for us to calm down. There was nothing calm about what had just happened and we knew that the license plate would help find out who had attacked us.
After the car fled, Jenna and I went back to Jon who was still motionless in the middle of the street. A car had stopped in front of him so nobody would run him over. The driver later telling us she saw them jumping on his skull as she drove down Columbus Avenue. Scott was gone. I thought he had been kidnapped. But a police officer would later be shocked when they found him with a deep laceration on his head, blood soaking his clothing, and completely disoriented.
After providing the police with the basic details necessary, Jenna and I rushed to the hospital to be by our friends’ side. I spent the night crying with a bunch of strangers outside Beth Israel. Their brother had just tried to kill himself. My friends had just been almost murdered. In between visiting hospital rooms to be with my friends, making phone calls to loved ones, and throwing up in the bathroom – I thought to myself. What just happened? Why? Why us? It sunk in. It was because we’re different. We’re despised by some. We’re gay.
I was foolish to think that living in Massachusetts, the birthplace of gay marriage, that I’d not only be tolerated or accepted, but safe. How foolish of me.
I also thought that by living in Massachusetts, a progressive proponent of gay rights, that I’d be protected under the law. How foolish of me.
Here I am a little less than a year later and Fabio Brandao is walking free after being found guilty of 9 charges. Assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and civil rights violations. Yet he is walking free. He almost killed my friends. He could have killed me had I not found myself further ahead of the group. I was lucky physically, but not emotionally. The emotional scars of witnessing the attacks seem as bad if not worse than the physical scars my friends endured.
Trouble sleeping. Trouble eating. Trouble focusing. Trouble being in public. Trouble being alone. I found myself crying on friends’ couches and taking lorazepam to just walk outside or ride public transportation. One day I was at work, and I broke down in tears at my desk and was called into the Human Resources office. I was sent home.
And there’s Fabio. Free to walk. Free to live his life. Without any guilt or understanding of the epic trauma he has caused on not only four innocent people, but also an innocent community who live their lives with a sexual preference that is different.
Ted Kennedy compares hate crimes to a form of domestic terrorism because they are acts, “that target whole communities, not just individuals.” And he’s right. Would we let terrorists walk free after being found guilty of a crime? I think not. Yet Massachusetts did.
And I’ve recently come to discover that even the District Attorney’s office, our victim’s advocate to be more specific, had the audacity to say she thought we were acting inappropriate for victims. Bad victims? We’re bad victims? What does that even mean? I guess it was because when I’m uncomfortable and scared, I try to be funny. I make jokes. I try to lighten the situation. Every person deals with traumatic events and stress differently. I use humor to deal. I was reliving the trauma in the court house, and I needed to escape. Unfortunately, trying to cheer my friends up makes me a bad victim.
I would like to extend my thanks to Detective Lee. He went above and beyond making sure this case was solved. And I would like to extend my criticism to the state of Massachusetts. You let a terrorist walk free. You made the victims think they did something wrong. You make as if this was no big deal.
No big deal. Yet here I sit behind the comfort of my computer. Typing a statement to be read on my behalf because I’m too afraid to show the world what I look like. There are plenty of crazy gay haters out there, but there would be four fewer attackers on the street had justice been served. And here I am again, hiding behind my screen. Because there are people like these monsters who wait around at gay night clubs to hunt for victims. I’ve refused to publish my last name and reveal what I look like. Because I’m still here. In my city. In my neighborhood. Where I watched my friends almost die. And I could be next.
I will close my statement with my realization that the only thing worse than being attacked for being gay, is to be treated like what happened to you wasn’t that serious and being criticized for reacting in the manner I did. Fabio Brandao made me a victim first, and the state of Massachusetts made me one again.