GAZING into each other’s eyes as they wed Joelene and Sarah Brazier have sent a powerful message underscored by love to the violent homophobic thugs who brutally attacked them.
They were dealt painful blows when 15 men launched a vicious assault on the pair and three of their friends in the street late at night in Portsmouth.
Walking down the aisle on Sunday, 25-year-old Joelene – who lost teeth in the horror incident – knew she could not let thugs fuelled by hatred ruin all of their lives.
Dressed in a flowing white wedding gown and feeling the gaze of the wedding-goers as if she had been looked at for the ‘first time’ since the attack, she turned to her now-wife Sarah-Jane, 33, and said: ‘We made it.’
For more than a year all five women victim to the attack outside the S2 Snooker Club in Kingston Road have been forced to live with the physical and mental consequences.
But Joelene, who said yes on her birthday when Sarah – who was hit 20-30 times – proposed on August 25 last year, said the wedding proved they were ‘so strong’.
Speaking to The News after the ceremony, Joelene, of Copnor, said: ‘If at any point they thought they were going to be ripping us apart they're wrong.
'They've brought a group of girls together who never knew they were so strong.
'It's the best luck and the worst luck, that never should have happened – one, it could have been worse but two, on the other thing is it's brought so many people together.
'Love definitely did win.'
Best women Mitzi Barber and Allie Simpson, along with maid of honour Millie Barber, and Joelene’s cousin Liane Dunk, were all involved in the incident on April 16 last year. Millie was not physically injured but was present.
Tears met the happy couple as family and friends wept with joy during the ceremony, held at the venue – dressed in rainbow colours for pride – Southend Barns in Chichester on Sunday.
Sarah added: ‘It was just amazing – it was just the fact we made it.
‘All the support of the girls who were there on the night who were there on that day – it shows you what sort of friends you have.’
And to top it off, Victorious Festival performer musician Lucy Spraggan – one of Joelene’s favourites – appeared on video wishing them the best.
Joelene, who walked down the aisle to Ed Sheeran’s Tenerife Sea added: ‘There was so much love inside that room.
‘Everyone was crying and we're still crying now.
'It's turned something so horrible into something not so bad.’
Three men have been charged over the incident but have not appeared in court.