The New York City Anti-Violence Project has responded to seven high-profile incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence in the last month. That's nearly two high-profile incidents a week. And that is on top of the reports of hate violence we receive every day. Our hotline gets a call every three hours, on average. That's literally hundreds of incidents of violence a year. And most of them never go public.
In responding to these incidents and supporting survivors and communities most affected by the violence, we are also paying close attention to trends and patterns that emerge from these reports. Over the past year, and especially over the past few months, we've seen an increase in reports of people meeting perpetrators of violence online.
Now, this actually isn't that surprising. We all do a lot more online than we used to. We order food, listen to music, watch television and buy our stuff online. It makes sense that we'd be meeting people online too. It's easy, it's fast, it's cheaper than most bars, and it's private. At AVP we're all for people meeting up and hooking up online. But as we see the trends in how people are interacting change, we are also shifting our work to help folks stay safe in all situations. And sometimes hooking up online isn't safe.
Hookup-related violence is violence that occurs within the context of a "hookup" for casual sex. Hookup-related violence can occur through hookup websites, apps, cruising, sex parties, bars, and clubs and can be connected to overlapping forms of violence, including hate violence, intimate-partner violence, sexual violence, and, as demonstrated by an incident on New York City's Upper West Side on Oct. 29, the targeting of LGBTQ people for violence or robbery.That's why AVP has launched an innovative initiative, our "For a Safe Time Call AVP" campaign, on dating apps and websites: to respond to, and prevent, hookup-related violence -- and all forms of violence -- that can happen through online meetups. Through pop-up banners and ads, AVP is reaching people as they open or scroll through dating and pickup apps with messages about how to stay safe, how to plan for your safety, and how to reach out to AVP if you need to. You can follow the ads to our safety tips, which include advice like:
- Make the first meeting a public one.
- Trust your instincts when you feel like something is wrong.
- Let folks know where you're going to be.
- Check in with friends throughout the day so they know you're OK.
You can also click through to our website to report violence online or just check out what AVP is doing and find out how to get involved.
In an ever-evolving world, AVP is working hard to meet you where you are, where you want to be, and to get you the information you need to stay safe no matter how you're meeting people. So check out our new ads, click through to the safety tips and, if you need to, for a safe time, call AVP.