At first, the reaction was muted. Stalling from Twitter. Stalling from the police. And, perhaps most worryingly, a stream of patronising comments from onlookers. ‘Just ignore it.’ ‘If you can’t take the heat, get off Twitter!’ ‘What did you expect?’ ‘You stirred the pot.’ ‘You poked the trolls.’
As hours turned into days and the story began to dominate the headlines, some commenters became increasingly irritated. ‘Aren’t you overreacting a bit?’ ‘Talk about drama queen!’ ‘She just wants attention.’ ‘This isn’t really news.’ ‘This isn’t worth police time.’ ‘This isn’t worth my time.’ And the dreaded Cameron-esque ‘Calm down, dear.’
Much has been written – quite rightly – about the vile individuals who choose to target women like Caroline Criado-Perez in such a cowardly, even criminal fashion, but perhaps we should also consider the fact that it has taken almost a week of relentless abuse directed at high-profile figures and subsequent national media attention to persuade many observers that this merits real action.