Belgian smartphone app against homophobic violence launched in the Netherlands

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 — SVGK follows Outrage! in fight against gay bashing

Utrecht, 30 May 2012 – Stichting Vrienden van de Gay Krant (Friends of the Gay Paper Association - abbreviation SVGK), following Belgium’s example, today launches the bashing.eu application. It is a smartphone application that puts verbal and physical homophobic violence literally and figuratively on the map. In this way, it is hoping to bring gay bashing into the spotlight and call on people to no longer tolerate this sort of behaviour. The app’s launch in Belgium in early 2012 received the necessary national attention. Since the gay bashing issue cannot be confined to Belgium and homophobic violence should be stopped wherever it may occur, the Belgian initiators (the anti-gay-bashing movement Outrage! and advertising agency FAMOUS) decided to make the application available internationally.

Gaybashing international problem
In Belgium, the bashing application was launched in early 2012 in response to a series of homophobic incidents in Brussels and Antwerp. The Belgian launch soon led to a national debate about gay bashing. Politicians realised how serious the situation was and took measurements to wipe homophobic violence off the map. There is still a great deal to be done, but the first steps have at least been taken.

Unfortunately, gay bashing is not simply a Belgian phenomenon. This is why FAMOUS and Outrage! are making the application available to holebis worldwide.

Bert Vermeire, developer at FAMOUS, who originally came up with the concept states: ‘I am pleased to see that (political) Belgium is gradually considering gay bashing as a real problem that needs tackling. Needless to say, there is much to be done, but the first step has been made. Unfortunately, gay bashing is not only a Belgian phenomenon. Every day, holebis worldwide are still at the receiving end of verbal humiliation and physical aggression. I therefore hope that the Bashing app can contribute to our fight against homophobic violence outside of Belgium too.’

Launch Bashing.eu in the Netherlands
It is SVGK that launches the Bashing app today in the Netherlands. The Bashing app ties in well with the complaints centre which SVGK launched at the end of last year, where holebis are able to report incidents in their vicinity. This initiative has led to cooperation with the Public Prosecutor and the National Ombudsman and to the development of an anti-bullying campaign. The launch of the Bashing app is a next step in the fight against violence suffered by holebis in the Netherlands.

Henk Krol, spokesperson at SVGK: ‘The SVGK is very happy with the cooperation with our Belgian partners. In the Netherlands, too, there has been an increase in physical and verbal violence against holebis. We noticed this when we opened a complaints centre in October last year for holebis who get bullied near their homes. Thanks to this app, the victims cannot only express their feelings of hurt, but it also helps them report the incidents to the police and offers information about anti-discrimination agencies. In that way, ever victim can contribute to a better living environment in the Netherlands and the violence statistics are more transparent and more reliable.

How does the Bashing app work?
Victims wishing to report a homophobic incident indicate via the Bashing app whether the violence is verbal or physical. Then they indicate on a map the location where the incident took place. It is the so-called ‘Bashmap’ that collects all the complaints. An overview of the reports can be seen on www.bashing.eu. Reporting an incident can be done in 100% anonymity.

Practical information
The Bashing app can be downloaded via the Apple store and via Android Market (search term: ‘Bashing’) free of charge. The Bashmap and more information about the application are also available online from www.bashing.eu.

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The need for an official complaint
It is important that victims of physical homophobic violence always lodge an official complaint with the competent authorities. Björn Pius, chairman of Outrage!: We do know that it can be very hard, following an at times traumatic experience, to walk into the police station, but it remains a necessity! This is the only way the police well get sufficient insight into the problem, which, in turn, will allow them to apprehend the perpetrators more easily. What’s more, what we don’t want is that the missing objective crime figures can be used as an argument to ignore a genuine problem. It is therefore also vital that you specify that you were the victim of homophobic aggression.’
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About Outrage!
Outrage! is a Belgian, open community based on the LGBT community, united in the fight against homophobia, discrimination and violence against holebis. They foster collaboration between organizations and individuals, and shall assert their rights and dignity through targeted, political, radical, though peaceful action so as to bring about positive change.

Further information: www.outrage.be
Follow Outrage! on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Outrage.be

About SVGK
Association Friends of the Gay Newspaper (Dutch abbreviation SVGK) has been fighting for equal holebi rights since 1979. Its biggest success was the lobby that culminated in the right to civil marriage as the first country in the world. Anti-bullying campaigns and projects for holebi youngster are now top of its agenda. SVGK communicates via its publication Gay Krant newspaper and GK.nl website.

Further information: www.gk.nl
Facebook: www.facebook.com/gaykrant
Follow Gay Krant on Twitter: @Gaykrant

About FAMOUS
FAMOUS is an independent Belgian advertising agency which, with its campaigns, has managed to scoop near enough to every single national and international award over the past 15 years. FAMOUS transcends the media borders and offers clients a mixture of advertising, CRM and PR, both online and offline. Famous operates a co-inspiration model where the input of the client takes centre stage. To that effect, Famous launched the Everybody Famous community in 2011: a 24/7 online community of 300 Belgians who guarantee a non-stop input and feedback from consumers.

FAMOUS looks after campaigns for a. o. Bacardi-Martini, BOIC, De Morgen, Electrabel, GAIA, Hyundai, AB InBev, SITA, VT4 and Vandemoortele.

For further information: www.famous.be.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/famousbrussels
Follow FAMOUS on Twitter: @FamousBrussels