A gay deaf woman was strangled by her own tie in south London last week, but she couldn’t imagine how people would respond in support.
Helena Martins, 43, was cornered by a man as she walked home in Tooting on Thursday night (10 December).
The man hit her in the eye and strangled her with her polka dot tie. When she fought to protect herself, the man scratched her face and hit her repeatedly in the head.
Martins responded by kicking him in the balls, forcing him to run away, and she fled to her house.
‘I have no doubt I was targeted because I was a woman wearing a tie. He was quite fixated on the tie,’ she told the Standard. ‘I have scratches across my face and red marks on my neck.
‘This is a way of letting people know that hate crime and homophobia is still very much alive.’
Following the attack, Martins set up a Just Giving page inspired by the people who wanted to help raise awareness.
Many of her friends and supporters are wearing ties today to show support. Many are also donating to UK charity Stonewall, and Martins has exceeded her goal.
— Kate Gordon (@kateygo) December 15, 2015
— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) December 15, 2015
‘For every hateful person there are a thousand of beautiful and caring people, this, now, I know to be true!’ Martins said. ‘Thank you.’
Police are investigating the attack, which happened at about 5pm on 9 December. Martins described the attacker as male, late 20s to early 30s, with facial hair, dark hair and eyes. He was wearing a grey jacket, grey wool sweater with dark jeans.
No arrests have been made.