According to eyewitnesses, a lesbian couple, Megan Stackhouse and Lucinda Mann, were assaulted by a 49-year-old man, Jay Barbeau, on the side of the road last Friday in Bend, Oregon.
The couple said they’d just left a carnival when they pulled in front of Barbeau’s truck, at around 8 p.m. Barbeau tailed the women for several blocks in heavy traffic. Stackhouse pulled over at a roundabout hoping he’d pass, but instead, the 245-pound man jumped out of his truck, charged at their vehicle, and shattered the couple’s rear window and tail light with his fist.
The Oregonian reported that Barbeau darted to the driver side window, grabbed Stackhouse’s right arm and twisted it, until it snapped and broke—Then proceeded to punch Stackhouse repeatedly in the face. When Stackhouse’s fiancée, Lucinda Mann, jumped out of the car to try to stop him, Barbeau grabbed her and smashed her head on the road, knocking her unconscious.
There were multiple eye-witnesses. Officers arrived and arrested Barbeau before he could flee.
According to court records, Barbeau is being held on multiple counts of assault and criminal mischief.
Surgeons had to use pins, screws and plates on Stackhouse’s fractured right radius.
Mann, who suffered a concussion, says the attacker was “relentless.”
Jay Barbeau was arraigned on Monday, on multiple counts of assault.
Many in the lesbian community have expressed disappointment in the lack of media coverage, as well as in the obscuring of the couple’s sexuality and relationship. Lesbian relationships are usually obscured, if at all mentioned, in the media, and when lesbians are victims of violence, the media often omits any mention of sexual orientation (if the story is covered at all). This results in a lack of focus (with both investigations and media) on potential hate crimes where lesbians are concerned, even when there’s been an exceptionally violent assault. The media’s bias is multiplied where “butch” lesbians are concerned, and that bias is further compounded when the victims are women of color.
This assault is being reported as road rage. For now, Megan Stackhouse stated the couple just wants to be reminded “that there is still good in this world.” Here’s hoping this lovely couple will recover soon, so they can resume their wedding plans and experience all the good and happiness the world has to offer.
جوليا ديانا —Julia Diana Robertson is an award-winning author and journalist. You can find her at www.juliadianarobertson.com