Police arrest man in connection with rape threats on Twitter

Case has ignited calls for social platforms to protect users from verbal abuse


LONDON – British police on Sunday arrested a man in connection with online threats made toward a feminist campaigner, a case which has ignited calls for social media platforms to institute stronger protections against verbal abuse.

Caroline Criado-Perez says she has been facing a deluge of abuse — including threats to rape and kill her — over Twitter during the past several days. She said the threats started after her campaign to get a woman’s picture on a U.K. bank note succeeded and resulted in the Bank of England’s announcement last week that author Jane Austen will feature on England’s new 10-pound notes.

In Britain, hundreds of people are prosecuted every year for Facebook posts, tweets, texts and emails deemed menacing, indecent, offensive or obscene. But while there have been several cases of online threats directed at sports figures and politicians, the verbal assault against Criado-Perez appears to have ignited an unrivalled response and backlash against Twitter itself.

The graphic and offensive threats come as combatting the scourge of violence against women has taken on a more public sense of urgency worldwide, when tales of gang rapes in India and Brazil circulated around the world. Earlier this year, more than 130 nations agreed on a UN blueprint to combat violence against women, “one of the gravest violations of human rights in the world,” according to Michelle Bachelet, the head of the UN women’s agency.

The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chen, too, called violence against women “a global health problem of epidemic proportions” when the first major global review of violence against women came out in June — a description that Criado-Perez drew on when writing in the New Statesman about the abuse directed against her. She urged Chen to “take a look at Twitter.”

Already, Criado-Perez’s experience has set off a campaign and petition to press Twitter to take more action to combat online threats.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper urged Twitter to carry out a full review of its policies on abusive threats and crimes, and a petition urging Twitter to introduce a “button” that would make it easier to report abusive Tweets has garnered 12,000 signatures.

On Sunday, British police arrested a 21-year-old man, who wasn’t immediately identified, in relation to Criado-Perez’s case.

She posted on Twitter that she was at a police station to make a statement and had many more threats to report — followed by the hashtag “shouting back.”

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Police arrest man in connection with rape threats on Twitter

  1. I find it hard to get overly concerned about violence against women. I’m far more concerned by violence against people. All people, not just half of them.

    • When was the last time you read about a man being threatened with sexual violence on Twitter?

      • This might come as a shock to you but the world is bigger than Twitter and violence against men and women is rampant. Being threatened online is wrong but all the actual violence going on out there takes precedence in my mind. As I stated, I’d like to see all violence stopped. Not just certain aspects that appeal to special interests. When you get selective about stopping violence you condone violence.

        • red herring logical fallacy

          • So I can take it from your attitude that you don’t care about violence against men or male children. That’s your prerogative. Why is it wrong if someone has the same attitude towards violence against women? What you and Badirya can’t seem to grasp is that when I say I’m against violence, that includes violence against women or don’t you two think women are people too? That’s pure logic.

          • logical fallacy and diversion.
            Women and children are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of violence and abuse than men. Men are overwhelmingly more likely to be the perpetrators of this violence. (Men are also overwhelmingly more likely to be the perpetrators of violence against other men too.)

            Rape and rape threats are overwhelmingly more likely to be directed at women and are overwhelmingly more likely to be issued by men.

            So on the topic of reducing the instances of rape and rape threats your insistence that all violence is a problem (which is true) is off topic and designed to derail the issue being discussed. A classic tactic by the whiny MRA fringe.

          • harebell falsely claims that “Women and children are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of violence and abuse than men”.

            The following link to Statistics Canada data quantifies the relative frequency of violence against men and women. See table 2 in Gender Differences in Police-reported Violent Crime in Canada, 2008 by Roxan Vaillancourt at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85f0033m/85f0033m2010024-eng.htm.

            Here are some highlights from the data:

            Men were over 3 times more often victims of homicide than women. Men were over 3 and a half times more often the victims of level 3 assault than women.

            The cumulative number of homicides, level 2 and level 3 sexual assaults against women were only slighly less than the number of homicides against men.

            The number of homicides against men were 1.99 times the combined number of rapes (ie. level 3 sexual assault) plus homicides against women.

            The combined number of level 3 assault (ie. aggravated assault) plus level 3 sexual assault (ie. rape) against men is 3.12 times the combined number of aggravated assault plus rape against wymyn.

            The combined number of aggravated assault plus rape plus level 2 assault plus level 2 sexual assault is 1.85 times higher for men than women.

