Sassy British singer Lily Allen is speaking up on behalf of women who find themselves helpless when being pursued by a stalker. After her agonizing experience with an infatuated and threatening fan, Allen is now saying that the police did little to assist her.
Despite repeatedly reporting incidents about a mentally ill antagonizer named Alex Gray, Allen found herself unable to get rid of him. What started with letters and bizarre social media contact eventually escalated into an attack and robbery; the threats from said stalker reached terrifying heights when Allen found Gray had sneaked into her house while she was asleep. He then attacked her:
“I had had all sorts of metal shutters and locks on the doors, but I’d been cooking and burned a pan and opened the back door. I closed it but forgot to lock it when I went to bed ... I sat up and looked and the doorhandle was twisting round. This guy came steaming in and I didn’t know who he was. I recoiled and he ripped the duvet off, calling me a ‘fucking bitch’ and yelling about where his dad is.”
After alerting the police once again, Allen was told that "the intruder was probably someone who had stumbled into the wrong flat after too much to drink." It was discovered only later that her purse was stolen would law enforcement take her case seriously.
Hear her full story on BBC:
Gray has since been convicted of burglary but currently awaits sentencing.
Unfortunately, this kind of story is not uncommon. The Guardian notes that only 1% of stalking cases and 16% of harassment cases end in prosecution. Speaking on this subject, Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party, said, "With a justice system that is obsessed with property rights, there’s little space for keeping women safe ... Understanding, reporting and responding to crimes as individual incidents means stalking often goes undetected, because it is not the individual episodes that are necessarily extraordinary, but the pattern.”
Allen is now using her horrifying experience to speak out on behalf of women who are disproportiantely victimized by these kinds of crimes: "“I’m a famous person and had the inclination to push things,” she says. “If they treat me like this, how the hell are they going to treat someone else without those resources, without clout?”
“I’m not angry at Alex Gray," she continued. "He has a mental illness. The system has failed him. But until he gets the right treatment and the right help he needs, then I’m not safe. You can throw the book at him, put him in jail, but he’ll still be coming out. And the victim is never safe."