SEATTLE — The signs are going up all over the Capitol Hill, at restaurant and bars and other businesses.
An all-out brawl outside a busy bar, and a short time earlier witnesses say two women were verbally attacked with homophobic slurs.
“Something needs to be done. You hear the word faggot being thrown around a lot more than usual, dike. There are anti-gay sentiment has crept into the neighborhood somehow and it’s got to stop,” Social Outreach Seattle co-founder Shaun Knittel said.
Chandler Haase was assaulted last October and he never saw it coming.
“So the last thing I remember I was walking down Madison. The next thing I remember I was waking up, lying on the sidewalk, pool of blood, EMTs all over the place and I was kind of groggy asking what the heck happened,” assault victim Chandler Haase said.
Fortunately Haase is OK but attacks like that have continued and now LBGT advocacy group Social Outreach Seattle wants to arm people with information so they can better protect themselves.
“It’s a public awareness campaign just reminding people not to walk alone, share a cab if you can and don’t have your phone visible. They shouldn’t be walking alone after dark… because the hill is not safe after dark. It’s just not,” Knittel said.
Most see it as a sad reality, that they are never completely safe even in their own neighborhood.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous that people should have to walk in groups. I think people should be able to feel comfortable walking alone,” Capitol Hill resident Atomic Sita says.
“I should be able to walk home from school at night and not have to worry about getting grabbed and yelled at and everything but it’s just a fact of life at this point,” Capitol Hill resident Anaise Larson said.
But Social Outreach wants everyone to know they can reduce their chances of becoming a victim if they walk in groups or in pairs.
Eventually, the group says, the bad guys will get the message.
“The message we’re trying to send is that our neighborhood belongs to us and not crime and it’s campaigns like this, public awareness campaigns that will show the criminals that we’re not going to be vulnerable anymore to attack by walking around by ourselves,” Knittel said.
Social Outreach Seattle plans a candlelight march on Capitol Hill later this month.
They say it will be a peaceful demonstration, even in the face of so much violence.