Labour MP Jess Phillips receives '600 rape threats in one night'

'They're saying that they don’t want to rape me as if raping is something they would do to someone they liked,' Phillips says

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The Independent Online

Labour MP Jess Phillips has said she was subjected to more than 600 rape threats in one night.

The MP for Yardley in Birmingham said she received around 5,000 Twitter notifications of people discussing whether or not they would sexually assault her.

Ms Philips, who helped launch the ‘Reclaim the Internet campaign’ against misogynist bullying online, said the “ringleaders” of those who have abused her should face civil or criminal action.

The politician has become a target for trolls since exposing tweets from individuals “threatening to rape” her last year. Earlier this year, Phillips also revealed she was sexually assaulted as a 19-year-old.

“The dog piling attack I have suffered highlights the importance of doing something to change how people act online," Ms Phillips told The Independent. "I have been subject to thousands of tweets with varying viciousness and aggression."

"The content is horrible and reflects very poor intelligence and discourse I'd expect from a child," she continued. "But the volume is specifically designed to silence me and people who speak to me. Something must be done to stop this targeted harassment.”

Speaking about the events of last night on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show, Philips explained her local police force were already aware she had been subject to online abuse. 

“I don’t need to contact the police anymore because my local police officers watch what happens on Twitter and they get in touch with me,” she said. “The vast majority of people who are doing this are in America so there is very little West Midlands police can do about it.”

Shocked by the behaviour of her online abusers, Phillips added, “Their level of discourse is that they're saying that they don’t want to rape me as if raping is something they would do to someone they liked”.

Phillips said she would be contacting Twitter about some of the “ringleaders of this dog piling”. 

Representatives for the Labour Party and Twitter did not immediately respond to request for comment.