Two years ago while going to my local gym as a regular member, i came across a man who had creeped me from the first encounter. He somehow managed to find me on facebook and see my information page which informed the place i worked in. Almost every afternoon or closing time, he would randomly pop by, and talk to me and try to flirt with me.
I was very uncomfortable and scared he would try and do something. I began ignoring him, but it was difficult since we both went to the same gym at the same time! I did group classes while he was busy doing his own exercise with the gym equipments. At the time i was 18, inexperienced with dealing with men who were suddenly interested in me and looking my way. I kept it as it was, till it was getting out of hand uncomfortable.
One day, after my class i went to the super market for some last minute grocery shopping so i could cook something for dinner. At that time i was alone, my brother had been on holiday in Singapore for a week. The stalker was around the super market and had seen me leaving the gym, he messaged me on my phone asking if he could help me bring the groceries and hoping to stay over to hang out at my place. I panicked and lied to him.
Instead we had arranged to catch up over coffee the next afternoon. I wanted to cancel but didnt have the guts to! Out of the blue, a very good friend of mine from college called me to join her over coffee at the same cafe i was going to. When i reached the place and saw my friend i told her my sticky situation, i was extremely grateful to have a friend like her who understood! And helped me confront the guy.
When the guy came over, he was extremely rude to my friend and i. He didn’t want to be around her and gave me an ultimatum either ditch her or ditch him? My friend grabbed me and we bolted out of the cafe. Panicking and feeling his presence everywhere i looked, he called my mobile and began screaming in my ear about me being immature and manipulated by my friend. Weak and numb, i was routed to the ground, allowing this mad man to scream in my ear. My friend took my mobile and started screaming back at him and threatened to call the police. With a huge sigh of relief to have her help me to get rid of the stalker, i was able to feel less paranoid. Or so i thought…
The next day, going on facebook, i saw he had tagged me on a status conversation of his, discussing the event and asking for advice to all his other female friends. He had somewhat turned the story around and blamed the events on me. After reading the psycho’s status, i immediately deleted him off facebook, his mobile number and i informed my parents, even though they weren’t living in the same country as me. I needed to tell someone.
Weeks progressed, the stalker had finally stopped messaging me and coming to my work place but i always had to see him at the gym. One day before my body pump class, i was talking to one of the personal trainers and explained the situation, shocked with the news i had revealed, the trainer told me i should have reported the behavior to the gym manager as they were looking for another complaint to officially kick him out of the gym because he had previously harrassed 2 other women before me.
Going home that evening i received a text message from the stalker stating the reason why i had started ignoring him was because i was interested in the trainer. Completely freaked out, i ended up having to cancel my gym membership because i thought my safety was at stake, i had reached a whole level of paranoia i thought something bad was going to happen if i didn’t react.
Years have passed and i have realised my mistake, at the time i should have never accepted his friend request or write the address of my work place on my facebook. Also what i should have done was inform the gym rather than having to sneak in and out of sight when ever i entered the place in hopes to avoid him. And lastly, i should have called to warn the police, just to get the guy away from me and so i wouldn’t have to feel paranoid.