Another Hate Bashing on Capitol Hill; Victim Uses Safe Space

No data exists about how much the widely adopted program is actually used.

In our editorial last week, we talked about what city leaders are doing to address apparently rising rates of hate violence against queer Seattleites. We lauded the mayor and city council for adding $165,000 to the adopted 2016 budget to implement recommndations made by an LGBTQ task force last year.

We were less impressed, however, with the city’s Safe Place program, which consists of businesses and other public-space entities putting rainbow-colored police shield stickers in their windows to signal their support for victims of anti-LGBT violence. The idea is that if you’re getting bashed, you can go to one of the Safe Place businesses for help. While the mayor and Seattle police have boasted of the program’s popularity among businesses which want to advertise their allyship, there is zero data on when, how, and how much the spaces are used by queer people who actually need shelter from violence or harassment.

Safe Places didn’t help Michael Volz, as we pointed out. Volz was walking home on Capitol Hill two weeks ago when a random bigot beat them senseless. Despite being nearby several Safe Place locations, Volz went home after regaining consciousness. “This one example doesn’t show that Safe Spaces are a failure,” we wrote, “but it does raise important questions about the program’s efficacy, since Volz’s bashing was exactly the kind of incident Safe Places are supposed to address.”

But Safe Places arguably did help the unnamed person who was bashed in the same neighborhood this past Saturday night. From Capitol Hill Seattle:

“According to the East Precinct report on the assault, the male victim left the [gay bar] Cuff around 11:30 PM on Saturday, June 25th and was walking alone on E Pine when he was approached by an unknown male. The victim told police the suspect walked up, called him a faggot, and punched him in the face.” (We’ve requested a copy of that report from SPD.)

Afterwards, CHS reports, the victim went to Poco Wine and Spirits, where he works and which is part of the Safe Place program. There, friends and coworkers convinced him to report the attack to the police, which he did.

Does this show that the Safe Space program is a success? Nope—as with Volz, an anecdote is not data. Which, again, brings us to the need for data, to show whether and how Safe Spaces are being used by the people they’re supposed to protect.

More in News & Comment

Most of the tenants at show cause hearings have fallen behind on rent, said Housing Justice Project Managing Attorney Edmund Witter. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
New Report Details Seattle’s Eviction Trends

Analysis of 2017 county records and interviews show that nearly 90 percent of evicted tenants experienced homelessness

Daron Morris Suspends Campaign for King County Prosecutor

After running as a reformer, Morris says medical reasons are preventing him from finishing the race.

Democratic incumbent Rep. Adam Smith of Washington’s 9th Congressional District (right) and challenger Sarah Smith discuss the issues facing the district during a forum the Mirror hosted on Sept. 19. Andy Hobbs/staff photo
Smith vs. Smith: Two Democrats Clash in 9th Congressional District Forum

Democratic socialist Sarah Smith seeks ‘bold new progressive vision’ in bid to replace incumbent Adam Smith.

Teen Immigrants in Washington Programs Claim Sexual Assault and Rape

Police reports from federally-funded facilities in Renton and Fife call the minors’ safety into question.

It’s Official: Safeco Field Will Get $135 Million in Taxpayer Funds

Critical King County Councilmembers call plan “a fleecing” and “irresponsible.”

The Westin Seattle workers represented by Unite Here Local 8 gather at Gethsemane Lutheran Church after voting to strike on Sep. 14. Photo by Abby Lawlor
Hotel Workers Vote to Authorize Strike

The Westin Seattle employees will picket to demand higher wages from Marriott International.

King County Moves to Expand Pre-Booking Diversion Program

Three cities could get money to link low-level drug offenders to services and keep them out of jail.

Immigrant Youth Vulnerable to Abuse in Centers

Federally-funded facilities struggle to maintain health and safety of minors stuck in limbo

Most Read