America, college, January Blogathon, life lessons, madras, my crazy days

Day 7 – Stalkers

I had my orientation yesterday. Three hours of talking and getting to know others and another hour of a lecture on campus safety. I couldn’t help but subconsciously make comparisons to my orientation in undergrad which consisted of various heads talking about how great a college we were in, the number of laurels the college has won and why we were lucky to study there.I do not recollect a single word being spoken on how we should protect ourselves and be safe within the campus. This month is Stalker Awareness month at SCU and they gave out leaflets defining harassment and stalkers. They gave help line numbers and introduced us to the student safety organizations.

The flyer defined a stalker as someone who repeatedly approaches you even though you have denied their advances. And instantly my mind flashed to my first year of college where guys would keep calling/texting girls and intimidate them in the name of ‘ragging’. While ragging might actually be a good thing if done in good spirit, the other kind almost bordered harassment. The weird thing about this is I never realized that it was harassment until today.

Creeps would get the phone number of girls and send them anonymous text messages, blank calls, anonymous calls, etc in the hope of either starting a relationship or if that doesn’t work out, a friendship. This has happened to me and to every other friend of mine. We would brush of this kind of menace and not take it too seriously. I have an inbuilt ignoring system where once I feel uncomfortable with someone I just ignore them. This did work for me a few times but there were instances when ignoring them would send a ‘playing hard to get’ vibe.

Why did it take me so long to realize that this was harassment? And why did me and my friends never do anything about it? I thought ok, that was a phase, everyone is weird in college and they’d be done with it but no. This vacation when I was in Madras I met one of my girls who works in a top IT company. She was talking about the same kind of guys. There was a guy who would look up the bus time table and make sure he comes with her everyday even though she kept her distance, he would message her on the company’s messaging system and she would be cryptic. Then, he started calling her and texting her repeatedly although she never picked up or replied to his messages.

I’m really baffled as to why we (me included) take this kind of harassment lightly. In college I knew some girls who were flattered by this kind of attention! Guys really need to learn that there is a fine line between showing interest and harassment.

Colleges should also start some sort of student safety organisation. I always felt that my college/university made things difficult instead of easy for us. Maybe they’d change once the stop treating us like children.

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6 thoughts on “Day 7 – Stalkers

  1. Point on Zarine! Kudos for writing this post :)

    I was reading through the post and just nodding my head the whole time. It is very true. Colleges back home do not focus on the kind of harassment that is done in the name of ragging or friendly interaction. The only thing we are told is ‘ignore them..it ll stop in a while.’

    I remember this one guy who was behind my back all the time back in college. He would take away my ID card and force me to meet him for coffee if I want it back, send flowers to my room and do really annoying things. I took it silently the first year and then it struck me that I am being cornered and forced to like someone I do not like. It was only then I learnt that it is okay to stand up for yourself and treat the matter with seriousness.

    Btw, you have started on a new course? :)

  2. Totally agree. And so many guys delude themselves thinking they’re just showing interest and girls would be flattered. I’ve done a post one a guy who has been stalking me for a year! One more incident and I’m going to file a report!

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