Councillor feared she would be raped after online abuse

A female Sheffield councillor feared she would be raped after an anonymous man abused her online then broke into her property.

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 8:33 am
Updated Thursday, 8th March 2018, 10:25 am
Jayne Dunn

Coun Jayne Dunn was terrified after being targeted by different men, both online and in person. She was so frightened, she even gave up running for fear of being attacked.

Sheffield Council removed her home address from public records to protect her - but Bianca Jagger, ex-wife of Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, published Coun Dunn’s address on twitter sparking even more abuse.

“I live alone and it was hideous, I was frightened,” said Coun Dunn, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods. “The messages and pictures scared me.”

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One anonymous male sent her sexual tweets and photos before smashing through her garden gate and leaving cigarettes and beer on her patio table. Police installed a panic alarm at her home and her parents begged her to get CCTV inside.

Another man would wait by her car and council officers became so concerned, they insisted on walking Coun Dunn back to her car after meetings.

Speaking exclusively to The Star, Coun Dunn said: “Someone was upset about not having a grit bin, of all things, and I came into the Town Hall one day and a fellow councillor asked if I had seen twitter and that I should speak to our legal department.

“When I looked there was an anonymous account and a picture of a man’s lips - it said I’m coming to get you and that I was ‘tasty’. It was very sexual and he said he knew what I looked like.

“I honestly thought he wanted to rape me. I reported it to police and they came around and checked my home and installed a panic alarm. It was around the same time that Council Leader Julie Dore was taken to a safe house but I don’t think it was the same person, we don’t think there was a connection.

“I had six weeks of the panic alarm then a few weeks later my parents made me get a large gate with a lock. It was really high but I got home one day and someone had smashed through it and left cigarettes and beer on the garden table.

“I am entitled to live in my home and feel safe. It’s not acceptable to feel threatened in my home.”

On another occasion, a man would stand by her car after public meetings.

“This man was known to the council and had mental health problems. He was quite obsessive with me. Because I live alone I thought anything could happen and no one would know until they realised I was missing.”

Coun Dunn’s portfolio includes refugees and someone tweeted her address and said people should go and find her to see how she would like it.

She runs a salon and has had snide comments about being a beauty therapist and also fears for her staff and customers.

“I’ve had negative comments about my appearance and derogatory comments about what an earth do I know, I’m just a beautician.”

During this time, Labour MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered in the street. And while security was heightened for MPs, Coun Dunn feels nothing changed for local councillors.

“I felt quite angry that everyone was protecting MPs, quite rightly, but I was getting the same amount of abuse and nothing was done to help councillors. I didn’t have any security, or even any buffers.

“This won’t stop me from doing my job but there is no need for members of the public to know our home addresses. These people are keyboard warriors but as a woman, I feel I get more abuse than a man would.”

Coun Dunn’s revelations come in the same week that the Government is being urged to treat misogyny as a specific hate crime to protect women from sexist abuse and harassment.

An all-party group of MPs have called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to strengthen the law and crack down on sexual advances motivated by gender.