The gay scene
When you are out and about, it’s easy to forget personal safety and that assaults on gay men still happen. If you’re on the street or on your local cruising ground, remember:
- Keep your wits about you
- Don't over engage with everyone you meet
- Try to avoid being on your own in an unfamiliar area, especially if you are drunk or have taken recreational drugs. Be vigilant when leaving gay venues
- Always walk with a purpose, head up, and as if you know where you’re going. Be alert. Know who or what is behind you at all times. If you think you’re being followed, cross the road to check. If possible keep to well lit and peopled streets
- If you feel threatened, try to attract attention or go into a shop, a pub, even knock on a door using the premise that you’re looking for someone who you thought lived at the address.
- If you think there is going to be trouble – get out. Think about how you might defend yourself if you had to – screaming, shouting, and/or running. (If available, self-defence courses are excellent for teaching you disabling tactics)
- If you can, carry a whistle or attack alarm and use it. Scream for help, bang on doors or flag down passing cars. But try not to look totally mad or they’re likely to ignore you
- If you see someone being attacked, try to help without putting yourself in danger. If you can’t help yourself – get help
- Always use a registered taxi firm that you can trust. Be wary of unregistered cabs and taxi touts. Agree the fare before you get in. Be cautious about travelling in a taxi alone. Consider sharing
- If you feel threatened on public transport, stand near the exit, change carriage or seek the company of others
- In an emergency always call 999
The Havens | 020 3299 6900
The Havens can help you if you have been sexually assaulted or had non-consensual sex in the past 12 months. You can call them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for an initial assessment. When they need to see you urgently, such as for a forensic medical examination (FME), they aim to see you within 90 minutes. They also offer follow-up care, including counselling, tests and treatments. Its medical and emotional support services are confidential. That means it will not tell anyone you have contacted or come to see them unless you want them to. And you can use any of their services without involving the police.
While MEN R US maintains that The Havens is an invaluable service, it has intel from users to indicate it could - and perhaps should - be more friendly and accessible towards gay men, bisexual men and men who have sex with men. However, should you be in need of The Havens this is not a reason not to go.
The Havens has 3 centres in London:
Camberwell Haven, near to King’s College Hospital (South)
Whitechapel Haven, near to Royal London Hospital (East)
Paddington Haven, near to St Mary’s Hospital (West)