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Currie, Dimitriou speak at Oshawa rally in wake of vicious attack

Currie, Dimitriou speak at Oshawa rally in wake of vicious attack

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'I'm still not afraid': Currie

Several hundred people showed up at a Nov 14 rally to support the two Oshawa women who were assaulted in front of their six-year-old son by a man who repeatedly called them "fucking dykes."

In an interview before the rally Anji Dimitriou, one of the women who was attacked, said the number of people who showed up for the event and the support the two received from strangers has been a tremendous boost.

"I feel excited, happy, completely loved and supported," she said. "All the people who are coming out, we're just at a loss for words."

Currie said she refused to change her life because of the attack.

"I came to Oshawa in 1988 and I've never been afraid to go anywhere," she said. "I'm still not afraid."

The women said their children, however, are still recovering from the trauma of witnessing the attack and its aftermath.

"They're still afraid," said Dimitriou.

"They're afraid of the what if," added Currie.

Speakers at the rally said homophobia would not be tolerated in Oshawa and vowed to stop any future attacks.

"Hatred does not define who we are," said Oshawa mayor John Gray. "We will not sit back and allow any act of hate to sully the name of our city."

City councillor April Cullen said people have to learn to welcome the increasing diversity of the area.

"We have to face the fact that Oshawa and Durham Region are changing," she said. "It's up to us to ensure that diversity is not just tolerated but welcomed. Sadly we have to educate people. We must first recognize where dignity is lacking then find ways to rectify that."

Brent Hawkes, the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, told the crowd that openly gay couples are now a fact of life.

"If we value our relationships we will create a more accepting society," he said. "Those days when gays and lesbians had to hide their relationships, those days are over. We need to ensure safe spaces not just at Church and Wellesley but in other towns and cities."
 

 

Lesbian parents attacked in Oshawa in front of son
UPDATED / Activists say Durham region very homophobic
Krishna Rau / National / Thursday, November 20, 2008
 

A lesbian couple in Oshawa say they were brutally assaulted in front of their six-year-old son and his classmates on Nov 3.

Anji Dimitriou —  who is recovering from a broken spine suffered in a car accident —  and Jane Currie were picking their three children up from Gordon B Attersley Elementary School when a fellow parent allegedly attacked them.

Currie says they had just parked their truck and Dimitriou had gotten out when she saw the man —  who they say has verbally harassed them in the past —  approaching.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw this man whom we've had run-ins with in the past," she says. "He made a beeline straight for Anji. I can see him getting him angrier and angrier. He said to Anji, 'Which of you two men spoke to my kid? Fucking dyke lesbians.' I jump out and just as I come around he spits right in her face. She wiped the spit off and he punched her in the face and hit her again in the back of the head.

"She was yelling obscenities and another father tried to shoulder him out of the way. Then he smacks me. My cheek burst with the force of the impact. He's about 6'4" or 6'5" and 250 pounds and we're both about 5'2". His fist was probably half the size of my head.

"My face is bleeding profusely everywhere. All these children who had just finished school had to see all this blood. They were screaming, including my own son who was up close and personal. They were devastated, hysterical. His own child saw this."

Currie says their two daughters, six and seven, came out in time to see their parents' bloody faces.

"They were terrified," she says. "They didn't know where to go."

Currie says the man was collecting his children and preparing to leave when the principal came out and told him to wait in her office until the police arrived.

"He said, 'Fine,'" she says. "He didn't think he had done anything wrong."

Currie says she and Dimitriou were taken to the hospital and the man was arrested by Durham Regional police based on eyewitness testimony.

"The right side of my face is swollen," she says. "There's stitches in my eye. My face is bruised up and down. With Anji we're waiting to see if the spots in front of here eyes go away. Her sight doubles when she looks up or down. He hit her so hard she bounced off the truckand reinjured the muscles around her spine. We've contacted the Criminal Compensation Board."

"But the worst is the mental side and the children. We took them to see a therapist on the Wednesday."

Dimitriou says the children are terrified.

"We have to show them every night how the alarm will go off," she says. "We went to Zellers and they didn't want to get out of the truck. 'What if he's in Zellers?' they asked. 'What if he comes back to the school and comes after us?'"

Dimitriou says the assault has also been devastating for other children at the school and parents.

"The principal says he's done more damage than just beating us," she says. "Parents and students are terrified."

The school has placed the man under a no-trespass order which requires him to stay 200 metres away from the facility. The police have also obtained an order requiring him to stay 500 metres from Dimitriou and Currie.

Dimitriou says she and Currie have each had a previous encounter with the man, in which he has blocked their access to a handicapped parking spot and called them "fucking dykes." She says the man has also been verbally abusive to other parents, but that everybody has let it slide.

