Fighting Violence With NOH8, by Ruben

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


"When I joined the #NOH8Worldwide in Antwerp back in 2013, I never thought I would have to write a story like this. I strongly believe in human rights and respect, and I strongly oppose violence. Those beliefs are at the center of who I am.

However, last weekend, I was the victim of a vicious attack. I attended the Tomorrowland Festival in Boom, Belgium. Tomorrowland is one of the most tolerant EDM festivals in the world. They stand for respect, love and a future for all. The carry out a strong message of tolerance for all.

Some of the security guards that worked at the festival seemed to disagree.

My husband and I left the festival Saturday shortly after midnight. He walked a few meters ahead of me. From the opposite direction five security guards came towards us. They walked by my husband and then formed a line and started running towards me. "It's a gay." The first one put me down. The rest had time to deliver the punches. One had fun with a boxing iron with claws on my right side. It lasted maybe fifteen seconds. And off they went. I got up not realizing what had happened. It was fast, violent and targeted.

In the hotel I got cleaned up and felt a bit of a shock. In the morning I went to the hospital to check out my collection of bruises and contusions on my hands, right arm, knee and torso. I was pretty messed up.

We all read about this kind of attacks in Russia. But this one happened in a country where there are strict anti-hate and discrimination laws. In our country gay people can get married and we are protected by law for who we are.

So how do I cope with this? It is not easy, but I feel no need for revenge. Except for this: I invited all of my friends and family to join NOH8 at the upcoming shoot in Antwerp, Belgium. That is the only way to keep fighting against this kind of violence and hate: trying to make the campaign stronger and louder than ever. Trying to get the message out that human rights are universal in time and place.

Sharing this story already helps to get over it. The support from friends, family, and people who heard about this is massive. You can help by doing the same and carry out the message: no more hate."

- Ruben


Working with men on this problem is an important strategy to address the effects of violence on families. It has an important positive effect on families and children’s health.

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jen smith 11/06/2014 05:36

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