News of an attack against a female member of Bosnia’s Armed Forces has caused outrage on social media after columnist Dragan Bursac wrote on Saturday that she was attacked “because she wears short” hair.
"Dajana Dangubic, the first woman to operate a tank, a woman who jumps from the Old Bridge (in Mostar). A woman fighting for women's rights. A woman who is a hero! A woman who was brutally attacked last night because she "wears short hair" ?!” Bursac wrote.
“She was attacked in Banja Luka, the capital of violence, homophobia, and xenophobia. The explanation by the police is shameful - maybe the trigger for the attack was the way she dressed and that she has short hair ?!” he added.
Police in Banja Luka said officers are working on identifying the man who on June 30 verbally and physically attacked two women sitting on a bench in Banja Luka after midnight.
"The victims were asked to report to the Emergency Medical Service in Banja Luka, and they told police that they did not want to press charges," the police said.
Following media reports about the attack against a member of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Defense said it has already undertaken a series of activities to determine the facts around the attack.
"Since the incident occurred outside military-controlled area and during off-duty hours, the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina expects the Ministry of Internal Affairs to get involved in the process of determining the facts," the Ministry said.
Bursac also wrote that Dangubic said her conversation with police following the attack was “shameful” and “hurt more than the attack.”
“Diana is the best in my country, and the scum that threatened her and attacked her, drags my country to the bottom,” Bursac wrote, expressing support for the young woman.
“Diana, you are our pride,” he added.
Dangubic explained that the attacker sat next to her and her friend uninvited and behaved aggressively while holding a beer in his hand. She said he grabbed her throat and punched her in the face after he pushed her friend and after Dangubic asked him to leave.
She said she would not have even mentioned it but that she was provoked by “the way how police handled it.”
“Milica (Dajana’s friend) called the police and they said we should go to the nearest police station as if they couldn’t come there. We took a taxi and went to the nearest station,” she said, adding that she gave the police a statement and that it took about half an hour.
“They didn't take us seriously at all,” she said.
“It is beneath my dignity for a police officer to discriminate and tell me ‘Listen, girl, you were walking in the park in the evening, did you provoke him?’,” she said, adding that she suspects the officer spoke to her that way because he suspected she was gay.
“He justified violence based on how someone looks or their sexual orientation,” she said.
But she noted that once she told the officers she was a member of the Armed Forces, their attitude changed.
“When I left the station they began calling me on the phone (and saying) ‘Don’t be angry, it was a long night, we had a lot of problems,” she recalled.
Dangubic said she does not have a problem with the fact that someone assaulted her considering that “it is clear that where we live violence takes place daily.”
“I would have remained silent regarding the bruise but I do not want to be discriminated against by people who should represent the law in the state,” she explained.
“Police should protect citizens regardless of their gender, their age, sexual orientation and regardless of whether their skirts are too short or even whether they walk around the town naked,” she added.
British Ambassador Matt Field also reacted to the news of the attack.
"I'm shocked by the news of the attack on Lieutenant Diana Dangubic. She is an excellent ambassador of this country. We stand with her and behind her," he wrote.