Gay bashing is when a gay man, lesbian, or anyone who is perceived as gay or lesbian is assaulted by one or more people. The assault does not have to be physical; making someone fear for their well-being by making threats or chasing them is also considered gay bashing.
Trans-bashing is the practice of victimizing a person because they are transsexual and/or trans*gender. Unlike gay-bashing, this type of violence is associated with the individual’s gender expression and/or gender identity rather than their sexuality.
When Trouble Occurs
- Verbal harassment can lead to an attack. If you choose to answer back, you may need to run or fight—remember that.
- Trust your intuition. If you feel unsafe, leave and be prepared to run.
- Think of where you can go to be safe: stores, busy streets, hotels, restaurants, bars—anywhere that other people are.
- If you can’t run, do whatever you need to do to defend yourself and to get away. You have a right to protect yourself.
If You See an Assault…
- Call 911!
- If you see someone being harassed or bashed, do something. Shout or make noise and get other people to shout and to follow you. The trick is to scare off or distract the attackers while not getting into a fight yourself.
- Think about what you see so you can report it to the police. For example, what the attackers looked like, what they were wearing, license plate numbers, or anything else you can remember. Every piece of information helps.
- Stay with the victim(s) until help arrives.
- Contact the Avenue Community Centre and report the incident.
Following an Attack
It is not uncommon for anyone who has been attacked to feel fear or shame and to want to forget the whole thing even happened. Throughout these feelings, take care of yourself: if you are hurt, go to the hospital, seek counselling, and tell someone what happened even if it is not the police.
Charges can be laid when you have been physically attacked, threatened, kidnapped, sexually assaulted or when your property has been stolen or damaged.
If You are Assaulted…
- Call 911! Go to the Emergency Room if necessary.
- Call the police as soon as possible and report what happened. Be sure to get the name and badge number of the officer who takes your report as well as the badge number.
- Write what happened down on paper. Describe what the basher(s) looked like.
- Consider asking that charges be laid if the attacker(s) is caught.
- Don’t make the report alone. Ask a friend or family member to go with you.
- If your keys and/or ID is stolen or lost, do not go home alone! Call and warn your roommate if you have one. Replace the locks.
- Seek help. Contact the Avenue Community Centre for referrals to counselling, legal advice, support, and to report the attack anonymously.
There are a number of programs for those who have been attacked that offer compensation, even if the attacker is not caught. This compensation includes covering the cost of counselling, dental and medical expenses, and damaged property; the victim’s compensation program offers coverage for things not covered by other agencies and is available to those who have been assaulted and have reported the crime. It is important that you contact Victim Services soon after reporting the attack to see the types of compensation you are eligible to apply for.
As well, it is possible to take your attacker(s) to court and to sue them personally for compensation. If you choose to do this you will have to talk to a lawyer, legal aid, or a community law office; they can help you decide whether or not to lay a civil lawsuit and to figure out what kind of compensation you should try to get.
The Decision to Report
Choosing to report or not is up to you. It can be embarrassing to have to “out” yourself to the police in this kind of situation and to explain why you were alone at night on the streets or in the park. There is a chance that the police officer who takes your statement may not be sympathetic, which is why you should take someone with you. Plus, there is no guarantee that the attackers will be caught, which may be both anxiety-inducing and disappointing for you.
However, if you do report, you are taking a stance against hatred and practicing self-care. If the attacker can be caught, they will be charged with the crime. You will make the police aware of the dangers, allowing them to better police the area in which you were attacked. You will also be able to make a claim for compensation. Reporting the crime can help you in dealing with the attack; you’ll be doing something constructive—facing your fear—instead of keeping it inside, allowing it to weigh you down.
Whatever you choose to do, it is very important that you make an informed choice. To be attacked is very frightening. As such, you may need help in making this decision; you can talk to someone in order to seek support though, of course, the decision to report or not is ultimately up to you.
- You have a right to be safe and to feel protected
- Be aware of your surroundings and don’t take unnecessary risks
- Fight only if you have no other choice
- Assault and making threats are crimes!
- Report the attack if you feel safe doing so
City Police and Ambulance: 911
Saskatoon City Police Inquiries (non-emergencies): 306-975-8300
Mobile Crisis: 306-933-6200
Victim Services: 306-975-8400