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Terrified homeless woman attacked on streets after losing benefits describes why sleeping rough is worse for women


A homeless woman who sleeps in a tent in the woods has described the pain and terror of being female and sleeping rough.
Vulnerable Jess Rivers was recently attacked by a group of male beggars who stamped on her legs and hit her in the chest.
The 47-year-old, from Hull, East Yorkshire, has described herself as an "easy target" and says she no longer feels safe as a woman on the streets.
Last year, research by Crisis, the homelessness charity, found 58 perent of women sleeping rough had been intimidated or threatened with violence and force in the past 12 months compared to 42 percent of men.
And for women, the threat of sexual assault and rape is much greater.
Miss Rivers has been on the streets for four years after she started getting "bullied" by other tenants in social housing and her benefits were stopped, Hull Daily Mail reports.
Her life "fell to pieces" and ever since, Miss Rivers has been living in tents without a proper roof over her head.
"I feel scared and cold all the time," she said. "It is horrible, especially when it rains and I keep swapping from one makeshift tent to another.
"It’s horrific. I have to put two or three coats on at a time to keep warm and there’s nowhere to shower, bathe or do your laundry.
"I don’t know where my next meal is coming from and I am having to live hand to mouth."
Miss Rivers carries all her belongings around with her during the day as she fears they may be stolen by other rough sleepers and she has resorted to begging to survive.
But in the past five days her woes have been compounded after she was attacked by other rough sleepers.
According to Miss Rivers, a man who has just moved to the area has started targeting her.
"This character noticed me sitting there next to the statue and he suddenly came towards me and assaulted me," she said.
"They accuse me of not being homeless but I’ve not been inside for four-and-a-half years.
"I’ve got no housing benefit and no support but he keeps attacking me."
Miss Rivers received help and support from concerned members of the public after the first attack, during which she was hit in the chest and had her feet stamped on.
She says she has reported the matter to the police but admits she no longer feels safe as a homeless woman.
Miss Rivers said: "I think they see me as an easy target and a sitting duck.
"When you’ve got people threatening and attacking you it’s just very frustrating and makes everything so much worse.
"I want to feel safe and secure but I don’t."

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