It's been three years since Rob Maltby (24) lost the love of his life Sophie Lancaster (20) to stereotyping.
Just outside their home, Sophie died trying to protect her boyfriend from a brutal attack by two young boys aged 15 and 16 at the time, who thought they were too different.
Rob and Sophie were both Goths: black hair, make-up and clothes. They looked different. But is that really a good enough reason to want to hurt someone that badly?
Rob got pushed to the floor and they kicked him repeatedly in the face and chest.
Sophie stayed with Rob throughout, cradling his head trying to protect him. They turned on her and kicked her so hard she had a trainer print left on her forehead. The two boys ran off and left the couple to die.
Rob was in a coma for a week. He woke up just in time to see Sophie, whose injuries were so horrific she had to had her life support turned off.
Rob is still trying to rebuild his life but he has been left with problems. He has lost his sense of taste and now feels constantly on edge when he leaves his house. The two boys who did this are currently serving 18 years in jail.
Sophie's mum has set up a charity in her honour called Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred And Intolerance Everywhere (S.O.P.H.I.E.). The charity aims to raise awareness of what happened to the couple and how we can stop it happening again.
This tragic story really shows how stereotyping can ruin people’s lives. Judging people on how they look, what they like and how they behave is unfair. Just because someone listens to rap music or someone only wears black isn’t a good enough reason to judge anyone.
The example above is a really serious case of stereotyping; however it is used every day, everywhere you go. The ‘chav’ on the street who is almost every time out to cause trouble for everyone. The ‘nerd’ who always has their homework done on time. The ‘emo’ who sits alone and cuts themselves.
The list goes on, but just because someone fits a certain stereotype because they listen to the music or wear the clothes doesn’t mean they have the attitudes associated with being a ‘chav’ or an ‘emo’.
It’s difficult sometimes to look at someone and not stereotype them, but it’s important not to judge people. Stereotyping can be as small as just thinking it, or as big as attacking someone verbally or physically.
SOURCE: Sun article by Rob Maltby