The police

  • If a threat online moves offline or has the potential to do so, for instance in the form of phone calls, physical appearance of stalkers in your environment, work place or neighborhood, or as damage to your property, seek help from the police. Call your local police and/or the FBI; ask for the cyber crime or online crime unit. This helped to stop stalkers. In one instance in my study the police also helped when a woman forwarded several problematic e-mails.
  • This is not to say that you cannot or should not also report rape threats and death threats that you have received online. Yet, several women in my study reported that the police was either not responding or not taking their cases seriously. But in the United Kingdom, two trolls got send to prison in January 2014 for repeatedly tweeting vicious rape and death threats to feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez. Laws are changing slowly but they can change. If you have the time and energy, it is worth it to continue to sensitize police toward these “new” kinds of abuse online. Obviously it should not be your burden to educate the police. But going to the police repeatedly might help build up public pressure for police forces to get educated about online harassment of women especially and to take them seriously.