Those who ask me why I moved to Pakistan after living my whole life abroad, are greeted with: “Oh, the higher education was awful back there,” followed by a nonchalant shrug.
I had to move because I was being stalked. For years. I couldn’t tell anyone because I was afraid I’d be blamed for it in some way. The fact that the incident took place in Saudi Arabia, made it harder for me to resort to any help due to extremism, sexism and misogyny. I was in the 8th grade when I started getting strangely popular in school, especially in the boys’ section which was segregated from the girls’.
And there was this one guy who took his obsession to another level. While I dealt with his cyber-stalking by blocking him, he had the nerve to spread rumors about me being his girlfriend, and having sex with him. It spread throughout the girls’ section as well. It wasn’t until a friend of mine told me, did it dawn on the 13-year-old me how dire the situation was. It was horrifying, as then, I finally understood what sex was.
I’d never talked to a guy in my life. After having to take matters into my own hands, and sneaking into the boys’ section to humiliate him, in front of the school by beating him up (running away quickly so that I wasn’t identifiable) and alerting the admin later with proof, I was faced with an even bigger issue. With the rumors stopping, came the actual stalking from a friend of his who wanted revenge for his humiliation.
It was scary. He wasn’t even from the school I went to. I blocked him on social media so that he couldn’t contact me further. But then he started to come to my school and stand by the exit gate, and watch me as I got into my car. He would then drive after me all the way home and watch me disappear into my building to get to my apartment.
This went on for the rest of 8th grade followed by more than a few physical assaults outside my school, until I was too afraid to even step out for anything.
I couldn’t even talk to the guy who spread the rumours to ask him to stop. So I changed my school for 9th grade, but never really went.
The school wasn’t all that great and I was never taught anything, so I schooled myself at home and rarely went there except for a few times. I went only if I got lonely and wanted to hang out with my friends in class, because the teachers were hardly around.
The guy still stalked me from morning to afternoon, but I only ever saw him around my building and never at school if I ever went.
My mental and physical health deteriorated from all the stress — I had no good teachers to prepare me for my O level exams – and the pressure to do well was high in ways I do not wish to reveal, but there was a lot of emotional blackmail involved.
Skipping two years forward, my AS level exams were a few months away when the teacher finally announced that they’d prepare us for the lab exams. I had to go, but I should’ve listened to my mother when she felt something was off, and needed me to stay home. I went against her will.
When I got to the school and was crossing the street to get to the building, a car sped around the corner and hit me, sending me slipping and flying back a little. I managed to get up, but was horrified to have recognised the guy behind the wheel. My dad was there to see everything happen and he immediately took me home where I had to stay in bed with healing scratches, wounds and a few bruises.
Two months later, we were on a flight to Pakistan, where my dad said I could repeat my AS studies and give the exams next year. We were moving away permanently. I think he found out what was happening, somehow. I still don’t know the guy’s name.
He could still be stalking me on social media. I was always freaked out whenever I went back to Saudi. He must’ve found out that I moved away. I don’t want him coming all the way to where I am now, by tracking me down in any way. I keep well away from guys and girls who don’t personally know me.
I’m almost 19 now. It’s been two and a half years since I moved, and I’ve been okay, and I hope it stays this way. It’s nice to not live in constant fear of being watched, and not being assaulted every now and then.
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