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In cases we documented, when police did open criminal investigations, they were dismissive and reluctant to investigate effectively, often blaming victims for the attacks.
Even when perpetrators were detained immediately after the attack, police did little to protect victims.
In addition to lasting emotional trauma, some vigilantes’ victims also described the physical injuries they sustained, including bone fractures and facial injuries.
In other cases, LGBT people described being physically attacked by strangers on the subway, on the street, at nightclubs, and, in one case, at a job interview.
Although for the past decade activists involved in public LGBT gatherings have faced hostility from Russian authorities and anti-LGBT counter-demonstrators, almost all activists told Human Rights Watch that the number of attacks on public LGBT events had risen in the past two years and that in 2013 anti-gay activists had attacked just about every public demonstration in favor of LGBT equality of which they were aware.
The vast majority of LGBT activists interviewed by Human Rights Watch had been attacked at least once during public events in support of LGBT equality in 20 in several cities, including Voronezh, Moscow, Novosibirsk, and St. They said that anti-gay counter-protesters routinely harass them, use offensive homophobic language, or threaten them with physical violence.
At least two of the attackers in these cases were convicted, but their sentences did not correspond to the gravity of harm suffered by victims.Such encounters have often involved perpetrators pouring urine over their victims and in some cases forcing them to drink it.Assailants often hit and kicked the victims; in some cases they hit their victims with dildos or forced them to hold and pose with dildos; stripped them naked; painted and drew slurs on them; and/or sprayed them with construction foam in the genital area. The suffering of victims of group vigilante attacks cannot be underestimated.Twenty-two victims interviewed by Human Rights Watch told us they developed anxiety and became depressed as a result of the attacks.Others said they stayed at home because they were too frightened to go outside.