A gay man has described his ongoing panic and anxiety after he was beaten unconscious by seven homophobes who recognised him from his local grocery store.
Shane Daum, 43, was attacked while he was camping with his dog at Crump Recreation Site in British Columbia, Canada.
He was surrounded by the group of people, who said they knew he was gay because they had seen him shopping with his former boyfriend.
“They were calling me a faggot, a paedophile, because my then-boyfriend was a younger [guy] but he looks way younger [than he actually is],” Daum told Global News.
“I was surrounded and I started walking backwards. I looked to see where my dog was and they had him held. That’s when I had my head turned and one guy hit me.”
He says he lost count of how many times he was struck while on the ground because he fell in and out of consciousness at least four times.
A neighbouring camper eventually called the police and Daum was taken to hospital by ambulance. He was diagnosed with a mild concussion, but the mental effects of the assault have stayed with him far longer.
“[I’m] hurt beyond all meaning. It’s hard enough coming out and trying to get accepted,” he said. “I have panic attacks and severe anxiety. It’s gotten to the point where my doctor has put me on Ativan [an anxiety medication].”
The local police force said they were aware of the incident, but a month later no one has been held responsible for the attack.
“I can confirm Mr Daum was assaulted,” James Grandy said. “However, on that day, there was insufficient evidence to arrest any particular person, which included no independent witnesses to identify any particular accused at the time.”
An investigation is still ongoing but Daum has now lost his confidence in the authorities. “I just feel let down by the whole system,” he said.
He added that he will be seeking legal counsel and is considering opening a civil suit against the alleged attackers.
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