A girl bullied for being raped and the cowardice of cyber trolls

The streets of Clitheroe have played unhappy host to a nightmarish tale of our times.

In the Lancashire market town, a 13-year-old rape victim has been subjected to a horrifying hate campaign by online bullies.

After being attacked and going to the police, she was then branded ‘a lying little skank’ and worse on internet sites.

Nightmarish: The Lancashire market town of Clitheroe, where a 13-year-old girl was subjected to a horrendous rape ordeal, then attacked online

Nightmarish: The Lancashire market town of Clitheroe, where a 13-year-old girl was subjected to a horrendous rape ordeal, then attacked online

She was told her home would be burnt down unless she withdrew her evidence. The sustained threats of violence meant that she had to be accompanied everywhere by her mother, even going to and from school.

Her rapist was jailed this week, so at least some justice has been served, which might bring a little comfort.

Yet isn’t it appalling that her physical ordeal was followed by a form of mental terrorism lasting months, with the police all but powerless to stop it, even though what happened amounted to nothing less than intimidation of both witnesses and victim before a court case

The schoolgirl’s torment began in January 2011, when she was raped in an alleyway near Clitheroe Football Club. She was found by a dog walker naked from the waist down and covered in mud.

The online abuse

Her parents, who had been trying to locate her, had called the girl on her mobile and heard some of the attack, including their daughter screaming: ‘Stop it’. They, too, were quickly on the scene.

Although the rapist escaped, he was quickly identified as a local 15-year-old boy who was on bail for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl the previous summer. He initially claimed the sex was consensual — which is when the online campaign started — although he eventually did plead guilty. This week, he was jailed for 31 months.

Yes, a horrifyingly short sentence, despite the clear evidence that he is a sexual predator and a danger to young women. Yet his age prevents him from being locked up for longer, just as it prevents him from being named and shamed in public. Just like those online bullies who posted the illiterate bile, hate and threats on his behalf, anonymity is his reward. How ironic.

For although the internet is a wonderful thing, it certainly has its dark side. Fuelled by the liberating anonymity that is the privilege of every disgruntled loser with a laptop, cyber abuse is getting worse.

The concealment and facelessness that social networking and other sites provide give an outlet to a new kind of casual barbarism.

The internet is empowering — but it also disinhibits those with deep-seated grudges and malignant inclinations.

The internet is empowering — but it also disinhibits those with deep-seated grudges and malignant inclinations.

It not only gives the bitter haters a feeling of self-worth, it also provides the power and the ability to create havoc.

Teenagers have killed themselves over
mindless, sustained and malicious campaigns; bullied to death by
anonymous cowards who would once have contented themselves with being
the playground bully. Now they are given an outlet to state what they
would never have the courage to say in public.

computer can be a powerful new weapon with which to wound, not to
mention provide an engorged feeling of self-worth. Today, everyone has
the means to say something, even if they have nothing good to say.

BBC’s Panorama this week, pop star Cher Lloyd revealed how online
bullies have caused her sleepless nights and made her life a misery.

Online commemoration pages on
Facebook for the deceased are frequently hijacked by trolls leaving
unimaginably cruel, mocking messages, which are read with horror by the
recently bereaved seeking a crumb of comfort from the condolences of
friends and relatives.

yes, I’ve had my own experience with online bullies, after a column of
mine was wrongly interpreted as being homophobic by a vocal minority.

This triggered a cyber blunderbuss of
death threats and picaresque abuse that became almost comic in its
intensity. I have never complained about this and do not do so now,
feeling only that I cannot write about online bullying without briefly
mentioning my own experience. My home address was wilfully repeatedly
posted on Twitter, a passive incitement to violence which the police did
not take lightly.

same week, I was stopped on my street by four men who wanted to know
which house was mine. All I can say is that if they were vigilantes,
they weren’t very observant ones.

Jerry Hall displays a creation by Swiss designer Jean-Luc Amsler for his Spring-Summer 2012 Haute Couture collection show in Paris, France

█ Fashion folk live in a different stratosphere to us moored down here in the Real World.

In Harper’s Bazaar this month, Jerry Hall, right, wrote an article in which she described her 20-year-old model daughter Georgia as ‘sexy’.

A rather distasteful thing for a mother to say, perhaps — but not on Planet Fashion.

Of course, I do not compare my experiences with the terrible plights of vulnerable youngsters who are less able to cope with the aggression.

Social networks are wonderful for democracy, but for every poster with something valid to say, there are dozens who just want to hurl abuse at everyone from newspaper commentators to bereaved parents to raped teenagers.

They are like chimps screeching in the dark of a rainforest night, just to remind themselves they exist. The mindless cyber heckle is now commonplace.

Many newspaper, blogs and magazine online comment pages are routinely peppered with pointless, negative personal abuse aimed at the authors — particularly if those authors happen to be women.

Elsewhere, the comments regularly added to videos posted on YouTube are a particular cesspit of mindless viciousness. Don’t even go there.

Hasn’t the time come for all this vicious nonsense to be stopped For the laws and policing to catch up with technology at last

Of course, not everyone online is anonymous — but I don’t see why those who maliciously wound innocent people should be given the continued freedom to do so.

Bully a teenage rape victim Isn’t it a disgrace.

Clip this Eagle's wings

The Eagle Dad Someone should cage him.

I just can’t bear those photographs of tiny Ho Yide, the four-year-old who was forced to shiver in the New York snow in his yellow underpants, in a bid to be toughened up by his father.

