Thursday, December 03, 2009

Houston We Have A (Death Threat) Problem

Some of my long-term readers will remember two years ago I had a series of nasty phone calls culminating in the unknown caller threatening to come to my house and rape me. The full story is here. Well I had some success in tracking the caller (thanks to O2 - who gave the details to the police) but I never heard back from the police what had been done or whatever. I was also never told by anyone who it was, which I would really have liked to know. I did try to chase them up a few times but was told the case had been referred to another office and then no-one answered calls, etc. But since the offending calls stopped I figured I would leave it there - either the police spoke to the guy and he stopped or by co-incience he stopped (or maybe he stopped because I told him the police were involved). Anyhow I wasn't exactly satisfied with the outcome but I left it there.

Last night it started again. This time with a text threatening to kill me. It's obvious it's the same guy - there are clear consistencies in the tone and language employed.

I've never had a death threat before. It's quite scary. [Bows to crowd, waves, thanks manager and fans, accepts award for stating the BLOODY obvious]. I got Mr Cru to pick me up from the bus stop on my way home tonight and there was something utterly futile about having a "bodyguard" for 0.1% of my day when I was totally on my own out in public for a lot of the rest.

I was wildly distracted and did a dreadful job compering at the Duke's Head in Putney tonight - sorry everyone and thanks to the acts who were great and made the night go swimmingly anyway. I probably shouldn't have gone but (and this is interesting because it relates to the issue of delayed reporting of crime which has been under hot discussion on here in the last few days) I had insisted in my head of thinking of it as "just a nasty text", and actually feeling cross with myself for letting it get to me. I was only halfway home on the bus when I went "Shit - that is actually a death threat".

Obviously I went back to the police this afternoon and they have written it down and given me a case number so we'll see what happens.


sianandcrookedrib said...

kate - wow i;m so sorry to hear this, i really hope the police get him and suppor you in the way you need and deserve to be supported. it's crazy that they didn't take action in the first place.
when i was a teenager my mum had threatening calls and because it was from a policeman she didn't feel like she could tell the police. although i can't imagine how awful it must be for you at the moment i can sympathise with that sense of dread when the phone rings, that feeling that you never feel quite comfortable in your space or enironment.
so, sorry a bit rambling really but just wanted you to know that my thoughts are with you and hope this gets sorted as soon as possible
sian x

Mark Thompson said...

That's awful. I'm disgusted with the behaviour of the police previously. To just shunt it off to another department which then refuses to answer calls is lots of kinds of wrong.

I hope that you get better support from them this time, and frankly if you don't I think you should escalate it with them to as high a level as necessary.

Unknown said...

Dear Kate, I am *so* sorry to hear this. Not least as I've been dealing with the same sort of situation since March. Makes one wonder what is so threatening about women standing up for themselves that some men feel the need to threaten them with death...

Take care of yourself, do push the Police constantly or they won't do anything and I hope you have a better response from the CPS than I did.


Jim Jepps said...

I'm really sorry to hear this Kate, and I'm not surprised you're feeling out of sorts.

If it's any consolation I've had *loads* of death threats in my life, from fascists, and the one defining feature of someone who would make an anonymous death threat is that they are cowards. It goes with the territory.

I've lost count of the number of death threats I've had, and they aren't nice, but I've never experienced anything more.

That said I hope you make clear to the police that now they have started again you actually want to be told what happened last time and they should actually follow this stuff up.

It illegal, anti-social and frankly not on.


I'm so sorry to learn this potentially violent male is once again threatening your safety and security. It is common for women to minimalise male threatening behaviour, irrespective of whether the male threatens them in person or via text. This is not to say you are wrong for attempting to minimalise these threats - just pointing out it is an attempt to regain control of a situation wherein you have no control whatsoever. Something many men and a good few women find not least uncomfortable and predominantly worrying because this shows safety is not predominantly about women taking precautions since we do not have a crystal ball telling us 'this man is safe or this man is dangerous.'

But, the police should be doing more to locate this male because making threats against your life is a crime (or so I am led to believe). But as usual, it is always women who have to constantly ring the police, harass and demand the police take their accusations seriously. All too often police claim they cannot do anything until such time as a 'crime' has been committed - but this is nonsense.

Such men who stalk women and/or make threatening phone calls/send text messages are not simply 'isolated acts of male deviancy' rather there is a clear connection between silencing women who are perceived as having overstepped their 'passive female role' and are seen as threatening male power and the fact this man too feels his male power is in danger of being challenged.

I'm sorry the only way of dealing with him is to constantly contact the police and demand action be taken. If they refuse - take the issue higher up the chain of command. Contact your local MP and see if they can assist in any way.

It takes a lot of time and effort I know, whereas you would much prefer to get on with your life - but this man is deliberately seeking to control and restrict your life and freedom of movement.

I just hope by pushing and constantly contacting the police does make them take action.

JM said...

Really sorry to hear about what happened, hope it's all resolved quickly :/

Unknown said...

Dear Cruella,
I hope the police get their act together and deal with the individual ASAP. It seems outrageous how casually some serious complaints can be treated. While the individual may well just be trying to shake you up as much as possible, they shouldn't be allowed to get away with that. Its awkward leading a public life with this hanging over you but I'm sure that, as before, you'll keep going. All the best.

London Feminist/Queer/DIY said...

This is so horrible.

I understand how it feels to dread the phone ringing. I received death threats and disgusting messages from an ex boyfriend. When I told the police about what was happening, they said that he was just 'heartbroken'. This is despite me telling them that he had been physically abusive throughout our relationship.

I think the reason they didn't take my complaint seriously is that I was very young - I was 18 at the time - which I find worrying. Who knows how many other young women have been let down in this way.

I'm so sorry this has happened to you. It does seem to be the price we pay for speaking out against, or escaping, male violence. It's an attempt to silence us.

Keep safe and demand they do something to help you. Good luck.

Leia Organa said...

Oh gods, how scary? As others have said, I hope it's resolved soon.

Brian Damage said...

Kate, Sorry to hear about your stalker. Hopefully he will meet the fate he deserves.

Have you noticed that Google are trying to help with their ads on your page? Especially the one about hilarious prank calls? Nice to know that they care.

Happy birthday.

Brian & Krysstal.

Cruella said...

Yes I have been thinking for a while about just getting rid of the ads, they don't make much money and they are often totally inapropriate. Cheers for the birthday wishes tho!