Have the police failed to record the Twitter threats against me?

Police officers told Caroline Criado-Perez that they would collate the necessary information on threatening tweets sent to her. But earlier today, she was told that only individual tweets she had reported were being investigated. She now wonders if it is

I will rape you. Fucking pathetic slut.

I will shove a 3 foot pole in your vagina. You deserve nothing, but pain. 

U fucking spanish dirty hooker. 

 

I had been off Twitter for much of the morning. When I returned, these tweets were just three of a stream of abusive messages I received from a single account earlier today. As has become habit, I screencapped them, and prepared to email them to the police investigating my ongoing case.

But when I looked at my inbox, I found an email already there. It was from a police officer, asking me to approve a statement which he had attached along with some screencapped evidence. I read over the statement and made a few changes. Then I looked at the accompanying evidence, and was surprised to find only two relatively innocuous tweets to me included. I emailed the police officer back, asking why this was, given this particular user had sent me multiple threats from multiple accounts. The response came back: this is all we have from you

How can I describe the way that made me feel? I knew I had sent more than that to the police - far more. I remembered that the police had originally told me I only needed to screencap one threat per account, because they would look into the rest.

It now looks as though not only had they not done that, but they didn't even have the screencaps I had sent them. They were now asking me to go through all the threats I'd received - and relive all the psychological trauma involved - to look for three specific usernames, to see what evidence I had of their abuse. 

It started to dawn on me that, contrary to the advice I'd been given, I should have screencapped and reported every single threat every user sent me, because I needed to have reported it myself for the police to act on it. 

I felt completely hopeless - on the edge of breaking down. The thought of going through the threats all over again was traumatising in itself. I emailed back and said I didn't want to do it.  I asked if they could find a way that I didn't have to go through all the screencaps myself. I asked if they had received the rape threat screen-caps I had just sent them.

They replied telling me what they had and asking me again to review my systems. 

That was two hours ago, and they still haven't responded. And so, purely because I couldn't take the anticipation and the tension anymore, I've done it. I've gone through the screencaps and relived the experience of being told I was going to be gang-raped until I die. I found the ones they wanted and read again about how this particular user was going to find me and kill me - although of course, I haven't found all of them, because I'd been told I didn't need to record them all. I've collated all the threats I do have and created a shared online folder of them. I've sent all this to the police. That was two hours ago. And I've heard nothing.

I have been feeling uneasy for a while about the way my case was being handled. Things had moved achingly slowly from the start. It took four days from the first threat before someone was assigned to my case. The only arrests made had been of people who were so easy to find even I could have tracked them down - or of people where the media had done the work and then informed the police.

There have been no arrests of the many other people who sent me gruesome and graphic death and rape threats, who told me they would mutilate my genitals, burn my flesh while my children watched, rape me until my body fell apart. Given how quickly the media managed to track down my abusers, I had been wondering what had been taking so long, why hadn't I heard anything. Now I'm wondering if it's because the police don't even know about those threats, because I didn't report them individually.

This experience has left me feeling utterly hopeless and powerless. I had always felt like the police didn't really understand the impact this experience had on me. I'd always felt that, while they had seemed perfectly pleasant, they didn't really treat the case with any sense of urgency, of importance. I'd always felt almost apologetic for asking this to be investigated, for letting this affect me so deeply. And now I feel that I was right to feel like that.

Given this experience, given this attitude, given how I've been made to feel, would I report the abuse again?

Frankly, no I wouldn't. I simply don't see the point.

Caroline Criado-Perez, right, on the day of the banknote announcement. Photo: Getty

Caroline Criado-Perez is a freelance journalist and feminist campaigner. She is also the co-founder of The Women's Room and tweets as @CCriadoPerez.

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The UK must reflect on its own role in stoking tension over North Korea

World powers should follow the conciliatory approach of South Korea, not its tempestuous neighbour. 

South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has done something which took enormous bravery. As US and North Korean leaders rattle their respective nuclear sabres at one another, Jae-in called for negotiations and a peaceful resolution, rejecting the kind of nationalist and populist response preferred by Trump and Kim Jong-un.

In making this call, Jae-in has chosen the path of most resistance. It is always much easier to call for one party in a conflict to do X or Y than to sit round a table and thrash through the issues at hand. So far the British response has sided largely with the former approach: Theresa May has called on China to clean up the mess while the foreign secretary Boris Johnson has slammed North Korea as “reckless”.

China undoubtedly has a crucial role to play in any solution to the North and South Korean conflict, and addressing the mounting tensions between Pyongyang and Washington but China cannot do it alone. And whilst North Korea’s actions throughout this crisis have indeed been reckless and hugely provocative, the fact that the US has flown nuclear capable bombers close to the North Korean border must also be condemned. We should also acknowledge and reflect on the UK’s own role in stoking the fires of tension: last year the British government sent four Typhoon fighter jets to take part in joint military exercises in the East and South China seas with Japan. On the scale of provocation, that has to rate pretty highly too.

Without being prepared to roll up our sleeves and get involved in complex multilateral negotiations there will never be an end to these international crises. No longer can the US, Britain, France, and Russia attempt to play world police, carving up nations and creating deals behind closed doors as they please. That might have worked in the Cold War era but it’s anachronistic and ineffective now. Any 21st century foreign policy has to take account of all the actors and interests involved.

Our first priority must be to defuse tension. I urge PM May to pledge that she will not send British armed forces to the region, a move that will only inflame relations. We also need to see her use her influence to press both Trump and Jong-un to stop throwing insults at one another across the Pacific Ocean, heightening tensions on both sides.

For this to happen they will both need to see that serious action - as opposed to just words - is being taken by the international community to reach a peaceful solution. Britain can play a major role in achieving this. As a member of the UN Security Council, it can use its position to push for the recommencing of the six party nuclear disarmament talks involving North and South Korea, the US, China, Russia, and Japan. We must also show moral and practical leadership by signing up to and working to enforce the new UN ban on nuclear weapons, ratified on 7 July this year and voted for by 122 nations, and that has to involve putting our own house in order by committing to the decommissioning of Trident whilst making plans now for a post-Trident defence policy. It’s impossible to argue for world peace sat on top of a pile of nuclear weapons. And we need to talk to activists in North and South Korea and the US who are trying to find a peaceful solution to the current conflict and work with them to achieve that goal.

Just as those who lived through the second half of the 20th century grew accustomed to the threat of a nuclear war between the US and Russia, so those of us living in the 21st know that a nuclear strike from the US, North Korea, Iran, or Russia can never be ruled out. If we want to move away from these cyclical crises we have to think and act differently. President Jae-in’s leadership needs to be now be followed by others in the international community. Failure to do so will leave us trapped, subject to repeating crises that leave us vulnerable to all-out nuclear war: a future that is possible and frightening in equal measure.

Caroline Lucas is the MP for Brighton Pavilion.