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What is ‘cyberstalking’? 

Cyberstalking is a form of technological abuse in which someone uses technology and/or electronic gadgets to stalk someone online. Stalking is defined as a repeated pattern of unwanted attention, contact, or harassment intended to cause fear or harm. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ+) as well as people living with HIV, or affected by HIV may be more likely to experience this type of online violence. 

Tips & Tools to Prevent Cyberstalking

Common examples of cyberstalking include

  • Tracking someone’s whereabouts via social media, electronics, and other technology. 
  • Creating fake accounts to follow someone on social media. 
  • Installing apps or hacking into devices to track someone’s online movements. 
  • Hacking into someone’s smartphone or laptop camera to secretly record them. 

Be mindful of apps that can be used to intimidate and track location, including

  • Social media websites that ask you to “check-in” (e.g., Facebook). 
  • Spyware that might be installed on your devices (especially if you share your passwords). 
  • E-mails containing suspicious attachments or links that could install software on your devices. 
  • GPS on your cell phones or devices that shows your location. 

If you are concerned that someone might be cyberstalking you

  • Trust yourself. If a person knows too much about where you are and where you’re going, they may be using technology to track you. 
  • Keep your passwords to yourself and change them regularly.  
  • Check your privacy settings on social media to make sure you’re not sharing your location. 
  • Cover your internet tracks: erase cookies, internet history files and your cache. 
  • Protect and limit your social media account: 
  • Make your accounts private 
  • Remove followers you don’t know or who have a relationship with the stalker  
  • Change your handle or name 
  • Use a photo that cannot be identified as you  
  • Don’t open email attachments from sources you don’t trust. 
  • Don’t accept social media friend requests from people you don’t know or trust.  
  • For iPhone users: use the Safety Check feature in your Settings to review and reset all access that anybody might have to your messages, app access, location tracking and other crucial info. 
  • Review the Clinic to End Tech Abuse’s Safety Checklist for technology violence.
  • Consider reporting the cyberstalking—see reporting section below 

 

Reporting cyberstalking

  • You can report cyberstalking to AVP and/or to the police. If you feel comfortable, contact AVP’s 24/7 hotline at 212-714-1141 or online at avp.org/get-help, as AVP tracks and reports on all forms of violence through our hotline and online reporting form. Additionally, or separately, you can file a police report. Having an official complaint on file will help if the behavior persists or escalates. 
  • If you make a report, get the assigned number of the Police Incident Report and ask for follow up steps 
  • Save evidence of stalking (screenshot texts, save voicemails) in case you seek legal protection. 
  • Report the cyberstalker to the social media / websites they have used. 

AVP Advocacy Unit can support clients experiencing cyberstalking

 

More Updates from AVP

As we continue to celebrate Black Queer History, AVP celebrates the iconic Marsha P. Johnson.

Marsha P. Johnson was an activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

Marsha went by “BLACK Marsha” before settling on Marsha P. Johnson. The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender.

Source: Marsha P. Johnson Institute (@MPJInstitute)
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Today, we share with you the news that AVP’s Executive Director, @beverlytillery will be stepping down after eight years of dedication and service to survivors of violence, and the greater LGBTQ+ community. Her last day at the organization will be July 31, 2024. We are excited to celebrate Bev’s leadership and AVP’s accomplishments during her tenure and to begin the search for the next dynamic leader who will shepherd the organization into the future.

We have selected the firm McCormack + Kristel to partner with AVP for this important search. Read more about this important announcement at the link in bio, and thank Bev in the comments for her amazing leadership as we begin to enter a new era at AVP.
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In accordance with the federal holiday, AVP offices will be closed on Monday, February 19th for walk-in hours. Walk-in hours will resume on Tuesday, February 20.

For immediate support, contact our hotline at 212-714-1141.
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Today we honor and celebrate the late Audre Lorde on what would have been her 90th birthday!

Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a Black feminist, lesbian, poet, mother, warrior. Audre was born in New York and a daughter of immigrants.

Both her activism and her published work speak to the importance of struggle for liberation among oppressed peoples and of organizing in coalition across differences of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, age and ability.

Source: @audrelordeproject
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This Black History Month, AVP celebrates the beautiful tapesty of Black identities at AVP and how they view their experience at AVP.

“As a Black, non-binary person, having a community at AVP that sees and affirms you while understanding my various intersections is something you don’t get in most workplaces, and I don’t take it for granted” - AVP Staff Member

#blackhistorymonth #blackqueerhistory #blackqueerhistorymonth
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As we continue to Black Queer History, AVP honors Bayard Rustin, the Black and openly gay political strategist who played a critical role in the civil rights movement.

Bayard Rustin was a brilliant strategist, pacifist, and forward-thinking civil rights activist during the middle of the 20th century. In 1947 as a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Rustin planned the "Journey of Reconciliation", which would be used as a model for the Freedom Rides of the 1960`s.

Rustin served as a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the practice of nonviolent civil resistance, and was an intellectual and organizational force behind the burgeoning civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. He organized protests in England and studied Ghandian principles in India. His life as an openly gay man, however, put him at odds with the cultural norms of the larger society and left him either working behind the scenes or outside of the movement for periods.

Source: NPS.gov

#blackhistory #blackhistorymonth #blackqueerhistory #blackqueerhistorymonth
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This Valentine’s Day, a reminder that real love is safe love. ❤️ Visit AVP’s resource page for dating safety planning tips and more. And call or text us if you need support at 212-714-1141.

