Wave of Attacks on Gay Men in France Linked to Hook-Up Apps

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Wave of Attacks on Gay Men in France Linked to Hook-Up Apps

Surge in Assaults and Robberies

A recent report highlights a troubling trend of attacks on gay men in France, where perpetrators use hook-up apps to lure their victims before assaulting and robbing them. This study, published by the Fondation Jean Jaurès, builds on previous data gathered by the investigative site Mediapart, which recorded 300 homophobic ambushes across France between 2017 and 2021. Despite this, the true number of incidents is likely higher due to underreporting.

Nature of the Attacks

The report indicates that these attacks often involve robbery and may not always be primarily driven by anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment. “LGBT-phobic ambushes are not always exclusively motivated by anti-LGBTI+ hatred, but it is always based on it and its effects, and thus helps to perpetuate it,” explained Flora Bolter, co-director of the LGBTI+ observatory at the Fondation Jean Jaurès.

Case Study: Ilies B.

One particularly alarming case involves 27-year-old Ilies B., who was charged with armed extortion and robbery after assaulting at least four men in Paris over three weeks in 2022. He targeted victims through anonymous hook-up apps like PlanSM and Coco.gg, which allow users to conceal their interactions.

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According to Le Monde, Ilies B. used typical flirting tactics to gain the trust of his victims before luring them to his basement under the guise of discretion. There, he threatened them with weapons and stole their belongings.

Perpetrators’ Motivations

While some victims reported homophobic slurs, Ilies B. denied any animosity towards gay men, claiming instead that they were easier targets due to their higher activity in seeking sexual encounters. Baptiste Garreau, head of the legal support committee at SOS Homophobie, noted, “Gay men are also perceived as inferior, so it’s not so bad to target them… Attacking a homosexual man seems like a good compromise.”

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Victims’ Reluctance to Report

Many victims are hesitant to report these crimes, often due to shame and fear of outing themselves. Terrence Khatchadourian, secretary general of STOP Homophobie, explained, “Most are ashamed and think they were stupid enough to let it happen to them. Behind this, there’s above all the shame of being gay, which makes them feel guilty.” As a result, victims often choose silence over filing police reports.

Broader Implications

While not all analyzed incidents stemmed from anti-LGBTQ+ hatred, many did. One particularly violent case from last year involved a 23-year-old who was attacked in his home by three individuals after arranging a hook-up on Instagram. The situation escalated when the victim touched his attacker’s thigh, leading to a brutal assault.

In conclusion, the report underscores the urgent need for greater protection and support for gay men in France, as well as more robust measures to address and prevent these targeted attacks.

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