How do you feel when you are being watched for years? How are you going to tackle when someone stares at you continuously for a longer period? What are you likely to do to intervene this case who follows you everywhere you go? Does it make you uncomfortable when someone is inspecting you and all of your activities? Do you get chills over your spine when someone scans you from head to toe in an everyday basis? Do these questions already create a chaos in your mind? Do you want to untangle yourself?
I’m sure the answer is YES, and a definite YES. We can imagine how nerve wrecking it is to deal when there is this person who follows you everywhere, scrutinize your every little action. This person observes how you talk, how you behave and react to the surroundings and moreover, all of your activities. He walks behind you, follows you to home, school, college or even work and you feel so bound and chained and tied up. You are tired, stressed, anxious and have this millions of questions in your head and You just want to know. You feel like turning around and ask WHY?
This visibility makes you increasingly uneasy, the gut feeling makes you quiver and feel that you are in danger; in danger because you never know this person might attack you anytime and anywhere. This fear is obvious because of the many uncertainties that lies ahead. The same happened with Ananya (name changed with consent) who experienced stalking everyday since her childhood. She was followed by this stranger to home, to her school and also while she went out with her friends. She was in her teens when she first experienced that she was being watched and stalked. She tells us that she thought it was normal for anyone to walk behind but she had her doubts when she found this person walking behind her everyday. Ananya shares that she first told her friends about this incident which lasted for more than a year. She still remembers how her friends asked her not to smile and talk to other people apart from them. In regards to what her friends suggested, this prowler was trying to initiate communication with Ananya. That was when she realized that it was very important for her to share all of these to her parents at home. Ananya’s parents started dropping and receiving her from school everyday so that he doesn’t harm her. But there came this day where he walked up to Ananya and asked if she would marry him.
Astonished and shocked, Ananya ran back to her home and briefed it to her parents. The parents intervened the guy and warned him about the consequences that could happen to him if serious actions were taken against him for his unruly behavior. He was constantly informed and summoned about the repercussions if he was caught doing any of these activities to anyone apart from Ananya as well. After a sometime, he started bringing change in his conduct and eventually, this person stopped stalking Ananya. Later when the family inspected for his actions, they found that he got married and flew to one of the gulf countries for bread-winning.
This story may sound pretty trifle to all of us but it isn’t. It comes with a baggage for life time; the baggage that stays with the victim and haunts for ever. The kind of stress, anxiety, mental pressure the victim carries along with them is for sure to bring the chaos in their life. The everyday functioning of the victim may not be smooth and the post traumatic stress lies within. These things may seem trivial to us but the baggage they carry with them lies forever and ever!!
The survivor is now working for one of the organizations that serves justice to the victims of rape and gender based violence. We encourage her to keep fighting. Bravo!!