AN SNP MP who had to be moved to a police safe house after receiving a death threat has spoken out about online abuse of women in public life.
Carol Monaghan, the MP for Glasgow North West, says social media firms should be taking more action to stop the kind of misogynistic abuse aimed at women in politics and other high-profile sectors.
Earlier this month Jonathan Bell admitted harassing Monaghan between January and April 2019, and could now face jail.
The 35-year-old contacted Crimestoppers to say the MP’s life “was in danger”, smeared tomato sauce on the door and window of her constituency office and tweeted her asking: “Why are people saying your life is in danger, Carol?”
He then left a concerning voicemail message on the MP’s office phone.
Monaghan told the BBC of how she was terrified for her family as she realised the man knew where she lived.
“That evening when we came back from the police station to the house, the police wouldn’t let us into the house until the whole area had been searched,” she said.
“They spent the night outside the house of very early the next morning we left and went to a safe place.”
The MP blames a lot of the experience on social media, which “gives people a platform, it gives them a way of directly contacting a person – at any time of the day or night”.
“It gives them the opportunity to say things anonymously. It gives them a whole lot of protection that the target of their abuse does not have.”
Monaghan called for a way of identifying users and taking action against them for offensive tweets.
Monaghan says she had been told to “grow a thick skin” over online abuse, but says this behaviour wouldn’t be accepted in a workplace.
“We are just supposed to take it and somehow we are to blame if we don’t,” she said.
A spokesperson for Twitter said: “Abuse and harassment have no place on our service. We have clear rules in place that apply to everyone, everywhere, that address threats of violence,abuse and harassment and hateful conduct, and we take action when we identify accounts that violate these rules.”