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Beat Violence Reported
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The WA AIDS Council has recently been made aware of an assault case occurring at the G.O Edwards Park in Burswood near the Crown Casino (between Great Eastern Hwy and Thorogood Street at the eastern end of Thorogood Street towards the southern end of G.O Edwards Park). The attacker was described as dark skinned, about 6 foot tall, solid build with short dark hair and aged late 20’s / early 30’s. According to the report, the attacker had a LED head lamp on and was wearing a small back pack. The attacker identified himself as police and asked the victim to show his ID.

violence.jpgIt is indeed unfortunate that there are vigilantes and opportunistic offenders out there who are unable to accept or condone sex between men and believe it is their moral obligation to threaten intimidate or act out violence against beat users. Sometimes, robbery or an inability to accept their own sexual attractions to men, are the reasons behind these attacks. However,  they do and are happening around us.

Our complacency and lack of maintaining our own safety is giving these opportunists the ability to carry out and repeat these crimes against our community with little or no fear of being caught and prosecuted.

Please remember when you are at a Beat, there are a few simple rules which you can follow that can keep you safe. The bottom line when cruising is to always trust your instinct. Be aware of your surroundings, know your rights, and never go into a situation without being fully aware that there can be serious consequences (sadly) when cruising for sex.

  1. Use common sense. Conduct yourself using common sense and simple civility towards other cruisers and the general public.

  2. Trust your instincts. They rarely let us down. If it seems too good to be true, it may very well be. If you feel unsafe for any reason, walk away.

  3. Know the difference between discretion and recklessness. Going at it in the middle of a public toilet is bound to get everyone into trouble if it happens too often. Doing it in a park in daylight, in winter when the brush has been reduced, is going to lead to unwanted attention.

  4. Plan ahead. Think about where you are going to have sex before you go out cruising. Having sex in a public environment can involve different safety risks than having sex in private. If you think you might want to leave with someone you have met, think of places you can go that you know will be safe. Do you know him well enough to take him home?

  5. Manage your risks. If you have been out cruising for a long time, your defences may be down and you might be inclined to take more risks. Don’t take chances with someone you are unsure of. Another man will be along soon.

  6. Be alert. Know your surroundings. Have an escape route planned, and above all, trust your instincts if something or someone doesn’t feel right. Leave or move to a more crowded area. Warn others  around you.

  7. Tell a friend where you are going. If you are leaving a cruising area or bar with someone, make sure that person knows you have told someone you are leaving with them. Cruising buddies can also be a great way of maintaining safety so that if trouble does occur, help is not to far away.


The following information is from the ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project website, and it is extremely useful and important to remember the advice provided here.

If you’re confronted, remain calm:

• Project confidence but don’t act cocky.
• Try not to escalate the situation. Don’t insult them (even if it seems so tempting!).
• Try to escape. Run away. Head for somewhere with people.
• Scream, yell “HELP!”, make as much noise as you can to attract attention.

If you’re attacked without a weapon:

• Use your elbows and knees. Unless you are trained, they make better weapons than fists.
• Aim for ‘soft targets’ like eyes, throat and groin.
• Remember if you are knocked to the ground cover your head and try to keep moving. It is more difficult to kick a moving target.
• Never let an attacker force you into a car, back street or building. Being taken from the scene significantly increases the chances of you being seriously assaulted.

If you’re attacked with a weapon:

• The most common weapons used in bashings are broken bottles, knives or baseball bat-like sports equipment. As a rule the best defence against a weapon is distance.
• Keep your eye on the weapon and move away from it.
• Use an item like a bag or chair as a barrier against the weapon.
• Get away as soon as you can.
• Try to get and remember as many details about the attacker as possible. Hair and eye colour, height, weight, other physical characteristics, tattoos, piercings and clothing can all be used to identify and attacker.

112 Emergency Mobile Number

If you have a mobile phone with you in an emergency you can either dial 000 or the special 112 emergency number. Its advantages are:

• Dialling 112 will over-ride your keypad lock, 000 wont.
• If you are in an area where your network signal isn’t strong 112 will connect you to another network. This is especially useful in rural areas where mobile coverage may be less comprehensive.

What if I witness an incident?

Intervening in a violent situation can be difficult, embarrassing and frightening. But we all have a role to play in stopping homophobic violence.

Think how you would feel if you, your partner or a friend were being attacked and no one offered any assistance. Don’t just assume someone else will help! If we are going to reduce the violence against our communities we need to act, both as individuals and as a group.

What can I do during an incident?

The aim of intervening is to scare off the attackers and stop the attack. Unless you are a very skilled fighter don’t get physically involved. You can:

• Scream, blow a whistle or yell ‘fire’. Try to attract as much attention as possible.
• Run and alert others to the situation.
• Call the police and let the attacker/s know you are doing it.
• Take note of the attacker’s details. Look at what they are wearing, car model and license plate number, eye/hair colour, other physical characteristics etc.
• Write the details down as soon as you can.
• Give your contact details to the victim as you may be called on as a witness.

How can I support the victim?

If you successfully scare away an attacker or you come across a victim you can:

• Call the police and/or ambulance immediately. Don’t assume someone else has!
• Try to calm them down. Let them know you are there and are trying to help.
• Make them comfortable and if they are injured don’t move them too much.

You can anonymously report the incident to the Project X Team at the WA AIDS Council (08-9482 0000) even if the victim doesn’t want to take it further. Sometimes victims of violence don’t want to make official reports but it is still important for the Project X Team to know what is happening on the streets. We use anonymous reports to build a clearer picture of homophobic violence and to lobby government.

Getting medical help

The most important thing to do after a violent incident is to seek medical attention. You can go to the Accident and Emergency Department of the nearest hospital, to a medical centre or to your own GP. Even if you don’t think you need treatment, a check up by your GP is a good idea. It can also be helpful should you need a medical report at a later stage.

Reporting to the police

It is also important to think about reporting the incident to the police. If such incidents aren’t reported to the police they will have no way of tracking homophobic abuse and violence. In an emergency call 000.

For further information, contact the Project X Team at (08) 9482 0000 or email info@projectx.net.au.

 


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