Hate crime: 'I was attacked for being a goth'
- 6 April 2013
- From the section England
With her bright red hair and tattoos, Alexys Becerra admits she has an alternative look.
But the musician believes her goth appearance led to her being attacked outside an east London pub by six girls.
In December, the 38-year-old had been working as a karaoke host on the Isle of Dogs when she stepped outside to take a phone call.
"One of the girls in the pub took offence to me leaving and followed me outside," she said.
"I was still on the phone and she pointed in my face and said 'who do you think you are?' and then she punched me in the face.
'Stamped on me'
"She knocked me back, grabbed my hair and pulled my face back. Then five more girls came out and they were taking it in turns to punch me like a tag-team.
"I tried to break away and run down the street to escape, but they tackled me to the ground and stamped on me.
Ms Becerra said the attack lasted about 20 minutes and then she called 999.
"There were spectators but not a single person helped me," she said.
"The police came and took a statement but never called me back to make a report.
"The girls had ripped out my hair from the roots and left me with cracks in my skull.
"I have torn ligaments in my knee and sprains that have yet to heal.
"I believe the attack was all due to my alternative appearance, but this is how I've looked since I was 13.
"I don't know how to be anyone else."
'A risk you take'
Still recovering physically and mentally from the attack, Alexys said the Sophie Lancaster Foundation - an anti-hate crime charity set up after the murder of 20-year-old goth Sophie Lancaster in 2007 - had been a huge support.
Greater Manchester Police has now become the first force in the country to record attacks on subcultures such as goths as hate crimes.
"After the attack, I set up a Facebook page asking for witnesses to get in touch," Ms Becarra said.
"One of the first messages I got was from the foundation. They've helped me get help and support for what happened to me, saying 'we see too many hallmarks of what happened to Sophie'.
"They've been so encouraging."
As a thank you for their help, Alexys and her band Inertia are releasing a single and a music video to raise funds for the foundation.
"It tells the story of what happened to me using the actual CCTV footage from the pub in hope of jogging people's memories and trying to find justice in all of this and to further bring awareness of these types of hate crimes.
"Sophie cannot have died in vain and authorities around the country should know her, this case and everything she stands for.
"It's a risk you take, looking like this, but to me it feels good and it feels right.
"Why should I change?"