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January 8, 2009


According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 31 year old Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 21 year old Josue Gonzalez and two other teens were arrested for allegedly raping a 28 year old lesbian on December 13th.

According to several accounts, the woman (whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy) was getting out of her car when the attack occurred at about 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Visalia Avenue in Richmond's Belding-Wood neighborhood. The attack went on for 45 minutes in two different locations.

According to the Richmond police,

After the woman was struck with a blunt object and robbed, the suspects then told her to disrobe. She was sexually assaulted in that location and then forced back into her car after the suspects saw someone approaching. She was driven seven blocks away to the 1300 block of Burbeck Avenue, where she was repeatedly sexually assaulted in her car. She was left naked near a burned-out apartment complex.

After the attack, the men drove off in her car. She sought help from a nearby resident, who called authorities.

The case is being pursued as a hate crime because of comments the suspects made about the victim's sexual orientation. The woman is openly lesbian and had a prominently displayed rainbow sticker on her car.

Salvodor and Gonzales could both face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

I've said this before but it bears repeating now - there are some pretty disturbed people out there who are being riled-up by the hateful and dangerous rhetoric of rightwing fanatics who know they're losing their fight against us and are getting more and more desperate. So, exercising a little extra caution would be a smart thing to do.

I'm not saying that we should jump back into the closet and hide. On the contrary, now is the time to stand up and be strong. But during this period of transition, just be a little more aware of your surroundings when your out and about and don't take anything for granted. Trust your instincts and develop your street-smarts.