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 was worth reporting any of the abuse at all.
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.