Today, with all the press around the Twitter rape threat case, I wanted to give an update on my friend Melissa.
As you may or may not know, Melissa has been subject to five years of stalking. There have been several news articles about it. None of them really touch the depth or the horrors of the case. The Twitter rape case is terrible. Melissa’s is arguably much worse. (This is not a contest—it’s *excellent* that an arrest has been made in that case. I’m just pointing out that Melissa’s case is longer and more severe in its scope.)
Though the arrest warrant was issued over a week ago, no action has been taken yet in getting her stalker of five years into the New Zealand justice system. While it is acknowledged that her stalker does have mental health issues, Melissa has been subjected to five years of *non-stop* graphic rape and death threats. They have come not just to her, but to all of her family members and some of her friends. Her home and personal information have been dug up. She’s gotten contacted through every possible electronic means, through dozens of accounts. She’s been called on the phone. She has had to get security at events. The concerns in this case are profound, and real, and relentless.
It’s been reported that the stalker’s family are now trying to work with mental health professionals, and that is good. But something needs to be said. This has been a known issue for five years, and an FBI case for four. This is not new. She was arrested in 2011, but was released and carried on as before.
While I have great sympathy for the fact that the stalker has mental health issues—and that her family are now trying to deal with it—it has been five years. One day of this is a long time. Five years is unthinkable, and the toll it has taken on Melissa is immeasurable. And *her* mental health is also to be considered.
All the while, Melissa has carried on. She has never given up, or given her stalker control. She runs LeakyCon, and writes, and is her normal, lovable self. She’s a great friend and a great aunt. In the background, this happens to her, all the time.
And it has to stop.
So I hope—I hope every day—that New Zealand will soon take action to bring this issue to the best possible conclusion. And this must involve a lasting solution that keeps this predator away from her victim. I hope this for Melissa’s sake, and for all victims of stalking.