A Russian LGBT advocacy group called Human Rights Watch has released a video about the violence gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people have experienced in their country.
Just three days shy of the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony, Human Rights Watch wanted expose the "disturbing violence" against the LGBT community, according to The New York Times blog The Lede.
Human Rights Watch released the following statement to The Lede, along with the video:
"LGBT people face stigma, harassment and violence in their everyday lives in Russia, and LGBT victims of violence and groups told Human Rights Watch that these problems intensified in 2013. Victims in cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk told Human Rights Watch they were attacked in public places, abducted, beaten, harassed, threatened and psychologically abused. They told Human Rights Watch that they were afraid to go to the police to report violence, fearing further harassment and believing the police would not bother to pursue their attackers. When victims did lodge complaints with the police, few investigations followed."
The video calls out a Russian vigilante group called Occupy Pedophilia as an example of the hate crimes being perpetrated against the LGBT community. According to the Human Rights Watch video, the group uses the pretext of protecting children to allegedly attack gay men.
The men in the video were reportedly asked out on a fake date, and later ambushed by Occupy Pedophilia. The videos of the attacks are then posted to YouTube and are used as propaganda against homosexuality, as well as to publicly humiliate the victims.
"By turning a blind eye to hateful homophobic rhetoric and violence, Russian authorities are sending a dangerous message as the world is about to arrive on its doorstep for the Olympics that there is nothing wrong with attacks on gay people," Tanya Cooper, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch, told The Lede.
WARNING: The images in the below Human Rights Watch video are disturbing.