I used to do WhatsApp and Messenger chatting with a girl who showed a lot of interest in me. She stalked me for years on Facebook and then contacted me via Messenger. Our talks were flirtatious too and we met for coffee on two occasions. After that I withdrew as I did not want to take it ahead and did not want to lead her on. Recently she contacted me and threatened to throw up my name as a part of the #metoo movement. She claims to have indecent chat records and claims that I sexually harassed her in those chats. I am shocked and extremely anxious, as a seemingly harmless chatting initiated by her has come back to bite me. She may ruin my professional reputation. What should I do?
g Digital footprints can come back to haunt anyone which is why it is always better to be pre-emptive about such things. Words exchanged could lead to erratic and problematic situations in all forms of social exchange. This is not limited to Whatsapp. As human beings, we do not always get what we want or deserve and yet we power on finding new ways to adjust and find hope in a busy world. Try and keep the focus on the situation by being rational about this. If you blame yourself for this, you’re essentially holding yourself responsible for being able to predict the future (which isn’t possible). Situations in life can become unpleasant even when agendas are paved with the noblest of intentions.
Romances are front lined by optimistic endeavours and thinking but when troubles stack up, a far more realistic approach must be adopted to be able to make a fair assessment of which way the wind will blow. No doubt you’re feeling more than just a pinch right now but try and assess the situation objectively. What does this mean? The nature of a threat or likelihood of the threat getting carried out can often be challenging to ascertain at the preliminary stage. This is an objective statement. She may just be trying to ruffle your feathers as a way to spite you or rile you up. This too is an objective statement. She may very well wage war against you and that is likely to cause a mess in your professional life.
This too is an objective statement and objectively speaking, you need to prepare yourself for all eventualities that follow. It’s difficult to call her bluff at this stage if she is simply playing hard ball. So don’t attempt to try and get inside her head just yet. Neither is that practical or useful for you at this stage. However, ready your defences. A good lawyer’s services may have to be engaged for a more realistic and legally watertight assessment of what you’re up against. Now let’s try and understand why she may be upset with you. What’s happening here? The fact that she stalked you and that you eventually rejected her advances may have made her feel rejected and thus hostile towards you. People tend to get unpredictable and edgy when their agendas for themselves are thwarted. You not reciprocating her advances (beyond a point) may have set her off. Perhaps a romantic involvement with you was a part of her agenda for herself. You’re going to have to strongly consider cutting her off on all digital and social media fronts by using the block function available on all such platforms. This would limit your interaction with her though not necessarily address the problem. Without resorting to clichés about the man woman dynamic, know that a woman’s word would certainly hold true if you are held responsible so be prepared to gather evidence that strongly supports your claims that you were stalked and are currently being harassed.
Remember that the chat messages that she claims to have can be easily edited on a photo editing software so the threat could technically work both ways. How much is fabricated and how much is admissible if lawyers and families get involved? How much of her reciprocation or pro-activeness in this romance can be indicative of her romantic intentions. All this information will have to be organised, analysed and discussed with your lawyer. Discuss the possibilities of an escalation with your family as well. They deserve to know. The same way she may ruin your professional reputation, there are an endless number of things all human beings could be worried about. Do not let the worry consume you. Instead, work on solutions with the necessary experts and prepare for anything should the situation truly become untenable for you. Keep your chin up and your head clear and work it out.