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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

Community safety is important, particularly during Pride Month, and to help LGBTQ+ event organizers, venues and more, we are hosting a free, virtual Safety Planning for Pride webinar on June 18th from 3:30-5pm on ZOOM.

Designed for professionals and organizations aiming to organize events for LGBTQ+ audiences, as well as for event venues and their staff, volunteers, managers, and producers who want to think through some of the opportunities and challenges of creating safety and accessibility in their space and at the types of events they typically host. Participants will have the chance to engage in hands-on activities aimed at building specific, intentional safety plans using upcoming events as an example, and will overall learn about best practices for safety planning and violence prevention.

To register, visit the link in bio.

#Pride2024 #PrideMonth
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Join us TOMORROW (Wednesday, June 12th) for a free, virtual Upstander & De-escalation Training from 4-5:30pm on ZOOM.

Designed for community members and professionals who want to be able to safely intervene when they see someone being harassed in public spaces or professional spaces. This workshop supports participants in assessing situations where harassment or hate violence appears to be a threat and includes opportunities to practice techniques to de-escalate situations while also considering their own and others’ identities and social dynamics.

To register, visit the link in bio.
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FUSION, our annual Pride party and benefit is right around the corner!

The celebration of community will take place at REBAR Chelsea on Wednesday, June 26th from 6-9pm and will have drinks, drag, and a DJ all while supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

Tickets start at $25*

Get your tickets at the link in bio.
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This Pride Month, as we work together as a community to keep one another safe, we are hosting a free, virtual Upstander & De-escalation Training on Wednesday, June 12th from 4-5:30pm on ZOOM.

Designed for community members and professionals who want to be able to safely intervene when they see someone being harassed in public spaces or professional spaces. This workshop supports participants in assessing situations where harassment or hate violence appears to be a threat and includes opportunities to practice techniques to de-escalate situations while also considering their own and others’ identities and social dynamics.

To register, visit the link in bio.
...

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It`s Pride month which means FUSION, our annual Pride party and benefit, is right around the corner!

The celebration of community will take place at REBAR Chelsea on June 26th from 6-9pm.

Come by for drinks, drag, and a DJ while supporting the LGBTQ+ community and AVP`s critical work at a critical time.

Tickets start at $25*

Get your tickets at the link in bio.
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We are pleased to share that the City recently announced that NYCHA is re-opening Section 8 applications for the first time in 15 years.

Please note that this opening is TEMPORARY – eligible survivors must apply through the NYCHA portal (NYCHA’s Self Service Portal) from JUNE 3rd at 12am through JUNE 9th at 12am.

In addition, applicants will have to be below 50% AMI for their household size and have at least one person in the household with eligible citizenship or immigration status to qualify. If an applicant thinks they are already on the waitlist, they should still login to confirm their status and update information as needed.

Don`t miss out on this rare opportunity, visit our Housing Vouchers 101 resource page, link in bio, to learn more and apply.
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You don`t have to heal alone. We know that it can difficult, but it`s ok to reach out for help.

If you are an LGBTQ+ or HIV-affected survivor of violence, contact our hotline at 212-714-1141 for services ranging from counseling to legal support.
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We mourn the tragic death of Sasha Williams, a 36 year-old multi-racial transgender woman brutally stabbed to death in broad daylight in Las Vegas in early May.

Sasha`s family, in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, described Sasha as an artist with “a heart of gold," leaving them wondering how such a heinous crime could happen to her.

A 20 year-old has been arrested and charged with her homicide. In recent years anti-trans rhetoric and legislation has escalated to dangerous levels, with UCLA`s Williams Institute finding that "transgender people are four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization."

From social media antagonizing to anti-trans political actions, trans people across the country and around the world are facing unprecedented levels of violence for simply existing.

