“Our next guest is taking on her local police department in her series of articles talking about how they have ignored the death threats she’s been receiving. Please welcome Lilah Weber.”
Lilah took her cue and walked onto the stage, waving to the audience as she tried not to squint against the bright lights. She took her seat next to the host and they both waited for the applause to die down.
“Sounds like you have quite the fan base,” said Julie, the show’s host, as the clapping finally receded.
“Yes, well, I’m certainly not the only woman who has experienced something like this, so for the women this story resonates with, they’re just grateful someone is finally talking about it.”
“Let’s start with your story. What happened that inspired you to become the spokesperson for all these women?”
“I had written an article about how much rape is used in television today and how the way it gets used can be so damaging because it’s usually talked about from the male perspective. Even if the story isn’t from the male perspective, it’s usually men writing about it, and they obviously don’t approach it the same way women do, so of course that’s problematic. I received a lot of comments about it that were … sexist doesn’t even cover it. They were that, but a lot of them were also very threatening and included graphic descriptions of what these men wanted to do to me or thought someone should do to me.”
“But this wasn’t the first time you had gotten comments like these,” Julie prompted. She and Lilah had gone over the story once already, so she knew the answer, but asked the question for the sake of the audience.
“No, and honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to most of them. But then someone posted a picture of my front door with a gun’s crosshairs over it and they listed my full address.”
Lilah paused while the audience reacted.
“And that’s when you went to the police,” Julie said after a beat.
“Yeah, that one really scared me, but when the cop I talked to realized it was a comment someone had posted online, he literally crumpled up the paper on which he was writing the report and threw it in the trash.”
They waited another beat while the audience reacted again.
“And what was your boss’ reaction to all this?”
“He was incredibly supportive. As soon as I saw that picture I told him to disable the comments section on that article and he did it right away. Then when I told him I wanted to write this series, he never even hesitated to give me his full support.”
“But he has enabled comments on your new articles,” said Julie.
“Yes, and we talked about it beforehand to make sure that was really the best thing to do. I’ll admit I had my reservations, but because I knew I couldn’t be the only one dealing with this, I felt it was important to preserve an online space where we could talk about these struggles we were all experiencing.”
“And from what I understand some fairly prominent women have joined that community.”
“Yes, it’s an unfortunate fact that the police are more likely to take you seriously if you’re a celebrity, and they’re certainly targeted more than the rest of us, so it’s a good thing their threats are being taken seriously now. But a lot of them have stories of some of the threats they received just before they hit it big and they received the same treatment from the police that I did.”
“Which was to just blow it off, tell you you’re crazy,” said Julie.
“They never actually told me I was crazy, they just said they needed something more concrete to go on before they could act on it.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of. I’m worried that they don’t want to take any steps to protect me until after I’ve been attacked.”
To be continued…