Sending love and joy to all of our communities today and everyday.
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Due to inclement weather, AVP`s walk-in hours are canceled today - Tuesday, February 13th. Our hotline as always is available by phone or text at 212-714-1141. Stay safe, New York! ...

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Legal aid orgs in NY are struggling to hire and retain attorneys due to the inability to compete with government salaries. @NYLSCoalition urges the state to act NOW to find a solution to this funding crisis for civil legal nonprofits. #LegalAidPayParity #StopIOLAsweep ...

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February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

"Racism, systemic inequities, social and economic marginalization, residential segregation, and other longstanding barriers are key drivers of the disproportionate impact of HIV among Black or African-American communities in the U.S." (CDC)

Despite this disproportionate impact, sexual health resources are more available than ever with preventative measures like PrEP(Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) along with treatments which can make the virus undetectable.

Above all, knowing your status in key, so regular testing is critical in prevention and wellness.

Violence and stigma toward HIV-affected people is still pervasive in our society. Awareness, discussion, and understanding of available resources and how others can be supportive is critical to eliminating the stigma and moving towards lowering cases among Black Americans as well as the world.

AVP`s hotline is available 24/7 for HIV-affected people, regardless of sexual orientation, who have or are experiencing violence.

For help, contact our hotline at 212-714-1141.
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We are tremendously heartbroken and in mourning over the loss of Cecilia Gentili, the beloved transgender activist, actress, author, and an AVP community partner.

For a decade, Cecilia Gentili was an ongoing collaborator and community partner with AVP. Working at the intersections of sex work, transgender women’s rights, and incarceration issues, Cecilia Gentili helped shape critical forums with AVP. Cecilia was well known for advocating for safe and equitable access to housing, employment, and public resources for the trans and gender non conforming (TGNC) community.

Read AVP`s final interview with Cecilia at the link in bio. She will be missed beyond measure, may she rest in power and peace.
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The state must invest in legal aid so New Yorkers can access legal help for life’s essentials like housing, income stability & abuse prevention. Doing so will ensure liberty and justice for all and not just those who can afford it. @NYLSCoalition #LegalAidPayParity #StopIOLAsweep ...

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AVP mourns the killing of Meghan Lewis, a white transgender woman who died by gun violence in her driveway due to her gender identity in Bel Air, Maryland.

Meghan was a pillar in her community and made space to support trans people in Bel Air, with her friend Tina Castle saying, "When I first came out, she was very encouraging and affirming and all those things that are important to us. Being trans is not an easy thing. You feel very misunderstood."

A home and its surrounding area should be a safe space and no one should face violence of any kind for how they identify, express their gender and/or sexuality and everything inbetween. Megan was first misgendered by her attacker which escalated to homicide in a matter on minutes. This comes at a time with continued anti-trans policy and rhetoric from members of the government along with far-right anti-LGBTQ agitators.

If you have experienced or witness anti-trans or any other form of anti-LGBTQ+ violence, report the incident to our 24/7 hotline at 212-714-1141 or online at avp.org/get-help

News Source: WBALTV11
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AVP mourns the tragic death of Kitty Monroe, a Latiné transgender woman in Phoenix, AZ.

Kitty was confident living as her authenitic self and noted in a 2023 YouTube video that, “I’m not afraid to exist, but I’m afraid of what other people would see, I’m afraid of what their perception of me is.”

Transgender people, particularly trans women of color, are subjected to elevated risks of violence and far too ofen this violence is fatal. Misgendering and deadnaming are often triggers for trans and gender non-conforming people, and people with anti-trans sentiments use this as a way to instigate violence against trans and GNC folks.

It is incumbent upon all people who support the LGBTQ+ community to call out these and all instances of violence against our trans and GNC siblings, especially in this highly charged election year.

If you experience or witness anti-trans or any form of anti-LGBTQ+ violence, contact our hotline at 212-714-1141 or visit us online at avp.org/get-help to report.

Source: PGHLesbian/The Advocate/YouTube
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This Black History Month we celebrate and uplift our Black Queer history! Throughout the month, we will be celebrating trailblazing Black and LGBTQ+ figures from the past, along with current and emerging figures from our community making an impact today.

#BlackHistoryMonth #BlackQueerHistoryMonth
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AVP joins Communities United for Police Reform and all of the New Yorkers who have advocated to pass the How Many Stops Act and the Solitary Confinement Ban in celebrating the override of Mayor Adams’ veto of those bills.

Read the full statement at the link in bio.
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Rally with us at City Hall at 10:00 AM tomorrow, Tuesday, January 30, 2024!

Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD have been waging an intense misinformation campaign to undermine the How Many Stops Act legislation that the New York City Council passed with veto-proof majorities, in December. The Mayor vetoed one of the bills (Intro 586A) this month - and the City Council is scheduled to vote on an override of his veto tomorrow.

Join us at City Hall to show that New Yorkers reject the Mayor’s lies & support the override of his misguided veto.
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Survivors of violence do not have to go through the process of recovering and healing alone.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact AVP`s bilingual 24/7 hotline at 212-714-1141 for reporting support, counseling, legal support and more.
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The #HowManyStopsAct will help to address the NYPD’s chronic underreporting of stops, ensure stops are only being made with the proper legal justification, and enable advocates and policy-makers to advance evidence-based public safety measures.

We urge @nyccouncil to stand with New Yorkers— override Mayor Adams` veto, and ensure HMSA becomes law. Link to demand action in our bio.

#HowManyStopsAct #NYPD #PublicSafety #CommunitySafety #PoliceAccountability
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