OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Assaults
More and more hate crimes are being reported across the country, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
In 2009, the number of hate crime reported in Canada went up by 42%, and police are optimistic. ”It’s not that the hate crimes are actually increasing,” explained Ken Smith from the Edmonton police department’s hate crimes unit. “People are feeling more comfortable reporting it.”
Indeed, hate crimes have been historically under-reported. According to a Statistics Canada survey from 2004, 60% of hate crime victims claimed that they didn’t bother reporting the incidents to the police. A change in this number is welcome news because it allows for more opportunities to catch the people who commit these crimes. This is particularly true with respect to GLBT victims, who are finally feeling safe enough to out themselves to the police and more confident that the police will help them.
GLBT victims, incidentally, need to report these incidents the most. The severest hate crimes—violent assaults—were committed against members of the GLBT community more often than any other identifiable minority, a disturbing trend.
Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done to improve things, but the most important step—reporting hate crimes when they happen—is already happening. So, while I’d be most happy if hate crimes stopped altogether as of last night (one can hope, right?), I take the latest statistics as an encouraging move toward a safer life for everyone.
- Increase in Edmonton hate crimes due to more frequent reporting, police say [Edmonton Journal]
Shawn Woodward, a 37 year old man from Vancouver, was found guilty of aggravated assault this week after sucker-punching a 62-year-old gay man. Richard Dowrey, the victim, was left with permanent brain damage and will now require assistance for the rest of his life.
Woodward, who is straight, claimed that the punch was made in self-defense because Dowrey had made “unwanted sexual advances.” Now, that’s a pretty crazy argument on its own, but it’s extra absurd in this case. The assault happened inside the Fountainhead Pub, a gay bar in the middle of Vancouver’s gay district.
After examining witness testimony, the judge found that Woodward’s evidence was not credible, that no sexual assault took place, and that Woodward merely became offended and violent after being hit on by a gay guy.
Sentencing happens in September, where it will be decided if the assault was also a hate crime.
- Guilty verdict in Fountainhead Pub assault [CBC News]
Gay people put up with a lot of abuse. Umpires, too. I imagine, then, it’s not easy being a gay umpire. Just ask Billy Van Raaphorst.
On July 31st, after two Edmonton players were tossed out for misbehaving at a minor league game, Van Raaphorst found himself enduring a spectacular assault by the team’s manager, Brent Bowers. The homophobic tirade, complete with slurs, obscenities, threats, and gestures involving grabbed ankles, shocked onlookers.
The scene was reportedly so offensive that other umpires refused to officiate games for the entire Golden Baseball League until Bowers was punished—which he was, late last week. Originally given an unsatisfactory two-day suspension, the league eventually decided upon a $5000 fine along with a suspension for the rest of the year. Bowers has since resigned.
Probably for the best, too. His team lost all three games that weekend, 3–2, 6–2, and 2–1. Ouch!
A 31-year old lesbian was violently assaulted in Edmonton last week in what she and her friends are calling a hate-motivated attack. Shannon Barry required two facial plate implants to repair a broken jaw and crushed eye socket after being kicked in the face while her assailants shouted anti-gay slurs.
Thankfully, an arrest has now been made: A 14-year old boy who cannot be identified by police.
Personally, I find that age pretty shocking. Fourteen. Who and what could possibly influence a kid to assault a woman over twice his age? I mean, other than the religious figures, politicians, lobby groups, and other adult role models who routinely encourage an unnatural hatred toward an entire minority group.
I think most gay people, myself included, have been verbally assaulted at one time or another, and have likely even felt physically threatened. There are no official statistics on these sorts of incidents, generally because people tend to keep it to themselves. What’s alarming, though, is that physical assaults are still startlingly under-reported. This is why I was encouraged to hear about a rally of over 2,000 marchers that took to Davie Street, Vancouver, after a hate-motivated assault last month left Jordan Smith, a gay man, with a broken jaw for doing nothing more than holding hands with a friend.
Smith brought a message to the rally that resonated with me:
I was scared to be completely open prior to this event. I preferred the status quo. I no longer want to be silent. [...] I’m proud to hold my friend’s hand in public.
This is an important message to understand and spread. Last week, a family member called me in complete shock over continuing anti-gay rhetoric heard from an acquaintance and otherwise generous host while out of town. While I’m not as easily shocked over that sort ignorance and hatred, I was disheartened by the reaction: “This is why I think you should hide more,” I was told.
While I trust completely that this advice was motivated by concern and love for my well-being, I regret that I cannot distinguish this reaction from those who outright threaten or abuse gay people, even though the motivations are clearly different. (Call it the Slap Doctrine, if you will.) The consequence of both actions is clear: to make gay people invisible and live in fear.
But Jordan Smith is less afraid after a violent assault than before. That’s because he understands, first hand, how hiding prevented nothing and why invisibility after the assault was not an option.
Silence in the face of homophobia is tolerance of homophobia, and unless you’re capable of living your life without ever mentioning the person you love most, capable of filtering all your words and actions as simple as holding hands, and capable of doing all this without feeling you’re worse off for it, then silence stands in the way of happiness. Stand up to homophobia, report and challenge hateful incidents, and don’t live in fear.
Terrance Lewis, a 60-year old therapist and former Bible college instructor from Winnipeg, has been found guilty of sexually manipulating a male patient who was seeking therapy to turn from gay to straight.
The 21-year old patient, who began therapy after his parents caught him looking at gay pornography on the Internet, was told that special “touch” sessions would turn him straight:
[The therapy was to] assist me to be straight and to live a straight life.
The scenario was that [Lewis] would be my wife on our honeymoon night. He would say, “When you are kissing me, you are not kissing me, you are kissing your girlfriend,” trying to make me comfortable kissing a girlfriend.
He said I was to tell no one about it because no one would understand.
These special therapy sessions took place in various locations throughout Winnipeg, including the Fun Mountain waterslides, the floodways surrounding the city, and Lewis’ car. This continued until the patient started seeing a different therapist, who immediately contacted the police.
Reparative therapy is often supported by anti-gay and religious groups who believe that sexual orientation is a choice that can be reversed. This attitude is rejected, however, by numerous professional and medical organisations. The American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Counseling Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers, and probably many other professional organizations that start with “American” or “National,” have all gone on record to say that reparative therapy is unnecessary and ineffective at best, and actively harmful at worst.
Hat Tip to Wayne Besen at Truth Wins Out, an organisation that counters and discredits the ex-gay movement.
- Man found guilty in gay “therapy” case [Winnipeg SUN]
- Former Bible college counsellor guilty of sex assaults [Canada.com]