            Whereas the proportion of level 3 assault against man is 3.5 times that of woman, and whereas the proportion of level 2 assault against man is 1.8 times that of woman. Given that these figures show the proportion of level 1 assault against man is 0.8 times that of woman, how likely is it that level 1 Assault against man goes unreported? I know that that there have been dozens if not hundreds of times in my life when “level 1 violence” has been used on me and I have not reported it to police.

          • Okay I’ll grant you I was less than clear but women and children are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of violence and abuse by men rather than the perpetrators of it themselves.

            This imbalance is important. Men are the greatest source of violence against men and women and children and animals and the environment.
            Men are overwhelmingly the source of a great deal of crime on this planet,

            Women and children are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims than it’s perpetrators, a ratio that probably isn’t so clear cut when it comes to men.

          • harebell blithely and falsely claims “Men are the greatest source of violence against men and women and children and animals and the environment.”

            The following link to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — Administration for Children & Families — Children’s Bureau reports quantify the relative frequency of violence against children as committed by male and female perpetrators.

            Child Maltreatment 2007 by Dr. John A. Gaudiosi; http://archive.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm07/cm07.pdf
            Child Maltreatment 2009 by Dr. John A. Gaudiosi; http://archive.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm09/cm09.pdf

            In the United States in 2007 42.4% of the perpetrators of child maltreatment were male, 56.5% were female and 1.1% are unknown.(table 5-1, page 68)
            In 2009 44.4% of the perpetrators of child maltreatment were male, 53.8% were female and 1.8% are unknown.(table 5-3, page 76)

            From table 4-5 on page 62 of the 2007 report:

            In 2007 in the US, 29.7% of child maltreatment resulting in the child’s death were committed by a female perpetrator who acted alone whereas 20.6% were committed by a male perpetrator who acted alone.
            In 2007, in the US, 55.3% of child maltreatment resulting in the child’s death was committed by at least one female (ie. one or more women plus zero or more men), whereas 39.6% was committed by at least one male (ie. one or more men plus zero or more women).

            From table 4-6 on page 64 of the 2009 report:

            In 2009 in the US, 29.8% of child maltreatment resulting in the child’s death were committed by a female perpetrator who acted alone whereas 19.5% were committed by a male perpetrator who acted alone.

            In 2009, in the US, 62.1% of child maltreatment resulting in the child’s death was committed by at least one female (ie. one or more women plus zero or more men), whereas 43.4% was committed by at least one male (ie. one or more men plus zero or more women).

          • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.2

            In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
            published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year.3

            Nearly one in four women in the United States reports
            experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.4

            Women are much more likely than men to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner.5
            Women are 84 percent of spouse abuse victims and 86 percent of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend and about three-fourths of the persons who commit family violence are male.6


            Women of all ages are at risk for domestic and sexual violence, and those age 20 to 24 are at the greatest risk of experiencing nonfatalintimate partner violence.9

            Young women age 20 to 24 also experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, followed by those 16 to 19.10 People age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.11

            American Indian and Alaska Native women experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence.12


            The majority of nonfatal intimate partner victimizations of women (two-thirds) in the United States occur at home. Children under age 12 are residents of the households experiencing intimate partner violence in 38 percent of incidents involving female victims.18


            I guess it all depends on how you twist the stats to suit your nasty misogynistic agenda. So please forgive me if I laugh at your attempt to play the victim and tell you I don’t believe you. You are a sad example of what passes for “a man” today, afraid of reality because it doesn’t fit in with your desire for pity.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Well apart from the bits about female children that is.

            As for when is rape not a rape and your declaration that it was when a rapist uses her vagina..
            “Among men, being made to penetrate someone else could have occurred in multiple ways: being made to vaginally penetrate a female using one’s own penis; orally penetrating a female’s vagina or anus; anally penetrating a male or female; or being made to receive oral sex from a male or female. It also includes female perpetrators attempting to force male victims to penetrate them, though it did not happen.” (p17)

            Not too sure you have a point there as the last sentence appears to cover that which you insist they omitted. Forgive the cut and paste, but quoting someone usually means doing that.

            You’re explanation using the figures is spurious at best and shows cherry picking too. The tables show 75 million females as victims of sexual crimes verses 27 million males in their lifetimes. That’s a pretty large difference in a roughly equally divided population.

            Love the royal “we” by the way, adds no authority but it’s charming.

          • So there was not a single case where a drunk or high man penetrated a female? By the definition on page 17, ‘made to penetrate’ includes times when something or someone makes or causes a victim to sexually penetrate another person when the victim was drunk, high or drugged.

