HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — A Hillsboro woman’s trip to a local Safeway the day after Donald Trump’s presidential victory is something she won’t soon forget.
Kara Stevens told KOIN 6 News she hopes no one has to go through what she did.
“The only thing I kept thinking to myself is, ‘This is how my life is going to end,’ and ‘I don’t deserve this,'” Stevens said.
She said she was walking through the Safeway parking lot Wednesday night when she suddenly felt pain in her abdomen. Out of nowhere, she said, she was hit with a brick. Soon after, she started to have difficulty breathing.
“I just thought to myself, if I pass out from not being able to breathe and I hit the ground, it’s over,” Stevens recalled.
As she struggled with the pain, Stevens said she could hear people yelling. The words her attackers used shocked her.
“I heard someone yell ‘Stupid n***** b****,'” she said. “Then they yelled ‘Are you scared? Are you scared now? Because you should be,’ and then they said ‘Now we got a president who finally feels how we feel.'”
Stevens said the 3 men in their 30s and 40s told her they’d rape her and even made references to President-elect Donald Trump.
When they drove off, Stevens said no one stepped in to help.
She said she went back to her apartment roughly a mile away before going to the ER for treatment. Doctors there reportedly told her she had broken ribs.
In the face of such hate, Stevens is speaking up.
She said now is the time to stand up and come together to combat racism.
“You’re going to have to bring a whole lot more than a brick to break me,” Stevens said. “This is a real thing… this isn’t a joke. A lot of people are just in denial about it.”
She said the harsh reality of racism can’t be denied, but must be faced head-on.
“When people admit that it’s there, it’s going to be a heck of a lot easier for us to come together and fix it and come together,” Stevens said.
While she said she will recover physically, emotionally she may never be the same.
Hillsboro Police Dept. confirms officers took a report about the incident. Officers will interview Stevens again sometime this week and hope to “get to the bottom of it.”
Police confirm the Safeway has no safety cameras in its parking lot.
So far, no one has come forward saying they witnessed the attack, but police said people at the scene “may not have known a crime was taking a place.”
Similar stories have been reported across the country this week. On Tuesday, Senator Harry Reid blamed President-elect Donald Trump for the wave of hate crimes.
“His election sparked a wave of hate crimes across America,” Reid said.
But on 60 Minutes, Trump denounced those responsible for hate crimes.
“I’m going to bring this country together,” he said.
University of Oregon researcher Randy Blazak said hate crimes have gone up in recent years, but work still needs to be done to determine what’s driving them.
“While we have to be careful not to make connections that aren’t there without more research, it looks like that rhetoric from the political world is driving some of the behavior in the criminal world,” Blazak said.
Not all hate crimes are reported, and those that are don’t always turn out to be true. Blazak said those who fabricate hate crime stories often do it for personal reasons.
“When they do happen, they tend to be something happening on a personal level,” he explained. “Not any desire to make a political statement.”
FBI statistics show reported hate crimes jumped nearly 7% from 2014-2015.
For details on the FBI’s hate crime statistics from 2015, click here.