Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Non Reporting of Hate Crimes


A few months ago, Donal Lynch, the only gay in the village aka columnist for the Sunday Independent questioned the Johnny Report on hate crimes (Downloadable here) experienced by lesbians and gay men in Ireland. Dermod spent some time debating the merits both of the report and Lynch's dismissal of it. I also added my views here


Further research from Victim Support in the UK published today highlights the non reporting of hate crimes by those affected. Crime and Prejudice (pdf file) reports on the experiences of those who had been victims of race and homophobic crime and analysed the views of those affected towards the police and other services. It makes extensive recommendations for changes in responses of police and victim support organisations.


What is most interesting for me, and I suggest required reading for Donal Lynch, are the reasons given for non reporting of this type of crime, the types of crime experienced and the suggestions made by victims (I hate that word). They fear not being listened to or being outed and being harassed further. No doubt Lynch will pull holes in this research too to suit his own arguments but I again contend that just because you don't see it or feel it does not mean that it does not happen.


Time to repeat an earlier call I made for Victim Support groups here to look at Hate Crime and work with lgbt groups on developing policy on the issue.


Source: Link to | Society | Most hate crime victims suffer in silence


At 18:01, Blogger Dermod said...

Excellent stuff Suzy, thanks for posting this...

At 01:14, Anonymous Sean R said...

Thanks for posting this and repeating your earlier call. I feel a rant coming on...

I've just re-read the Sindo article (don't normally read this paper) and I groaned. If the journalist thought things had improved in ireland since decriminalisation, then he's rather naive.

While women seemed to have become invisible (again) in the Sindo article, the problem is that the article also reinforces the normality of what I call the culture of disbelief about men's issues in ireland.

When men get sick (health-wise), or get attacked on the street, or raped, etc. there is a persistent fear that they will not be listened to or their problem will be minimised - and hence not believed. Men are supposed to be strong and invulnerable, and if "you" have a problem, then go and deal with it yourself (preferably in a dark room somewhere). This is the price of hegemonic masculinity, which is utterly toxic to men's lives. Homophobic violence is one manifestation, but there are others in terms of alcoholism or risky sex practices. The article implies that its normal that men don't report violence, because men don't report it - but it's not problematised as to why.

My own experience of reporting some homophobic violence is that the police have been nothing but supportive, and have never batted an eyelid about my issues. (After window-smashing and homophobic daubing on windows of our home, the police were tenacious in investigating the issue.

Policy would help to counter the stereotype of the police, but more useful still would be promotional strategies to counter the gender politics of 'saying nothing.' We need to emphasise the cultural aspect.

My view is that sexual stigma and the closet perpetuate the silence and fear. Many gay men are still not totally out of the closet, so we need to ask why they feel the need to 'cover'.

This calibre of violence is a major issue because it is sexualised and requires disclosure. But the Sindo journalist seems to want to minimise how the perpretrators of this violence seem hell-bent on keeping us in our place or to problematise the underlying politics of how and why homophobia is occurring (so much) today.

Lynch problematises the level of cases... one case is one too many. Grrrr.

At 02:00, Blogger Suzy said...

Sean...rant away!!! And hurry up and finish the opus so you can get blogging!!!!

At 06:24, Blogger Seth Patinkin said...

Dear Oprah,

I am writing to you about discrimination which has been expressed by the selective enforcement of city ordinances against me with respect to my rental business in Southern Indiana once city officials discovered that I am a Jewish person.

More about me: I was named to the "30 under 30" list by my alma mater and did my PhD work at Princeton Univ. under John Nash. I am a applied mathematician/ entrepreneur in my day job.

In the years since I completed my undergraduate work at IU in 1998, I proceeded to buy a small number of rental properties in Bloomington, Indiana, which I have successfully run as a side business for a number of years.

However, about 2-3 years ago, the normal flow of my side rental business ran into some serious roadblocks.

It started when two housing inspectors made a number of explicit anti-semitic statements to me and to a Jewish tenant at one of my rentals.

Soon thereafter, four (4) groups of my otherwise law-abiding and happy tenants were threatened with $10,000 + fine (assessed PER tenant) for alleged ordinance violations.

Long story short, I was soon stuck with numerous vacancies and left paying the mortgage payments on these properties which were subsequently burglarized and vandalized. At the same time, the Housing Department caused complaint inspections to take place at these properties, identifying dozens and dozens of "defects" in the properties not otherwise noted in previous move-in inspections and causing me to incur thousands of dollars of needless "improvements".

And then the Legal Department went to work on me, filing at least five (5) lawsuits against me for alleged ordinance violations, and at the same time, the Legal Department Chief's wife, over at Student Legal Services, encouraged my erstwhile tenants to sue me for recovery of their security deposits, in spite of their breaches. I was soon dealing with about ten lawsuits at once.

So in April 2007, I filed a lawsuit against the City of Bloomington for violating my right to equal protection of the law, and a number of other civil rights violations. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I have become of the despotism of city government in small town Indiana. My attorneys have recently discovered that my case is not unique. Another Jewish landlord also has a case pending in federal court against the City, regarding the improper withholding of a building permit based upon the impermissible consideration that the prospective buyer of the commercial property in question was a Jewish investor from New York.

My life has been turned upside down by the systematic abuse of ordinances and
judicial proceedings. I find it outrageous that such a negative spirit still thrives in modern America. I would love the opportunity to talk about my story on your show, as I think it is in the public interest.

Seth Patinkin


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