A grocery trip turned out to be a traumatising experience for a pair of Singaporean and Malaysian students in Australia.
The female students, who only wanted to be known by their initials C and S, told Mothership that they are currently studying at the University of Melbourne.
Started with verbal abuse
On Apr. 15, C, who is an 18-year-old Singaporean, was out with her 20-year-old Malaysian friend, S, to get some groceries.
While walking down Elizabeth Street, they spotted two Caucasian women verbally harassing other Asian passers-by.
After making eye contact, the women directed their verbal abuse at C and S, shouting "coronavirus" repeatedly.
C and S tried to walk away but things got physical after one of the women said, "We're going to f*cking kill you. Come back here, c*nt."
One of the attackers took a speaker, chased after C and threw it at her head.
Punched and dragged to the ground
C said: "I was stunned. After that happened, I punched her back in self-defence."
And that was when the Caucasian woman started getting furious.
She grabbed C by her hair and refused to let go.
C was punched and dragged to the ground.
At one point, she kicked C's stomach, whilst shouting: "Don't f*cking hit me."
S could only watch helplessly as the attacker's friend had blocked her from doing anything.
In addition, her friend was holding onto an alcohol bottle.
S was scared to retaliate, thinking the glass bottle could potentially be used as a violent weapon.
The fight only came to halt when a male passer-by interfered.
Here's a video of the public altercation.
Getting the blame for it
C told Mothership that since the video went out, a number of people were putting the blame on her, claiming she had started the brawl.
Some also blamed both C and S for not fighting back.
But this was C's response:
"I would like to remind people that this isn't our country to fight back in. We're always reminded that we're international students. Most remarks telling us to go home just made it clear that we are not welcome here."
No major injuries and a police report has been filed
After the incident, C went to the hospital to get her injuries checked out.
Fortunately, she didn't have a concussion, but she had some swelling on her head, as well as a few scratches on her hands and knees.
"Honestly, physically, it wasn't that bad because I protected myself. But it was more of a mental trauma. Now, we're scared to even go out. We get more wary of white people, especially if they come up to us or are running towards us."
Both C and S have not left their place of residence since the assault occurred.
They only stepped outside on Saturday, Apr. 18 to go to the police station to provide details on the incident.
But even travelling to the police station was challenging.
C said that they had to call their university's security guard to fetch them.
University is helping them out
C was thankful to her university for lending a helping hand.
In a media statement on the university's website, Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said that he was "utterly appalled" by the unprovoked attack.
"This is a disgusting and unprovoked attack on two of our female students. There is no place for violence in a modern, future-facing society like Australia. These senseless and vicious attacks on two young women must never be tolerated in our community. The people who did this are a disgrace."
C told Mothership that the school is also providing counselling for them.
In terms of their academic assessment, the school has given them the opportunity to opt for "special consideration".
Special consideration can be applied if unexpected circumstances affect the student's ability to complete an assessment.
Not the first racist attack
This unfortunate incident wasn't a first for C and S though.
A few weeks ago, they were walking down a street when a group of Caucasians walked passed and shouted "coronavirus" at them.
Once, a drunk man saw them and started coughing loudly, as if he was infected with Covid-19.
He then started laughing and shouting the words "coronavirus" at them.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, C said that they had not experienced any "visible racism".
"Since the lockdown, everyone is being really open with how they feel about Asians. They think 'cause your'e Asian, you have the virus. It doesn't make sense at all."
Top images from Farrago Magazine/YouTube.