INTERVIEW: "He punched me four times in the head" - Dublin woman tells JOE about terrifying attack
"I voted yes for equality, but I didn’t vote for that."
Victoria Curtis was walking home early last Sunday morning on Camden Street in Dublin, when she and two of her mates were involved in a violent altercation with a man who she says punched her four times in the head.
Her emotional response on Facebook about the encounter has since gone viral:
She's been speaking to JOE about what happened.
JOE: Victoria, thanks for talking to us. Tell us what happened.
Victoria: My two friends and I were coming home after a Saturday night out.
I live on Camden Street and I'd been to Charlie’s (Chinese takeaway). It was about 2am.
I was walking by this guy and two girls and without a word from us, he turns to us and tells us to take off our trousers, pull down our knickers and show them our arses.
I told him it wasn't cool and we got into a verbal argument where he quickly got very aggro.
I had a plastic bottle of Schweppes in my hand and next thing he just grabbed it out of my hand and clubbed me over the head so hard that it bounced out into the middle of the road.
My friend went for him and pinned him up against the wall. I tried to pull my mate off him and it was all very aggro.
The other two girls that were with him, it transpired they were American tourists. They had just met him and were trying to calm it down.
He was shouting at me "go back to the George" and "you fucking homo", and, to my friends "that isn't even a girl" pointing at me because I dress gay and I'm identifiable, whereas my two friends are quite fem-looking.
He even said, pointing at me, "I voted yes for equality, but I didn’t vote for that."
I told him that it wasn't a gay thing that he was just being a misogynistic prick.
He continued calling me "faggot", "queer", "homo".
I'd dropped tights that I'd bought in Penny's earlier in the day. I just started gathering them. I'd had enough. I just wanted to go home and my house was 50 yards away.
I started calling my friends to go home but then one of them just totally lost the rag with him.
When I went back to get her, he put out his hand to me. After all the abuse he'd hurled, he still said, "cmon dude, let's resolve this."
I told him I wouldn’t shake his hand and called him "a fucking creep". I just had enough.
So he punched me four times in the face whilst calling me "faggot".
JOE: How are you now?
Victoria: I'm fine, I've been to hospital to get check out and it's thankfully just bruising and black eyes. I'll be ok.
JOE: That's an horrific thing to have to deal with. Why did you decide to post what happened on Facebook?
Victoria: Well it's not just the misogyny, it's not just the homophobia, it's not just the violence. It's when you get all three together.
Earlier in the evening, this other dude had been trying to butt into our conversation and when we told him to leave he got very aggressive.
JOE: Did you call the guards?
Victoria: Yes, I rang the guards immediately and they’ve been great. They’re following lines of inquiry.
(JOE confirmed with the Gardaí that they are investigating an assault on a woman on Camden Street at 2.15am)
JOE: Do you think this happens a lot?
Victoria: Yes and it's getting worse. All of my close friends are lesbian. On that same night, one of them was followed home.
Another one had hassle with a guy barging in on their conversation. He wouldn’t leave when she asked him to.
Another friend was going home through Temple Bar and saw these two dudes outside a pub fire a pint glass at two girls and shout "boo".
JOE: Does 'barging in' happen a lot?
Victoria: The barging in is really bad and getting worse all the time.
Sometimes with a group of women, men try to barge in and sometimes they leave but often they won't.
I call it 'swinging mickey syndrome' – these men barge in and they cannot accept if women don't want to talk to them.
JOE: What are you going to do next?
Victoria: I’m not gonna keep quiet about this. I’m not going to change my habits. I’m not gonna stop calling these kind of men out.
With lesbians, it’s really weird – they will ask you really personal stuff – "are you guys having sex?"
I had a man say to me on a date when he saw the girl I was with, "you two would make a really good couple in my head."
Who is this guy who would come and make this comment? Why is what we do any of his business?
JOE: You mentioned consent classes in your Facebook post. Why?
Victoria: You have all of these people saying "we don’t need consent classes".
Well as far as I can see some men don’t know how to accept "no".
If people can't accept "no, we don’t want to talk to you". This is why we need consent classes.
I don’t hate men. I love men. I have some of the loveliest men in my life. It’s just a few fuckers that stand out because they get violent.
I'd like to see good men calling the other fellas out - you shouldn't all be tarred all with the same brush.
JOE has written about consent classes here.
If you've been affected by any of the issues above you can find confidential information and support services here:
The LGBT Helpline - 1890 929 539
Women's Aid on Freephone - 1800 341 900