How Many More Lives Need To Be Lost To Take Stronger Action Against Stalking?

All these murders could be averted if the stalkers were in jail. They will, of course, be jailed now as murderers. But what about the lives lost? What about setting an example to the current stalkers?

Trigger Warning: This deals with stalking and violence against women and may be triggering for survivors.

The recent news of a Chennai college student murdered by a stalker brought back my traumatic memories of being stalked. Women bond over collective trauma. Each case of violence against women reminds Indian women that they aren’t safe; just lucky.

There are two aspects to be spoken about here – stalking itself and police inaction.

Don’t make the mistake I did

I was, once, a naive girl who thought stalking isn’t a big deal. A guy following me for ten minutes was harmless, I believed. All my social media accounts were private anyway, and my display picture would mostly not me. His friends were his partners in being creepy and making me feel uncomfortable but I ignored it.

What shocked me was that he had a picture of mine, that I had kept as my display picture for just one day! Not only that, he had an idea of where I stayed, where I go to work and the like. It was a shocker to me that stalking isn’t for 5-10 minutes a day. He had to have ample time and a robust network to churn out this information.

The display picture, he may have gotten it from my profile. But the details about me? I have, unfortunately told them to a person who happens to be his acquaintance. I didn’t know I had to be wary of all our common friends and cut them off.

After this, I left all the groups they were a part of.

I tell all this to make women reading this aware that your stalker isn’t harmless. Don’t make the mistake I did – giving him leeway. Stalkers spend a lot of time on their target and won’t rest until they beget end-to-end information about her.

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As for me, I immediately blocked all out common contacts, even the ones with a remote connection. Because, we never know how far his network goes. I checked my whole contact list to make sure there is nobody who even knows him. Same for my social media accounts.

The responsibility of pop culture cannot be taken lightly

It only worsens if our stalker happens to be in a position of power economically or socially;  say, from a rich influential family or a professor’s son or a boss’s relative or the boss himself.

Blame our movies for repeatedly showing stalking as an act of persistent romance. What is disgusting is that the heroine ultimately falls for her creepy stalker aka the hero.

There is nothing heroic or even decent about stalking. You know what’s heroic? Respecting a girl’s or woman’s answer even if it is a NO after telling her what you feel for her.

Coming to the police inaction

It is evident now how the stalker-murderer has become a pattern. All these murders could be averted if the stalkers were in jail. They will, of course, be jailed now as murderers. But what about the lives lost? What about setting an example to the current stalkers?

There is a need for the police to issue a strong statement about stalking and also take action in stalking cases. It should be treated as a threat to a woman’s safety and outrage of her modesty.

If we are sent back from police stations empty-handed because “his career might be destroyed” there is absolutely no hope. If he really had an iota of worry about this “career”, he wouldn’t spend  an hour a day or more stalking a girl who rejected him.

Girls who are forced to withdraw complaints as it may stain the man’s career should remember – he deserves it.

Image source: a still from the movie Ranjhaana

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