There’s always something really soul destroying when you’re a victim of bullying for just being yourself. I’ve been pretty lucky over the years in that I never really had anyone pick on me at school. But then, out of the blue, something happened that left my life in tatters. I was gay bashed. Yes, me. Six foot, rugby playing Simon Dunn, bashed because of something that I’m proud of, something that defines me as a person.
Simply put, I was bashed for being me.
I had been out having a few drinks with my team mates, from the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, and started to head to go home. As a team mate and I strolled along the street we passed a group of young guys who began to verbally abuse us, calling us names like ‘faggots’ and all those other unimaginative homophobic terms. Intent on avoiding trouble we sped up but the next thing we knew we were surrounded by the group. What happened next, I cannot tell you. The image of those snarling abusive guys getting closer and closer to me was my last memory of the night.
I woke the next day in the emergency ward of Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. I had chipped teeth, black eyes and my face was swollen. The nursing staff informed me they had intended to put me into an induced coma because they feared I may have had a blood clot on my brain.
I later found out that during the altercation with six men, I was hit on the side of the head and fell to the road smashing my head on the curb, instantly knocking myself out.
The police and medical staff involved were amazing. One particular officer went above and beyond his job to try and get a conviction. After months of court appearances the defendant was not charged, for the simple fact we couldn’t prove he was the one who had hit me as I had no recollection of the incident whatsoever.
When I tell people about what happened to me they’re generally shocked because I am a former rugby player and national team bobsledder with a 6ft1 and 98kgs frame. How could I possibly be a victim of gay bashing. Well, I was. And it proves that no matter how big or small you are, we are all open to the most terrible abuse. And we should never stand for it.
You can read Dunn’s full account in the new issue of aTEEN magazine, out now for digital download from Pocketmags.com/aTEEN.