by Railah Iqbal
A month into starting university, Hanna Ryaz, 21, was bombarded by phone calls and text messages by an unfamiliar individual which turned threatening which the police had to put a stop to.
Initially ‘the stalker’ was being friendly and claimed he wanted to get to know Hanna but soon he began threatening her when she refused to speak to him.
Hanna explained: “At first they made it out that they were trying to be friendly and just a bit flirty but when I rejected the person, they started stalking me.”
She added; “I came to Uni and not many people had my number and I began getting texts off an anonymous number.”
The stranger told Hanna that he was watching her every move. Hanna recalled; “They knew where I worked, they knew when I went to Uni, they would say ‘we know where you live’.”
At the time, Hanna began to question who she was speaking to and found it difficult to trust the new friends she made at university.
Hanna’s day-to-day activities were affected as she started missing work in a bid to avoid leaving her flat.
When the threats started, Hanna told the security team at her accommodation. “They would say they were going to kick my door down and kidnap me, even abusive things like rape were mentioned… I did not know what to do.”
Because of the seriousness of the threats, the team advised Hanna to contact the police. The police came to see her the next day.
Hanna urged the police to track down the stalker and he was given a warning which has stopped him from contacting Hanna since.
Hanna advises others in similar situations; “If you are living in a flat where there isn’t much security, you should be very careful with who you trust and not let information out as well.”
Further National Stalking Helpline; an advisory unit, is available to victims of stalking in need of advice and counselling. NHS is most helpful for those who wish to remain anonymous.
NSH’s spokesperson commented; “For young people who may find themselves in a position of being subjected to stalking behaviour, our advice would be to make contact with their local police service to report the behaviour. In addition we would advise getting in contact with the National Stalking Helpline, which provides a lot of advice for victims. ”
The helpline added that other students in Hanna’s situation should get in touch with their university as soon as possible because “there are usually support mechanisms there to help.”
Photography by Railah