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#SuicideAwareness I very nearly didn’t make it to 2020. I don’t even know how I’m still here. I need to thank those who helped me up when I fell down.This is a thread about how grateful I am for being alive today.
From 2016 to 2019, I was stalked, sexually harassed, threatened and intimidated by a man from my society where my family and I were renting an apartment because it was close to my college. I was pursuing law.
In early 2018, after the man attempted to run me over with his car and later forcibly grabbed my hand and tried to touch me, my mother and I decided to take action. I was afraid but I knew we had to do something. Ignoring him had not worked.
We spoke to the Manager, the Chairman and the Secretary of the Society Committee. We also approached the man’s mother and requested her to speak to him so that we could end the matter there. I was about to complete my degree and wanted to focus on my studies.
The Secretary of the Society called my mother up and shouted and screamed at her. She said we wouldn’t be able to prove anything and told us not to go to the police as we needed to “think about the boy’s future’. What about my future, I asked myself?
For 6 months after that, I refused to step outside the house. I was terrified that if the man saw me, he would do something. When my mother went out, I’d call her up constantly to check that she was safe. I didn’t want him to do anything to her. I was so scared.
My father works out of the city and suffers from a neurological disease. When he found out about everything he came home. In the stress of it all, he forgot to take his medication and suffered from a seizure. We had to rush him to the hospital where he was admitted in the ICU.
I spoke to a women’s rights advocate who heard the whole matter and advised me to wait & see what happened. She told me to start recording the man whenever I went out, if I saw him stalking me again or trying to talk to me or touch me. I wanted proof before I went to the police.
From September 2018 to May 2019 I took regular video recordings of him. It was a good idea. This way, he knew he couldn’t do anything to me because it would all be caught on camera. But he still wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept stalking me. I still don’t know why.
In May 2019, we found out that my stalker had already filed a complaint against me in 2018 with the police, claiming that I was intimidating HIM and he was planning to file another complaint against me for ‘violating his privacy’. I was protecting myself. He was retaliating.
The Secretary, a woman that is absolutely vile, confronted my mother and I and told us we could not record him anymore. I tried to tell her I was acting on my lawyer’s advise, for my own safety. She didn’t care. She just didn’t want me to have enough evidence to go the police.
At 10 pm in the night, that very night, my mother and I went alone and filed an FIR against him for stalking, sexual harassment, outraging the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation. No one from the society was ready to go with us. We were all alone.
He was immediately arrested and let out on bail the next day. He spent nearly 12 hours in lock up. He maintained that I was the one stalking and harassing him. Never mind the fact that this man is mentally unstable and I wa terrified of him. The police told me he was a lunatic.
With the help of the police, the investigation was conducted and the charge sheet was filed within a week. My family and I moved out immediately to a safer place as the policewomen told me that this man was out on bail and I was not safe.
A few months later I gave my statement to a judicial magistrate at the Sessions Court. I stood in a witness box and cried my heart out. I’d been diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression. The trauma had hit my system very hard. I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was falling apart.
For the last 6 months I have been researching ways to kill myself. A knife? Sleeping pills? Jump off my balcony? Walk in front of a moving car? What? How could I stop suffering? How could I finally get some sleep at last? For 3 years I hadn’t slept even one night. I wanted to die
But I’m still here. Thank you to the women’s rights activist who told me what to do. To the women police officers who protected me. To the psychologist and the psychiatrist who understood that even though I had done all the right things- I STILL FELT IT WAS MY FAULT.
Today, the case is awaiting trial. I have complete faith in the justice system. I realised, that if I was depressed and ended my life, I wouldn’t get to see this man in Court and bear witness to my own struggle for a woman’s right to dignity. I wouldn’t get to see him punished.
If you’re struggling with #Depression or have been a victim of #Stalking or #SexualHarassment do not give up. Keep fighting. Never think of someone else’s depravity or perversion, as your fault. You need to keep breathing. Just breathe and you’ll get through it.
I am grateful for 2019. I am sick, but I completed my law degree and diploma in counselling. I have my own legal consultancy business. I run a support group for women. I devised a safety plan for victims of domestic violence. I educated women on how to report sexual harassment.
My job is to help women. But in reality, THEY help ME. The women in my support group. My mother. My lawyer. The police officers. The Judge. My psychologist. All WOMEN. Thank you for believing me. Thank you for seeing me through 2019. #SuicidePrevention
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