Building character: But Jan Moir can't bear those photographs of tiny Ho Yide standing in the New York snow in his Y-fronts

Building character: But Jan Moir can't bear those photographs of tiny Ho Yide standing in the New York snow in his Y-fronts

He Liesheng forced his little boy to do press-ups in the cold while videoing him. All in a bid to ‘challenge his limitations’.

The little boy cries for his mother and begs for a hug to keep him warm.

The footage of his icy ordeal was uploaded on to YouTube by his father, who believes this is good parenting. It’s enough to make you weep.


Beyonce at the after party following Jay-Z's concert at Carnegie Hall

Beyonce, above, and Jay Z are to trademark Blue Ivy — the name they have given to their newborn daughter.

Why Because the couple want to stop companies attempting to cash in on their little babyonce.

late, my pop chums. Blue Ivy is already everywhere. There are — to
mention a few — a Blue Ivy flower shop in Chattanooga and a software
company in Scotland using the name.

I don’t understand is if the couple were so worried about licensing and
trademark problems, why didn’t they just call their baby Jenny or Mary

Fear of the mundane perhaps Even if Beyonce and Jay Z are in no danger of being mistaken for the ordinary.

To be fair, Blue Ivy does sound like something stamped on a tin of cheap talc — and now they must suffer the consequences.


Gentlemen, are you worried about greying hair

Why not take a tip from footballing titans Harry Redknapp and Fabio Capello

These guys may be on the wrong side of 50, but they haven’t let the ageing process interfere with their gorgeous bouffants.

Tottenham Hotspur football club manager Harry Redknapp

Former England football manager Fabio Capello

A game of two halves: Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, left, with his toffee locks; right, Fabio Capello, former England boss, with his tiramisu-tinged curls

█ Credit where it is due. I absolutely loved Madonna’s sizzling performance at the Super Bowl this week.

Madonna preforms at the 2011 Super Bowl Halftime show

Stomping about in boots and a mini, she produced 12 blistering minutes of polished pop.

There were other celebs on the stage, but only one real star.

Look at them, as glossy as DayGlo labradors bathed in vats of shampoo-in colour foam Xtreme. Or something similar.

Of course, no one can know for sure if it is a do or dye situation with the boys, but I have my suspicions.

While the secret of their mop-top virility remains between them and Father Nature, who do you reckon has the best barnet

It’s a game of two halves, Brian.

Some might plump for Harry’s curious toffee locks; a shade known in the hairdressing trade as Red Squirrel Redknapp.

Others might prefer Fabio’s tight cap of tiramisu-tinged curls.

I think Harry has it, by a hair.

Paxo sees off big, bad wolf
Magnifico: Paxman holds an implant

Magnifico: Paxman holds an implant

Newsnight has clearly been stung by reports that BBC news programmes under-represent women — but talk about over-reaction! Viewers tuning into Tuesday’s edition on BBC2 could be forgiven for thinking Jeremy Paxman had morphed into Jeremy Kyle.

In the studio were 13 victims of the PIP breast implant scandal, plus a health minister called Anne Milton, model Katie Price and U.S. feminist author Naomi Wolf.

Paxo was magnifico and didn’t pull any of his tsk-gah-pesky-women faces once, not even when the going got rocky. Why, he asked Price, did she have implants in the first place

‘Because I wanted bigger boobs,’ she told him, not unreasonably. However, she did concede that getting implants at the age of 18 was probably ‘too young’.

Alastair Campbell

█ Alastair Campbell, right, is to play himself in a new series of Jimmy McGovern’s TV drama, Accused.

Presumably that’s because Zippy is already booked and Peter Capaldi doesn’t want to be typecast.

Elsewhere, Gerard Depardieu is to play Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a new film about the rise and fall — no jokes please — of the priapic former boss of the International Monetary Fund. Perfect casting!

The only thing to top it would be if Punch — of le Punch et Judy fame — played Sarkozy, and Rosie from TV’s Corrie was Carla Bruni.

It was all down to Wolf to cause fireworks and typically, she did not disappoint. The author of famed fem tome The Beauty Myth wasted no time in suggesting that the health minister was ill-informed — chiefly because she hadn’t read her book.

She also seemed to suggest that Milton was a liar who was unfit for office.

Oh dear. The queen bee of the third wave of feminism remains unshakeable in her belief that everything she does is of cosmic importance. Yet attempting to lynch a health minister was a cheap shot.

Anne Milton is trying to sort out this difficult situation. She did not deserve the attack. (The PIP manufacturer has now been arrested, and it was some years ago that a government department passed these implants as safe.)

The responsibility of the women who made their own choices and had the implants installed cannot be overlooked, either, though in the heat of the television studio, few seemed to accept their own accountability in this mess.

Yet, ultimately, these women have been wronged and I believe that they must be helped by the NHS — particularly as so many of the private clinics they initially attended have ironically gone bust.

Fat chicks don't wear Chanel

OK. Adele is a little large — but so what She is a gorgeous, big velvety rose of a girl; beautiful in spirit, in person and in voice.

Why does everyone get so hysterical over what freakish geriatric Karl Lagerfeld says

As if Adele herself would be bothered.

Gorgeous, big velvety rose of a girl: Adele

Gorgeous, big velvety rose of a girl: Adele

Best of all were those semi-hysterical responses from fatist support groups such as Fat Chicks Unite — or whatever they call themselves —who are going to boycott Chanel.

Listen, honeys, as a fat chick myself, I want to tell you something. Chanel doesn’t make stuff in our sizes anyway. And their pumps are over-priced!

Karl won’t be crying into his earth coffin if we ten-tonners don’t shop there.