Rapist Targets Brooklyn Lesbians
The New York City Anti-Violence Project has mobilized a series of Community Safety Nights after a woman was raped in Brooklyn, in what appears to be an anti-gay bias-motivated attack.
"We are deeply troubled by reports that the survivor of this attack may have been targeted because of her sexual orientation," local Councilman Steve Levin said in a statement jointly released with Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "New York City’s greatest strength is our diversity, but in recent months, there has been an unacceptable increase in hate crimes."
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, June 16, a 26-year-old woman was raped at knifepoint on a sidewalk on Java Street near Manhattan Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint. Her attacker reportedly told her, "I’m doing this to you because you’re gay." The woman was treated at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn.
The NYPD has released a sketch of the suspect, a male between 25-35 years old with medium build and dark hair. He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with a design on the front and jeans, and was carrying a backpack. Councilmember Levin was out in Greenpoint on June 24 passing out fliers to make sure residents were aware of the attack.
Police from the 49th precinct did not comment on the incident, and it is unclear as to whether it is being investigated as a hate crime. But the AVP isn’t waiting to find out and are reaching out to the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force and Special Victims Unit, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Special Victim’s Division, the office of New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and community organizations including Make the Road New York and the Brooklyn Community Pride Center.
In the face of the recent spate of anti-gay violence in New York, the AVP has been holding Community Safety Nights each Friday throughout Pride month, and have been out on the streets doing outreach in neighborhoods recently affected by anti-gay violence, to provide people with information and safety tips.
Tips from AVP include letting someone know where you will be and with whom, choosing a safety word, checking in with friends to let them know you are safe, bringing your cell phone along, using caution in bathrooms and other public spaces, being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas, making a reason to leave if you are uncomfortable, never leaving drinks unattended and trusting your instincts.
To reach the AVP, call 212-714-1141. Anyone with tips about criminal activities should call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com