Monday, July 22, 2013

Australia: Tourist, 22, Threatened with Bodily Harm for Speaking French on Melbourne Bus

According to The Herald Sun, three Melbourne bus passengers are each facing a number of charges for threatening a young French tourist, Fanny Desaintjores, 22, in November 2012 and demanding that she "speak English or die" and then threatened her with having her breasts cut off.

Other shocked passengers filmed those who were threatening the young woman and posted the mobile phone footage on YouTube, triggering a negative public reaction.

The footage depicts the assailants continuing to taunt and threaten the woman and her friends for several minutes. One of the trio can even be heard shouting how everyone on the bus wanted to kill her and she "would have to get off eventually."

Victoria Police announced on Monday (July 22) that three people have been identified,  located, interviewed and will be charged. A police spokeswoman said the three suspects comprised of two men of 25 and 36 and a 22-year-old woman will be charged with threatening to inflict serious injury, criminal damage, behaving in an insulting manner and other offenses.

COMMENT: As I have said in numerous postings over the years, civility is diminishing on a global scale, which is why I often urge our travelers to be vigilant and prepared for verbal and physical threats. 

The victim in this case and her friends demonstrated restraint by ignoring the taunts and verbal abuse, however difficult.

Ms. Desaintjores demonstrated true maturity; however, in responding to the video-clip by saying that "idiots are found in all countries, even in France." Her statement in no way reflected adversely on Australia.

The three defendants will appear in Moorabbin Magistrate's Court on October 1.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.