New Zealand News People

Aziz Al-Sa’afin Praises Police After Homophobic Attack

express Magazine
Written by express Magazine

The Newshub reporter says the police have been “incredible” following his assault.

Journalist Aziz Al-Sa’afin has spoken to express following a homophobic attack on K Road.

Al-Sa’afin was with a friend on Karangahape Rd last week, when a group of men shouted homophobic slurs at them before physically abusing them.

He said he was between the Mobil petrol station and the corner of Howe Street and K Road, when a group of about three men came over to talk. “Before I knew it, my friend was on the floor, getting bashed. Pulverised. As I was walking towards him, I got decked in my left eye.”

The attack left Al-Sa’afin fearing for his life, speaking just after the attack, he said he thought he was going to die.

The incident has subsequently received considerable media coverage. Al-Sa’afin says the attention he has received has been “overwhelming.”

He says it is important to speak out when attacks like these occur and he is aware of some who haven’t.

“The only reason I spoke about so publicly was in the hopes that It would help someone who has been in a similar position and hadn’t felt like they could speak up.”

“It was really overwhelming to get all of those messages of support, love and help… and people telling me about their experiences. I’m fine and I’ve been dealing with it but hearing their stories, makes me sadder for society and sad for the people who haven’t come forward. I’ve heard from both guys and girls who didn’t feel comfortable because they felt they were being judged.”
“It’s not okay for anyone to tell you otherwise or abuse you in a way that makes you feel vulnerable.” Al-Sa’afin says.

The Newshub journalist says he has been overwhelmed with the messages of support he has received. “It times of stress and trauma like this you just need a big hug… I feel like I’ve been getting that from the entire country.”

Al-Sa’afin reported the incident on the Monday following the attack and says the police have “been incredible” in dealing with the incident.

“Going through the initial attack is one thing. Going to the station to report it is an entirely different thing which is equally traumatising because you have to relive everything. And really picture vividly the people, to help the police identify them. Essentially reliving the moment.” Al-Sa’afin says.

“Officer John, Officer Lee and Officer Murray – those three people, were incredibly supportive, they were so sensitive and extremely apologetic.”

“I felt safe talking to them and I believed and trusted that after talking to them, they would do everything in their power to help. I walked out feeling a lot stronger and like I had taken back some power in the situation – these people that attached me they don’t want me to say anything – they just want me to cower in a corner and do nothing about it. So to do that was my way of healing. What they did has not affected me in the way they wanted it to”

While no arrests have been made yet, Al-Sa’afin says he is hopeful that the attackers will be found. In the meantime, he wants to thank all those who have sent him messages of support.

“Thank you from bottom of my heart for your overwhelming messages of support and love.”

About the author

express Magazine

express Magazine

express is New Zealand's leading LGBT+ publication. Our goal is to inform and support our community by delving into relevant people, stories and events.

GJ Gardner Maxi 8 May – 31 July 2018

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