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I Dated A Man For 7 Years, But Never Realised That He Was A Stalker

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When people talk of stalking, they always imagine a random stranger or acquaintance who suddenly becomes obsessed a la SRK in “Darr” and starts doing OTT (over the top) crazy things to ‘make you theirs’. But in reality, stalking is much more dangerous and subtle than that.

I was in a relationship with this guy for seven years. At first, everything seemed alright. He seemed a tad bit ‘possessive’, but that was a given I guessed, thanks to growing up on desi Bollywood masala blockbusters. This kind of behaviour seems normal for a 90s kid until they grow up and realise it isn’t. I was 18 when I met him and brushed off his behaviour as him just being possessive.

He knew all my passwords, and he would randomly check my phone when I was in the bathroom, which I would find out only later. He knew where I was all the time even when I hadn’t told him. He would know my every move, and for some stupid reason, it didn’t seem that creepy to me. I met him on the internet and even before we met, he seemed to know it all – how I looked, where I studied. Me being the dumb woman I sometimes can be, never took it seriously even after he told me this when we met.

It never felt like ‘stalking’ because when you think of stalking, you think of something far more serious and creepy, even if this is creepy enough already. He never did anything with the information he had; he just let me know about it randomly. Later, we met, we dated, and it was in the second year of our relationship that I realised that by enabling his stalking, I had also enabled and allowed him to abuse me emotionally all the freaking time.

His behaviour grew more aggressive as time passed. He would get drunk and make me feel like shit. He would pass random comments, and when I questioned him, he would feel hurt because I had ‘misunderstood his intentions’. I slowly began losing friends because ever since childhood, I’ve always had more guy friends than girls. He would pretend to be okay, but make snide comments about it. Soon, it progressed to him getting drunk and cussing them out by secretly taking their numbers from my phone. Imagine my confused state when I couldn’t understand why my friends weren’t talking to me all of a sudden. Thank god he never knew I was bisexual, lord knows how he would’ve reacted to that.

I still put up with it because by then, I was so far in that I didn’t know how to get out. That’s how emotional abuse works; they make you believe you are nothing without them. But finally, one day it was just enough for me. I wanted more from life. I wanted something different, and I knew I deserved to be treated better. On top of all this, he had even begun taking money from the few friends I had left and had never paid them back. They only told me about this after I left him.

I finally found the strength to text him that I never wanted to see his face again and that it was done. He knew I wasn’t kidding. First, he tried to placate me, and then he verbally abused me. When I had no shits to give, he began cursing my family and friends. But it was when he went as far as even to threaten their lives that I had had enough. I went and complained to the police and had an FIR filed against him. Getting calls from the police set him right for a while, even though he tried to pull his craziness later on.

The creepiest thing about this whole situation was that my best friend’s ex-girlfriend had never met him. I had moved on and found a new relationship, a happy one. But he had got in touch with her and milked her for information about my new boyfriend and me for two whole months without her or us realising what was happening. When we found out, it was the breaking point, probably for him too. That was the last stunt he tried pulling off, and it was two years ago.

Today, I have graduated, completed my education and have a kickass job as a reporter at a leading newspaper. I am also happily married to that great guy I was dating. It took me a long while even after breaking it off with him and filing an FIR to feel safe, especially when it came to the safety of my friends and family. I would have random anxiety attacks thinking of when, where and how he might harm them.

Two years have passed, and he has not gotten in touch with anyone I know. I know he’s going to surface again someday, but this time, I’m not scared.


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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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