This violence is unacceptable and not only threatens trans men and women, but people of all gender identities, including cisgender men and women, as in the case of Michelle Dion Peacock, a Black 59 year-old cisgender woman battling cancer in Richmond, Indiana, whose 67 year-old transphobic neighbor incorrectly percieved Ms. Peacock to be transgender and subsequently murdered her.

Disinformation and fearmongering have real world consequences and MUST be called out as we all do our part to protect ALL TRANS LIVES!
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We mourn the loss of Andrea Doria Dos Pasos, a 37 year-old transgender woman beaten to death as she slept in Miami, FL in late April.

Andrea, like an increasing number of people in the United States, was experiencing being unhoused and had been facing housing insecurity for some time. Already a dangerous circumstance, being unhoused as an LGBTQ+ person and particularly transgender women is exponentially more dangerous, as trans people experience violence at 4x the rate of cisgender people according to a study by the UCLA School of Law`s Williams Institute.

PROTECT TRANS LIVES!
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You`re Invited! Join us this Pride month for FUSION, our annual Pride party and benefit supporting AVP`s important work at a critical moment in history.

The celebration of community will take place at REBAR Chelsea on June 26th from 6-9pm.

Come by for drinks, drag, and a DJ while supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

Tickets start at $25*

Get your tickets at the link in bio.
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May 24th is Pansexual and Panromantic Awareness and Visibility Day.

Often conflated with bisexuality, Psychology Today makes this distinction saying, "pansexuality is not equivalent to bisexuality, because it is broader in scope. It explicitly rejects attractions based on binary notions of sex (male/female) and gender (man/woman). Whereas bisexuality implies a dichotomy, pansexuality suggests the possibility of attraction to a spectrum of gender identities.”

You are seen and you are PANTASTIC!! 😊
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May 22nd is Harvey Milk Day! We remember and celebrate the life and legacy the late Harvey Milk on what would have been his 93rd birthday. ...

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We mourn the tragic killing of River Naveah Goddard, a 17 year-old nonbinary teenager from Massachusetts.

Despite a difficult upbringing, River Naveah brought color and light into the world. Their obituary says they "had an amazing, outgoing personality and that they were very creative and artistic, and loved to write their own music. Their cuddly nature was only matched by their quick wit, and goofiness.
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Remember you have rights if you are facing eviction. If you need help navigating the system and knowing your rights, visit our factsheets page and find our Housing Eviction 101 resource guide gain tools and resources to help you. Call our hotline if you need additional support. ...

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While the energy for creating a more just and equitable world is at a generational high, facing these greater challenges while dealing with everyday life can be stressful. As an LGBTQ+ person, simply one’s daily can wear you down mentally and spiritually, and remembering that it’s okay to not be ok all the time is critical for practicing positive mental wellness.

Whether it’s stepping away from social media or seeking counseling, addressing how you feel regardless of social or occupational pressures to push on is the first step for protecting your mental health.

Our decades-long running 24/7 bilingual hotline has been a resource and continues to be for LGBTQ+ and HIV-affected survivors of violence facing mental health struggles offering services ranging from counseling to legal support.

If you are facing a mental health crisis or just need someone to talk to, contact our hotline at 212-714-1141 for support.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth
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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we uplift the work of LGBTQ+ researchers affiliated with Syracuse University and their project aiming to understand the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals living in New York, including their trauma exposure, mental health, and substance use.

The researchers will ask LGBTQ+ people how trauma and other stressful experiences impacted their lives.

Prospective participants will be asked to first complete a brief (5 min.) online survey containing demographic information (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender identity) and questions about stressful experiences.

The survey is live at the link in bio.
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As Sexual Violence Awareness Month concludes, we invite you to join us this evening for `Queering Healing From Sexual Violence,` a webinar where we`ll share information on sexual trauma and how it relates to LGBTQ+ communities, tools for healing sexual trauma, as well as resources available to survivors in NYC and nationally.

This free webinar happens tonight from 6-7:30pm (EST).

Registration is still open, visit the link in bio to register.
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