Grace Tame has reported “open threats and harassment” on social media that she alleges came from the teacher who sexually abused her when she was 15 years old.
The former Australian of the year shared screenshots on Twitter that were purportedly from the account of Nicolaas Bester, who repeatedly abused Tame in 2010 when she was a student at St Michael’s collegiate school in Hobart. Bester, then 58, was her maths teacher.
He was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to two years and 10 months in jail for abusing Tame and possessing child exploitation material. He was released after one year and nine months.
Tame fought for the right to speak about her abuse, challenging a Tasmanian law that forbade sexual assault victims from being named or speaking publicly. She won a supreme court exemption from that law in 2019 and was the catalyst for the #LetHerSpeak campaign, which led to her being named Australian of the year in 2021.
On Monday she shared screenshots from an account purportedly run by Bester, which appeared to refer to her by her childhood email address.
One screenshot, from 27 April, references Elon Musk buying the social media website and says: “at last I shall come for [Tame’s childhood email] … in good time.”
The latest tweet, dated Sunday, says: “Only 4 weeks to go!! The good old come-uppance on its way [Tame’s old email].”
Tame said she had reported the tweets, which she described as “open threats and harassment from the man who abused me”, to police, “but our reactive justice system is too slow, and nothing’s changed”.
“Here he is, the twice-convicted child sex offender, referring to my childhood email, which very few people know, in place of my name,” she said on Twitter. “It was the login to my old Facebook he and I communicated on.”
Tame said the countdown of 10 weeks to go, then four weeks to go, lined up with the release of her memoir on 27 September.
She alleged that the tweets constituted a federal offence and contravened Twitter’s policies.
“This is targeted harassment of a known victim of his past crimes, designed to cause further harm.”
The Twitter account was suspended last night. “We have permanently suspended the account in question for violating the Twitter Rules and our policies,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Guardian Australia has contacted Tasmania police for comment.