Twitter user arrested for threatening to rape and murder female activist
Scotland Yard said that a 21-year-old man was arrested in London on Sunday for sending rape and murder threats to a female activist on Twitter.
Caroline Criado-Perez had become a target on Wednesday after she organized a successful campaign to have author Jane Austen appear on a newly-designed British bank note.
“Everybody jump on the rape train . . . [Criado-Perez] is the conductor,” one Twitter user wrote, according to The Age.
“Wouldn’t mind tying this bitch to my stove. Hey sweetheart, give me a shout when you are ready to be put in your place,” another tweet said. “Rape threats? Don’t flatter yourself. Call the cops, we will rape them too.”
A Scotland Yard spokesperson said on Sunday that the arrest of a 21-year-old man was “in connection with an allegation of malicious communications received by officers in Camden on Thursday, July 25.”
In an interview on Sunday, a Channel 4 host asked Criado-Perez if it would be better to ignore the “pathetic” men.
“There is the whole adage, don’t feed the trolls,” Criado-Perez agreed. “But I think we have to be very specific about what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about trolling here as you hinted earlier. We are actually talking about criminal activity. It is illegal to make a rape threat.”
Over the weekend, some Twitter users attempted to organize a boycott in an effort to get Twitter to add a “Report Abuse” button. A Change.org petition had over 60,000 signatures at the time of publication.
A spokesperson for Twitter noted in a statement that the “ability to report individual tweets for abuse is currently available on Twitter for iPhone and we plan to bring this functionality to other platforms, including Android and the web.”
But Criado-Perez said that Twitter alone could not solve the problem.
“I don’t think that either Twitter or the police can solve it or solve it overnight,” she explained. “It’s a huge cultural shift that’s needed. There’s so many things that we need to focus on. But certainly, the police and Twitter can be doing a lot more to protect women and to make sure that when people do make rape threats that they get dealt with.”
Watch this video from Channel 4, broadcast July 28, 2013.