Question: Hi! I am a 23-year-old woman and I met a guy at our University in January this year and we started talking. However, two months later, I found that this guy is not suitable for me and told him very politely to stay away from me. I blocked him from social media and my caller list. However, he has been continuously threatening me and my family since March. I found that he had created fake profiles and stalks me on Facebook and have been messaging my friends as well. He called up my mother and told her that after the lockdown is lifted he would come to our place and insult us. He even threatened that he would not let me and my sister marry anyone and will ruin both our careers. He said, he has a strong support system and is not afraid of the law or police and he would make all our chats public. His threats are making me and my family spend sleepless nights. We are under a lot of mental pressure as we cannot seek anyone's help nor afford to appoint an advocate to take legal action. Please tell us what should we do? —By Anonymous

Response by Rachana Awatramani: I can understand that you are in a challenging and life-threatening situation. I would appreciate your courage to reach out and write to us about your concern.

Threat, criminal threatening (or threatening behavior) is the crime of intentionally or knowingly putting another person in fear of bodily injury. I would bring to your notice that threatening is an offence and you can lodge a complaint against the person. If the threat calls are constant, a victim can lodge an FIR in the police station. The police officer, on receiving such a complaint, may then either call the harasser and threaten them with severe consequences to stop with the threatening calls.

I comprehend that you met a guy at your university and after talking to him for two months you realised he is not good for you, therefore you politely asked him to stay away from you. However, he has been stalking you and threatening you; not only that he also called your mother and threatened to ruin yours and your sisters’ career. It can be absolutely scary, I get that. As you are aware that what he is doing is an offense, you can take support of the police, I am aware that there might be a challenge to get help during the lockdown and he also mentioned to you that he is not scared of the police. You can reach out to the Special Cell for women and children, they can guide you and they are also available in some police stations, they are a group of social counselors who are aware about managing such situations.

You can also speak to someone in your family who can help you and support you during this time. As you and your family are worried and are not able to sleep, speaking to a professional counselor on a regular basis would be helpful for all of you. There are various helplines like that are available for you to reach out for counseling.

— Ms. Rachana Awatramani is a Counseling Psychologist at Insight Counseling Services in Mumbai

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