Missouri police are investigating the assault of NyleaVan Houtan, who says she was attacked by a group of 20 or 30 boys because she is gay.
VanHoutan was at a pumpkin festival in St. Joseph with a group of female friends when, she says, a mob began to antagonize them. The 16-year-old student refused to fight back, but some of the boys started to hit her in the face and back of the head.
“I was, like, in shock—really in shock,” VanHoutan WDAF.. “And when they did it, they called me a ’wannabe boy [expletive].'”
VanHoutan’s mother, Sescha Hicks, says, “I believe down to the core of my bones it was a hate crime.”
After her attackers ran off, VanHoutan was taken to the hospital. She has been left with a black eye as a result of the assault.
Nearly 35% of gay and bisexual students report being bullied on school property—10% of them say the’ve been physically injured by bullies at school.