Twitch streamer Sweet_Anita says she has been dealing with a stalker for many months who has waited outside her house, followed her home from the store, and sent threatening messages.
In a series of tweets in July, Sweet_Anita said she had gone to the police and issued a restraining order, but the stalker did not honor it. She said the stalker is still sending death threats, but she doesn't feel protected by the police.
Sweet_Anita told Insider the police have told her repeatedly they won't be taking the case further, and do not understand what online harassment and doxxing really consist of.
Doxxing — revealing someone's personal and identifying information online without their consent — and stalking are issues that are rarely taken seriously. In 2018, Vice research found that 55 women were killed between 2015 and 2017 in the UK by men they had previously reported to the police.
Insider could not contact the police department for comment because Sweet_Anita did not feel comfortable disclosing her location. However, Twitch confirmed it is aware of Sweet_Anita's case and has worked with her and the police since she reported it.
Sweet_Anita says she has been dealing with a stalker for months.
Twitch streamer Sweet_Anita, who has 900,000 followers, says she has been dealing with a violent stalker for months. She has said in livestreams and tweets that her stalker is ignoring a restraining order she had issued against him and is still harassing her.
Sweet_Anita told Insider the police "repeatedly told me that they won't be taking it further" and she is scared for her life.
Insider could not contact the police department for comment because Sweet_Anita is incredibly protective of her private life. She has never shared her real name or location online, and was not comfortable confirming them to Insider.
Instead, she's working on a video that will feature stories from other streamers and influencers who have also had to deal with online harassment, stalking, and doxxing — revealing someone's personal and identifying information online without their consent — and will be pursuing comment from the police herself.
Sweet_Anita says she has been dealing with a stalker for months
"I have a stalker that has been stalking me for quite a few months actually," Sweet_Anita said in a livestream in April. "They have been coming to my house, they've been sleeping in my backyard, watching the house, and the other day some shopkeepers had to intervene and kind of hold him back while he chased after me."
Sweet_Anita said the stalker waited outside her house and followed her to a shop so he could wait outside for her.
"When I told him to leave me alone and asked if he had a knife he didn't respond," she said. "And when I said, 'Are you going to let me walk home alone?' He said yes but when I went to cross the road he started chasing [me]."
Two shopkeepers had to intervene at this point, she said, and restrain the man so he couldn't run after her.
"It's not the worst thing he's done," she added. "He has physically assaulted me."
Sweet_Anita, who has just turned 30, first spoke publicly about the stalker on Twitter back in November.
"The stalker was caught and detained last night, he had a knife on him," she said. "After taking my screenshots, recordings, a witness statement of the assault from me and a friend, AND having his confession to harassing me, he's been released with a caution."
She said she was pretty despondent with the lack of help she was receiving from law enforcement.
"I'm very used to the lack of protection from the police at this point," she said. "I guess I'll have to get used to seeing him around too."
—Sweet Anita (@Tweet4nita) November 8, 2019
In April, Sweet_Anita said she had issued a restraining order against the man. She said he'd been arrested, convicted of stalking, and banned from entering her town.
"There is a restraining order, and suspended sentence of 2 months in prison," she said. "I really hope that he honors this and I will finally be safe!"
'If anything happens to me, I really hope that I'm the last canary in the coal mine'
However, this month she revealed the restraining order had not worked, as she said the man did not honor it.
—Sweet Anita (@Tweet4nita) July 14, 2020
"If anything happens to me, I really hope that I'm the last canary in the coal mine," she said. "The law needs to change, No job should have such a high risk of rape, assault or death, especially not live streaming."
She also shared screenshots of some of the things she says the stalker has been saying to her over her streams.
"I'll kill you soon," one message reads. "Not with the cheap kitchen knife I had last time. No, I'm gonna bring something special for you."
—Sweet Anita (@Tweet4nita) July 14, 2020
In another message, she says he threatened her mother's life, too. Sweet_Anita said she felt nothing can be done in her recent tweets, as the police seem ill-equipped to deal with internet harassment.
She told Insider she has provided evidence of the messages, but the police "did nothing with it."
"Since my tweets about the threats went viral, they mysteriously picked up the case again," she said. "But have been telling me that it's not likely, or they are uncertain that it will amount to any further action."
She said it's frustrating and feels like a waste of her time, because the stalker is still harassing her to this day.
"The police don't even turn up when I call anymore," she said. "I have only called them about four or five times in the past nine months — which is far fewer times than he has actually threatened me — because I've learned that they won't do anything to help."
She said one time the stalker told her he would be at her house in 15 minutes to murder her, and the police didn't even show up.
"So I had to stream knowing that he could be back at any minute, and nobody would do anything to help me," she said.
Online harassment is rarely taken as seriously as it should be
It is unknown where in the UK Sweet_Anita lives, or what police department she has spoken to. But she said this is a problem that has affected countless women who have careers online.
"I feel like they just don't care," she said of the police. "They didn't even know what doxxing was or that it was a crime when I spoke to each officer that came to take a statement, nor did they even know what Twitch or livestreaming was. It feels as though they don't even understand what is happening let alone what to do about it."
In 2018, Vice reported that 55 women were killed between 2015 and 2017 by men they had previously gone to the police about. The number of women killed in the UK rose 10% in 2019 from the previous year.
"Frankly I haven't found a single streamer who's escaped this kind of harassment," Sweet_Anita said. "It's insane, from revenge porn, constant doxxing, threatening people's children, to even trying to abduct their children from school. It's horrific."
One woman Sweet_Anita spoke to was threatened and blackmailed with her explicit pictures for years.
"They had her sit with a male police officer where she had to show him the images this stalker was sharing," Sweet_Anita said. "She felt humiliated and the guy got a £100 fine and a restraining order. He continues to harass her to this day, 9 years after he started."
Nathan Grayson reported in Kotaku in 2019 that many streamers have had to deal with online stalkers, but the platform doesn't know how to take action.
Twitch confirmed to Insider it is aware of Sweet_Anita's case and has worked with her and the police since she reported it. They said appropriate measures are taken when any incident of harassment occurs, which ranges from permanent bans to escalation to law enforcement, but they are unable to do anything about off-platform behavior.
Meanwhile, Sweet_Anita said she feels she has to wait until her stalker kills her for her concerns to be taken seriously.
"My safety is in my own hands," she said. "He has threatened to kill my mum and my animals before me, and every day I wake up wondering if it's my last."
Read the original article on Insider