"Teachers know about him," she says. "Nobody wants to talk to him because he's a psycho. This is a town of soccer moms and nobody wants to open their mouths."

Andrea Pidwerbecki, the communications manager for the Durham District School Board, says the school and the board will not comment on the man's history at the school.

"It's just not appropriate for them to discuss that," she says. "I couldn't comment on any specifics with regard to this as there's an ongoing police investigation."

Dimitriou says the police will be treating the case as a hate crime, but she says she had to push them into it, even though Durham police do have a hate crimes section.

"The officer said he wasn't really familiar with the hate crimes division. It's new," she says.

Dimitriou says she called the Toronto police hate crimes unit and was told it definitely was a hate crime.

She says she's pleased the Durham police have agreed to treat the assaults as a hate crime, but doesn't sound confident.

"I don't know how good or how bad the Durham police are," she says. "In Toronto I know they don't take this lightly. I hope it's the same here."

Sgt Paul McCurbin, the media relations officer for Durham regional police, says the police will ask the Crown attorney to approach the case as a hate crime if the investigation shows it's warranted.

"If the evidence shows that the only reason these two ladies were attacked was because of their gender or sexual orientation that evidence will come forward," he says. "We don't appreciate anybody being assaulted in our community. The police did what they're supposed to do, we arrested the bad guy."

Mark Scott, 43, of Oshawa has been charged with two counts of assault causing bodily harm. He was released and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec 16.

Scott's lawyer, Mark Jacula, issued a press release saying his client was the one who was attacked.

"Mr Scott, a visible minority, is outraged at the racial and physical abuse that he has suffered at the hands of Ms Dimitriou and Ms Currie," the release states. "Mr Scott is eagerly looking forward to his day in court when he will no longer have to be a victim anymore. The truth surrounding this incident will come to light and the parties responsible will be held accountable for the racially motivated and unprovoked attack he suffered."

Area residents say the police have been useless in helping to stop homophobic incidents in Durham region.

"My partner and I actually had to sell our house because we were being discriminated against so much," says Udana Muldoon, the chair of Durham Queer Parenting. "We had poo thrown at our house, water in our gas tank, we were called names all the time. The police officers said, 'If it's such a big deal, you should probably stay in your backyard."

Muldoon says she, her partner and their three-year-old are moving from Oshawa to a smaller town on the outskirts.

Peter Richtig, the executive director of the AIDS Committee of Durham Region, says the assault is not isolated. He says there have been homophobic assaults in the past.

"There have been other incidents, some even more violent," he says. "We have clients who have been forced to move out of the region, who have lost their housing after they were outed. Some have been outed by the police, some have ended up in psychiatric wards because of psychological harassment.

"Because of situations like this people are very closeted. They're afraid to be out."

Muldoon says she hopes the assaults will motivate people to stand up.

"It's made people come out of the woodwork and say, 'I wasn't out before but I am not. This is not okay."

Dimitriou says the main emotion she's feeling at the moment is rage.

"I'm angry," she says. "I just moved up here two years ago. I lived in Toronto my whole life. I never had anybody call me a dyke or make remarks to my children."

She says the couple is considering a civil suit against their assailant.

 

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Comments

outrageous
There seems to be a lot of ignorance and finger pointing; Assault is one thing- (never the answer to fear or anger!)- but assault against two women because they are openly gay is a HATE crime and should not be tolerated, ever.
I am disgusted by some of the comments made here and the judgmental mentality. We seem to forget lessons we were all taught in Kindergarten- "do not judge a book by it's cover", "be kind to our neighbors."
Where has our compassion and our tolerance for "otherness" gone? We are all unique and "different" we live in a cultural mosaic (CANADA)- we are known around the world, and respected for being open minded and fair and peace loving!
Let no one stand by and allow women to be beaten upon by a man (any man) because of our beautiful differences.

Since this took place on educational property and children were witness to such hate, I sure hope this school and other school's will work with students and re-emphasize standards on how to treat one another with respect and love, rather than with fists and venom.

I feel badly that this may trickle down and children may perceive this behavior as "acceptable"

Stop the hate now..please.
Education is key!
disgusting
I can not believe this happened in this day and age and in our area. We think people have gone beyond this type of sick discrimination. I hope this redneck lands in jail. My heart aches for the children, what a message to give them in their most formative years. Just want to say I am behind the girls l00% and if there is any doubts about this being called a 'hate crime' I hope there will be another rally. I pray the girls will do their best to get over this experience, this man is the one who needs help.
Can't Believe Everything
"The world ain't flat is it?"
Jake, what you fail to understand is that research is what proved that the world is not flat. If people were to believe everything that they merely see and hear then all of the rules and values laid out in the Bible that I have seen, because I've read some of them, would be followed today. Rules such as, women who are unclean are not to be touched and anything that they touch is to be burned, men are allowed to have many wives, meet will not be eaten on certain days and so on. Just from hearing it does not make it true that President Bush was or is good for the United States, I heard that on TV. Neither does just seeing make things true. One can see part of something and make assumptions, but is usually wrong if the act or incidence was not observed in its entirety. Just as making assumptions and judgments from over hearing part of a conversation can lead to a terrible misunderstanding if one does not take pains to discover or research to find out what was missed.

