Blog, Feminism, Uncategorised

Being stalked doesn’t feel “kind of exciting”

I read something today which made me angry, turns out that in preparation for his role in The Fall, Jamie Dornan.. actually.. let me tell you in his own words..

I, like, followed a woman off the train one day to see what it felt like to pursue someone like that.

“I really kept my distance … she got off a few stops earlier than I was planning so I said right, I have to commit to this. I followed her around a couple of street corners and then was like: what are you doing?

“It felt kind of exciting, in a really sort of dirty way, I’m sort of not proud of myself. But I do honestly think I learned something from it, because I’ve obviously never done any of that. It was intriguing and interesting to enter that process of ‘what are you following her for?’ and ‘what are you trying to find out?’”

Intriguing.

Interesting.

Exciting.

Dirty.

Great choice of words there.

How about I add a few of my own? Try scary, threatening, intimidating, vulnerable. Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest Jamie Dornan has never walked down the street, heard footsteps following behind him and wondered if he needed to worry.

He’s never changed his route because it involved walking through areas where he’d be away from crowds.

He’s never called someone to come meet him because he’s nervous of the person who has been following behind him.

He’s never turned away from home, or changed his stop, so that the person behind doesn’t find out where he lives.

The thing is, these aren’t rare experiences, I know a lot of women who’ve done these or variations of these. Maybe a lot of the time nothing ever comes of it, and the footsteps behind turn out to be someone who just happens to be walking the same way without sinister motivations. The problem is, you just don’t know. So you try to minimise the risk as much as you can.

I have been stalked. I wasn’t imagining the motivation of the bloke, he was trying to follow me home. I know this because he’d originally tried to sexually assault me in my place of work, and then kept turning up there over and over looking for me. I eventually left that job, forgot all about the bloke and carried on my life.

Until I got on a bus one day, on my way home from uni, tired and not paying too much attention. Then I felt someone stroking my hair, turned around to find myself face to face with him. I did the only thing I could think to do, I got off the bus at the next stop that I knew would be busy. I already knew that the stop by my home was in a quiet area, and would involve walking through a road that would leave me vulnerable. So I didn’t dare get off the bus there, in case he followed.

Of course he got off the bus at the same time as me,  but I was lucky that I could text my mum to come and drive to get me and he couldn’t follow me.

I got a different bus home after that.

I knew a woman who didn’t realise she had a stalker until he turned up at her workplace and told her the number plate of her car. And there are many other women who can share similar stories.

It doesn’t matter if Jamie Dornan didn’t have malicious motives for stalking that woman, she had no way of knowing that. I hope she was never aware of being followed, but even if she wasn’t it doesn’t make what he did ok. He was not entitled to use her, without her consent, for his own entertainment.

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