“God forgive them” says a Cameroonian model and social-media influencer about a group of homophobic youths who beat him with sticks and cut him with machetes because they thought he looked too effeminate and too gay.
By Ghislain J. Nkontchou
Young Cameroonian Consty Bingan, better known by the handle Yves_Mont_Blanc, is a model and social-media influencer who loves fashion.
Late at night on Jan. 5, he suffered numerous injuries during a robbery and brutal attack by 10 young homophobes In Yaoundé, Cameroon. A local hospital treated injuries to his back, foot and ears. A cut near his right eye needed stitches. Readers who decide that they should see the troubling photos can click here or here.
After his release from the hospital, Yves published videos about the incident on his Instagram page in order to warn others about the dangers of homophobia, especially for people who are prominent on social media.
In the video, he declared:
“It is with a heavy heart and a bloody body that I am making this video for you. … I got attacked, robbed, and beaten by a group of young people who considered me too effeminate and homosexual for their taste… Whether I am homosexual, hetero, bi or queer does not in any way justify such a fate… They told me that I was going to suffer the fate … because I was visible on social networks. They stole everything from me, …
“All I have to say is ‘God forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.’ I don’t blame them. It’s just the society we live in…
“Concrete blocks were thrown at my legs. Right now, I can’t walk well. They hit my ears; I can no longer hear on this [left] side. They used all weapons to hurt me: chisels, machetes, ropes, sticks. They hit me on the back of the neck, and I thought I was going to die on the spot…
“No one should go through what I went through. … I’m making this video, so you know what people can do for money for hatred.”
The attack is part of a recent upsurge in violence against LGBTQ people in Cameroon.
Yves did not respond to a request for information about whether he had filed a complaint with police against the attackers.
Ghislain J. Nkontchou comments:
It is true that the Cameroonian penal code strongly condemns sexual acts between people of the same sex, even if it is consensual. It is a crime that is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. But that does not justify violence against people on the basis of their appearance or sexual orientation. The gruesome attack that almost cost Yves his life is inhuman and unacceptable.
Cameroonian justice should become more involved in protecting its citizens, without discrimination, against all forms of violence and ensuring justice for all.
Ghislain J. Nkontchou, the author of this article, is a human rights activist from Cameroon who is currently a graduate student in international affairs at Baruch College in New York. He is a contributing editor for Erasing 76 Crimes.