          • you’re grasping and flailing now, but at least you’ve stopped calling me a liar so that’s something.

          • My premise all along has been that women make a significant contribution to the violence in society; men are not the only ones. I have presented strong data to suggest that where children are the victim, women can and do commit more severe violence more often than men. harebell claimed not to believe it, though that person didn’t offer any reasons why. And instead, made irrelevant and baseless attacks on my level of masculinity and carried on claiming that I want pity. On the contrary, when harebell said “You are a sad example of what passes for “a man” today”, it surely proves that he or she is either a liar or a deluded nitwit. And I have got a long list of friends and partners, past and present who will vouch for that.

            harebell presents a quote which he or she either misinterprets or deliberately misrepresents in this thread. On page 17, where the authors of National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey wrote “It also includes female perpetrators attempting to force male victims to penetrate them, though it did not happen.”, it means the definition includes cases where there was an unsuccessful attempt by a perpetrator to have the victim penetrate her. It does not mean there were no cases where there was a male victim and a female perpetrator of made to penetrate. To be sure of this see page 24 where it is very clearly and unambiguously written that 79.2% of self-reported male victims of made to penetrate had female perpetrators.

          • I had no idea this was a speech, I thought we were addressing each other.

            Men are overwhelmingly responsible for most of the violence and inequality in the world and women are overwhelmingly likely to be the victims of that violence. (Go on name me one female leader of one of the world’s major religions or even imperialistic or despotic state.) Men have started every war in recent or past history and women have only recently been allowed to take part in them as combatants rather than victims of rape or other violence.
            Women in the third world are treated as possessions and property and regularly treated terribly. Within Western society glass ceilings are a reality, payment inequality is a reality, date rape is a reality etc.

            As for your manhood, I couldn’t give a c**p about that nor the billions of partners you’ve satisfied, but you are sad example of what passes for an honest man these days, your need to twist data and meanings means you are less than honest and absolutely insecure in yourself.

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          • This comment was deleted.

          • “..selective choosing of data to try and support a point that is wrong” is not “misogyny”.

            If you’re going to make that word mean anything in the universe, why not just make it mean, oh. . “quantum physics” or “chiropractic” or whatever. . . ?

          • Says the man who thinks objecting to threats of violence is misandry.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • And yet the MRA movement has no answer to it but to stamp their feet and whine. That or create false “facts” with which to combat it.
            I judge people by the content of their character not their underwear, There are a$$holes who are male and there are a$$holes who are female, I try and have nothing to do with either of those. There are really great people who are both just like there are competent people who are both. I favour keeping company with the former and think the latter should be treated the same as each other.
            Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?

          • Sadly harebell, you have found yourself immersed in a ridiculous fight between genders that has no rhyme or reason. These people seem to condone rape as long as it is perpetrated on the “right” gender. Their whole outlook is warped. I applaud you for trying to inject some reason.

          • Thanks for the complement, I just can’t understand the unreasonable and irrational approach of some people with regard to the law, society and each other.
            As for trying, I’m stubborn I guess

          • straw man logical fallacy

      • Have you been on the internet at all? It’s a very regular occurrence.

  2. What kind of person has a first response of threatening to rape someone when perceiving a sleight to them? The fact that hundreds of people chose this line and thought that it was a suitable response to make is shocking. Unfortunately it isn’t surprising in this day and age.
    If these people are examples of what it takes to be a proper man then I’m pleased I’m anything other than proper. What is it about these people’s ideas on masculinity that means they have to act in an abusive and criminal manner and think that is ok?

    • So….generally speaking, would you subscribe to the attitude that “men are the problem”? That is, do you generally support misandry, anti-male bias, and the war against men? Or do you favor a more pro-male stance?

      • So generally speaking, is that what you took from the above comment?
        Do you believe that it is correct behaviour for a man to threaten to rape someone because they run a successful campaign to retain one famous woman from history on one of the country’s banknotes.
        In fact do you think that it is a correct way to respond to any action that a man disagrees with.

        If opposing criminal behaviour (uttering threats) and wishing for a civilised exchange of ideas is misandry then you have a serious problem with how you define misandry.

  3. Twitter can have a “report abuse” tattle-tale button or not, and users can choose to communicate with one another over Twitter — or not.

    A threat of rape / violence is a threat worthy of investigation, whether it happens in social media or back over here in the real world. Getting Twitter to hide the threats just conceals from the rest of us who the losers are. The better response to rude / hateful speech is more enlightened speech, and the better response to criminal threats is a criminal record.

    Investigate and prosecute those who commit crimes. The rest is optional.