“Contempt prior to investigation” is the basis for most hate. People seem to make assumptions and judgments about an individual based on what they see. This is done in place of getting to know the individual as a person rather than as an object. There is more to people that transcends sight and sound. There is more to an individual that can only be discovered through investigation and research.

“Contempt prior to investigation” has been my experience. For instance, Jake seems to believe that people who have tattoos are “freaks.” I can only imagine your reaction to this freak teaching your kids.
Danger to Society
We as a society need to stop thinking homosexual couples are any different from straight couples. We are all the same people. How sad for the children! This incident is breeding hate in the eye of the public. Which, I think is a danger to our society. This is a violation of the parents and the childrens right to be safe. I am so sad by this incident. I have both male and female gay friends, some with children, and l can't imagine thinking they deserve to be treated like that from society. Stop discrimination!
Tiny, Young, Lesbian Scared
I am outraged by this incident. I am 21 years old. I am also small, I stand at 4'11 and weigh barely 87lbs. I also walk with a bummed hip. When I heard about the attack I was scared. I am not one who goes out and gets drunk but I love to go to Karaoke to sing and see my friends. I cannot drive so, for me I walk one hour to and from the bar. Karaoke where I go ends aroud 2:30, 3:00 by the time I say all my good-byes. I used to walk on the shortest route other than the trail. Now, I have to walk down main streets where cars go by. I am a lesbian and many of my friends know me by my nickname "Mini Les" which means, Lesbian of the miniature variety. It started as a joke because I am so tiny. IU did go to the Rally and showed my support. And I am hoping to see changes made that will ensure the safety of everyone.
Thanks for the insight
Seems like most people posting here are those that agree with this biased article and the media's bias towards this situation in general, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that more people don't agree with my opinion. That is my opinion, that most families would be better off with a father and mother that were both over the age of 25 when kids were concieved. Also, I don't pay much attention to research and base my opinions on what I personally see and hear because research can prove whatever researcher's want it to. The world ain't flat is it?
There was a hate crime..
It was committed by the so called 'lesbians'. My son and daughter go to that school and I witnessed the whole ordeal while picking them up. I was one of the first to stop him. I don't condone his actions but he was provoked and the firts swing was the lady with the neck tattoos.

First the aggressor was the 'lesbian' with the tattoos. I heard them call him a 'nigger' three times. In fact also called him a 'fat fuck nigger' a few times. A lot of parents heard this and will be testifying.

He did nothing wrong. Those two ladies wanted a scar (probably watching too much TV think they could best him since he's a big man) and got their asses whipped.

The real hate crime is these two calling him nigger which was heard. The assault charges will be dropped and his side of the story will show who the true criminals are.
Ingorant people
Jake Peterson, I'm sure he'll never be back to read this, but what right do you have to make assumptions like that? Because I have tattoos, I'm a freak, am I? And if I'm bisexual, does that also make me a freak? Do some research before you open your fat mouth. Children of mixed homes, whether it be mixed racially or a gay couple, tend to turn out much better than those coming from straight, middle class homes. They're raised to be tolerant and understanding of everyone, unlike you. Even I was raised in a straight, lower-class, Christian home. That did nothing beneficial for me, I made my own decisions about the world and what's right and wrong. I was lucky enough to only be that closed minded until the age of 15, when I opened my eyes and saw the world around me. You can't breed hate, or that's all you'll have. It sickens me to read such thoughtless, hateful remarks from someone who's more than likely in denial about his own sexuality.
Really? Labelling is not necessary
I am really concerned with people's views of others. If you think someone is a freak for having tatooes or a bad parent because of being gay then you need do more research on life in general. No one is exactly the same, even identical twins. If you did research on same-sex families and their children you would find that most of the children are more outspoken and view life with great respect and concern. All children will question adults' ideas if you give them the freedom to express themselves. You as an adult must be able to accept and review your own views. Allowing your upbringing to cloud your logic and independent thought processing is really a shame. Hopefully you will question yourself before making comments that may not really represent your true independent thoughts.
PROSECUTE TO THE FULLEST!!
I am not a lesbian and was appaulled at this story. This is a Hate Crime and hope the school is doing something to educate the children. I really feel for the two women and hope that Man pays big time!!! My suggestion is that he needs to apologize to the whole community and explain to the children in the community and elsewhere publicly the WRONG which he has done.

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