Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

BEING STALKED DOESN’T FEEL “KIND OF EXCITING”

(cross-posted with permission from Murder of Goths)

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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3 thoughts on “BEING STALKED DOESN’T FEEL “KIND OF EXCITING”

  • Sisterhood (@sisterhooduk) says:

    I got off the bus, close to home after a night out, I was debating whether to walk or get a taxi. I was aware someone had got off behind me so I slowed right down and waited for them to pass. When they didn’t I realised immediately, without turning round, it would be a man and one with bad intentions. I doubled back to the mini cab office and as I passed him he struggled with “ha ha ha I love you” a dishevelled, scruffy looking invidual. You know,what as I waited for a taxi, barely 10 minutes from home, I was angry that a man/men can control my life and decisions in this way.

  • I Clare says:

    It just didn’t occur to him that she would have known does it? Women are so aware all the time of who is following. If someone coincidentally follows my direction more than once I start noticing. If somone gets off at your stop and follows you two blocks – you know. she probably changed direction to avoid him seeing where she lived. –
    But what is worse he advertises this experience as exciting. How many men will now try it – and maybe not stop after two blocks. His amorality is staggering.
    I’ve only seen one episode of the fall and it struck me as one of the most misogynistic things I’d seen in a long time. It seemed to invite the viewer to enjoy the thrill of terrorising and murdering women. there’s is so much violence against women in the world which needs tackling sensitively in drama – like the brilliant ‘killed by my boyfriend’ . Why do we put up with endless serial killer dramas which are not representative of how the majority of murders are committed and seem to be made to enjoy the thrill of seeing how many victims tthe protagonist
    Can notch up. I’m equally fed up with male actors who play serial killers and pyscopaths saying how ‘interesting’ and enjoyable it is in interviews. If they played a Nazi they would show some tact and sensitivity but murdering women is somehow nothing at all

  • Dani says:

    Thank you for writing this – I felt the same way. No one seems to care he openly admitted a crime (that is what stalking is to me) in a newspaper. It’s not taken seriously enough. No one would say I burgled a house to get into character etc and not expect to be questioned by the police or taken to task by the interviewer.

    Having been stalked in various ways (followed, someone has tried to drag me off, constant messaging on social media to be blocked and come up as another profile to begin again, one man waited all day in a van outside my work for a fair while) I did not appreciate it being advertised as exciting in a dirty way.

    Articles like yours and others have really helped me. I never told the man in the van how upseting his pursuance of me was because if I rebuffed him too hard “I’d hurt his feelings.” That’s what I’ve internalised as being more important than my own safety. When I was young and the guy tried dragging me off I just got on with my night with my friends who probably would have interpreted my “side track” as me preferring male attention (they were drunk). I should have called the police and not been like oh that happens.

    I know that last paragraph does not flow but I did just want to say articles like yours have helped me understand things like this are not ok and should not be tolerated white noise to a womans existence. Thank you for that.