Stalked, terrified by 'confidant'

Stalked, terrified by 'confidant'

It all started innocuously enough late last year. An older man whom Ms S. Selvi had known half her life began lifting photographs of her from her Facebook page and posting them on his profile.

The 34-year-old single woman, whose father died when she was a teenager, says she had considered the man a father-figure, confidant and friend. But she was shocked when he began sending messages to her male colleagues saying: "She is mine. Stay away from her."

Then, late one night in March, when she was alone at home, he appeared at her door. "I was terrified. I saw it was him and realised he must have been watching my home to know no one was in," said Ms Selvi.

Soon, the stalking worsened. He would turn up outside her office and her home.

Then there were dozens of What's App messages accusing her of having affairs with multiple men. A series of messages sent between 1am and 2am in August, after she had changed her address, included one which warned: "I know where u stay."

Ms Selvi claims her conservative family began dissociating themselves from her, thinking the harassment must be the result of an affair gone sour. But she denies that she had an affair with the man.

"My family believes there could not be smoke without fire, especially since we were friends before."

She has lodged complaints with the police and women's group Aware. The messages have subsided, but her terror is giving way to anger.

She hopes that harassment laws can protect victims like her. "Verbal and online abuse can be just as scary as physical abuse. You might never recover from the scars."

(The victim's name has been changed.)


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