Police in Lincoln, Neb., are investigating a woman’s account of a horrific attack early Sunday morning that left her naked and bleeding with antigay slurs including the word “dyke” scrawled into her arms and stomach.
The Journal Star reports on the crime, which took place at 22ndand E Streets.
“The woman said she was attacked early that morning by three masked men who barged into her house, bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties, cut her all over her body and carved homophobic slurs into her skin before dumping gasoline on her floor and lighting it with a match,” according to the newspaper.
The victim crawled naked and bleeding to a neighbor’s home. The flash fire started by the invaders failed to spread and damage to the home was limited.
The victim, who is in her 30s and has chosen to remain anonymous, was treated at a local hospital and released, the Omaha World reports. Her best friend, Erin Thompson, told the newspaper “three epithets, including the word ‘dyke,’ were carved on the woman’s arms and stomach.”
Thompson said the victim is an out lesbian, which is why her friends believe the attack was a hate crime. Police are investigating the case and no arrests had been made by late Sunday.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Nebraska has a hate-crimes law that covers crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation. Federal authorities may have jurisdiction over this crime because of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. HRC has alerted the FBI and the Justice Department to the crime.
“The accounts of the violence inflicted upon this woman are truly horrific,” said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for HRC. “We have confidence that the Lincoln Police Department will thoroughly investigate this crime and take swift and appropriate action to bring the perpetrators to justice. No one should ever have to live in fear simply because of who they are. Our thoughts are with the victim and we wish her a full recovery. This act of violence is a jarring reminder that we have much work to do in creating environments where all members of our community feel safe living honestly and openly, and where crimes motivated by one’s sexual orientation or gender identity are never tolerated.”
Friends and LGBT rights advocates used Facebook to organize a vigil that drew more than 500 people to the state capitol Sunday night, according to the Omaha World.
Lincoln has been the site of recent debate about LGBT rights, the Journal Star reports. In addition to a Pride celebration, the City Council approved a measure to ban discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but opponents have gathered enough signatures to qualify the measure for a public vote.