A woman is sitting with her friend in a western Sydney cafe. A man walks over their table and aggressively hunches over the two women. The women are still, as if bracing themselves.
He allegedly shouts racist vitriol at her before lurching forward and furiously punching the woman until she keels over. Thankfully, cafe bystanders step in as he begins to stomp on the woman's head which forced her to the ground. Her friend grabs a chair and smashes the man over the head.
The woman in question is 31-year-old Rana Elasmar, a hijabi woman who is 38 weeks pregnant.
For me, as a Muslim woman with friends and family who wear the hijab, and who has also worn it myself, watching this footage made me feel sick and angry and anxious.
Violent racist public attacks are often dismissed as the acts of lone wolf outliers, but they are only the extension of the Islamophobia that pervades our whole culture. The pummelling is not always physical - it's emotional. It's being the subject of looks, stares, projections and constant scrutiny. It's fear and second-guessing in unfamiliar environments. It's living with a deep gash in your self-esteem, treading on eggshells and the low-level anxiety that follows you everywhere, knowing the public space is a fraught one.
It's the fear that you can be attacked, yelled at and treated with rudeness and disdain at any time, in covert ways that leave you shaken. It's the stinted politeness of the no to the job in an interview by the "Cathy's" of the world. It's knowing at your core what this is fuelled by, but this harm being minimised by those around you as in your imagination.
But it's not in our imagination. Earlier this week the Islamophobia Register released a report revealing the gendered nature of racism against Muslim communities.
The report found 72 per cent of those targeted by Islamophobic attacks in public were women. The perpetrators? 73 per cent male. Most of these attacks happened in shopping centres, in well-guarded areas with surveillance. Ninety-two per cent were targeted when they were alone.
We know that perpetrators, usually male, do what they can get away with, and enact the greatest violence against those who have less power, who they imagine no-one will care about. Women from highly discriminated-against racial minority groups are at the very top of that list. This is how women in racialised minority communities cop multiple and magnified forms of violence in Australia today.