We were shocked, angered and saddened to hear of this awful assault. Southall Black Sisters are a respected and valued partner to WMWA whose expertise is second to none. We send our love, support and solidarity to Selma & those affected by this terrible incident.
Read their initial press release, and follow-up article, below
PRESS RELEASE • PRESS RELEASE • PRESS RELEASE
3rd October, 2023
Police Stand by as Director of Southall Black Sisters Bitten in Racist Attack
On the night of Friday, the 29th September, Selma Taha, Executive Director of SBS, and her friends were verbally and physically assaulted in an extremely violent racist attack on public transport. A Metropolitan Detective Constable was present at the scene but did not intervene when the assailant, a white woman, began verbally assaulting Selma and her friends with derogatory racist language, including making monkey sounds, calling them “bitches”, and “slaves,” and subjecting them to other vile racist slurs.
The police officer did nothing to de-escalate the verbal racist abuse or apprehend the attacker as she turned it into an extremely violent physical assault; this included pulling clumps of hair off Selma and her friend and biting Selma’s flesh, leaving a deeply embedded imprint of her teeth which necessitated a tetanus injection and antibiotics. When the train arrived at the station, Selma, her friends, and the attacker alighted, but the police officer made no attempt to arrest the attacker, instead indicating that he wanted both parties to go their separate ways.
It was only after Selma told him who she was and threatened to report him to the commissioner, Mark Rowley that he arrested the assailant. Furthermore, he did not call an ambulance for her and generally showed no concern for the victim of a severe attack that he had witnessed.
Selma Taha says, ‘Almost worse than the shock of the racist attack was the indifference of the police officer especially now when the Met police has been rocked by evidence of historical, institutionalised racism and misogyny suffered by Black and minoritised communities and finally backed up by the Casey report.’
We demand that appropriate action be taken against the assailant and the police officer.
Notes to Editors:
Southall Black Sisters, a not-for-profit, secular and inclusive organisation, was established in 1979 to meet the needs of Black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women. Our aims are to highlight and challenge all forms gender-related violence against women, empower them to gain more control over their lives; live without fear of violence and assert their human rights to justice, equality and freedom.
Media Enquiries Contact:
Asmita Sood – firstname.lastname@example.org 07775 178056