Have you watched 'You' on Netflix? We think it's pretty creepy (even the main character Beck's aversion towards curtains is unsettling) but worth a watch.
For those of you who've not heard of the series or managed to escape the seemingly unending posts about it, it's a psychological thriller about Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager who stalks Guinievere Beck (who later becomes his girlfriend) through social media and in real life.
No spoilers here, you're going to have to watch it for yourself if you want to know more.
Anyway, you know what we find even more disturbing than 'You', it's some of you who rooted for Joe-the-stalker and Beck-the-victim's relationship, and even find the former attractive.
Seriously guys, being a well-read bookstore manager aside, there's nothing sexy about stalking someone and deciding what is good for them.
Don't believe us? Here are some stories from real people who've been stalked before. Some cases are more mild, but some are pretty scary, although it didn't reach Joe-level messed up.
*Disclaimer: All the names have been changed to protect the victims' privacy.
#1 A co-worker who wouldn't take 'no' for an answer
It all began when Bianca* joined a new company. A guy who worked at a different department sent her flowers anonymously.
"It started out pretty innocent. He sent me flowers and when I found out it was him, I thanked him but said that I was not interested," she shared.
However, the guy didn't stop sending her pretty blooms. The gifts arrived once every week, and Bianca kept returning them. She eventually lost her patience and told the guy off.
"I said, sternly, that I was not interested. By then, the whole office knew it was him and he even told some people that I was 'his girl'.
"When I heard that, I confronted him for the second time and lied that I had a boyfriend," said Bianca, who just wanted to get the guy off her back.
She stopped receiving flowers and thought that was it, but then she started getting messages via the company's messaging service.
This is when the story gets even more creepy. The guy started sending her texts that said things like 'You should not drive so fast on the road' and 'You should be more careful when filling up petrol at the gas station at night'.
That was when Bianca started to suspect that the guy was probably trailing her home.
"The next time I drove back, I paid more attention to who was behind me and sure enough, I saw the creep," she recalled.
According to Bianca, she lived about 40 minutes away from her office and had found out that her stalker lived much closer to their workplace, so it didn't make sense for him to be using the same route as her.
"It was really frightening because he followed me right up to my house and then sped off," said Bianca.
This time, she didn't hold back. She confronted him for the third time and shouted at him, threatening to call the police.
"He defended his actions by saying that he just wanted to make sure that I was safe. He also admitted to have been following me for weeks," said Bianca, who shared that her stalker even said that he wanted to marry her and see her happy.
After that incident, the messages and flowers stopped.
Still, it was not the end of the story (this is not the kind of perseverance girls find attractive, guys).
"One night, I suddenly saw him at the pasar malam near my house, and a day later at my church. He's not even a Christian! It was really scary and I told my mum and dad," she said.
Her parents convinced her to quit her job and she did.
"Two months after leaving the company, I head outside one evening and see him in my neighbour's house. They were busy chatting," Bianca continued.
Once the stalker left, she spoke to her neighbour and found out that both the men were colleagues. Her former co-worker had changed jobs and was at her neighbour's house to drop off some documents.
"I lodged a police report and shared it with him. I'm not sure if the police followed up on it but I have not seen him since," she said, adding that the the guy had been stalking her for about six months by then.
Bianca added that the whole ordeal was not only frightening, but also frustrating.
"He never really did anything that was harmful enough for me to lodge a report immediately but it was still emotionally stressful. Especially for the young me who was trying to create a good impression in the workplace.
"It was so hard to get people to understand what was happening because he was the 'good guy' at the office," said Bianca.
#2 A guy I've never seen before painted me
Diana* was a little hesitant to share her story as she wasn't even sure if someone secretly watching and painting her falls under the category of stalking.
One day, she got home from school to find a large (about the size of an A3 paper) painting of her at the gate and there was a note attached to it.
"The painting itself was pretty good but the message that came with it was disturbing," said Diana, who works as a designer and paints herself.
The note went something along the lines of 'I love watching you and think you look very pretty. Tapi kalau pakai tudung lagi cantik (But you'll look even prettier with a headscarf).'
"It was extra creepy because there was some cleavage portrayed in the painting," said Diana, shuddering as she shared the story.
The guy never made any contact after that, nor did she find out who the painter was but the fact that he knew where Diana lived, watched her and could have continued doing so was pretty unsettling.
#3 The LRT station commentator
Sharifah's tale starts at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) station and ends with a text message.
Everyday, she takes the train to work. On many of those days, she gets text messages from a guy who comments about her appearance and whatever she's wearing on that day.
"I'll get messages like 'you look nice today', 'you look good in blue' and stuff but when I look around to find him, I could never spot him," she said, adding that the guy got her number from her sister.
"We have mutual friends and nobody knew he was weird or anything," Sharifah said.
She added that things got tense when he first sent her a message, then appeared out of nowhere in front of her when she was inside a train.
"He just appeared in front of me. I was really disturbed and said I wasn't interested. He called me a b**ch and walked away," said Sharifah, who was pretty shaken by the incident.
"I was scared of how unstable he was and that if I angered him more then he would react in more violent ways. So, I texted him very nicely to explain my position," she said.
Sharifah added that from her sister, she found out that the guy had become a religious extremist who openly spoke about bombing people and places on his social media.
"She reported his account and all but it's really scary if you think about it," she shared.
#4 The price of fame
Joseph* was just a regular guy trying to make a living doing something he likes - in broadcasting, but the job has its downside.
"I work in a field where it's easy for people to identify and look us up.
"So, this girl added me on Facebook and started liking every single picture, all the way back to my first profile picture even," he said.
The girl then started to send messages saying that she was a fan of Joseph's work and wanted to get tips from him as she was a media student.
"She wanted to meet but it just felt weird so I said I'll send her some links," said Joseph. He added that he's an introvert so it was all a little odd to him.
"A few weeks later, my office had an open day for students to visit the place. She signed up but she didn't tell me.
"On the day, she walked up to my desk, tapped my shoulder, and said 'Hey, I'm so and so and I was like 'Oh, hey,'" he said, again finding the girl's mannerism unusual.
The girl then wanted a photo with him and even took pictures of Joseph's desk, asking him all about his collection of geeky things. He then gave her his name card, which turned out to be not such a good idea.
"She was texting me the whole time and asked to go for coffee with me but I brushed her off.
"I told her it didn't seem appropriate to meet," he said.
The girl didn't give up. One day, Joseph received messages in the middle of the night from her, asking him to go over to her house to help out with a project she was working on.
"She said she was stuck and want me to help. It didn't seem right to me so I said no but then she started sending me nudes of herself," he recalled.
That incident made Joseph block his admirer on WhatsApp, but about two weeks later, she messaged him on Facebook messenger sounding very angry about being blocked.
The girl disappered after awhile when she didn't receive the kind of attention she wanted.
"It was really weird because she knew where I worked, what car I drove and all kinds of information about me.
"She'd text me saying 'I saw your car in Bangsar, why don't you come and say hi?' and stuff like that," he said.
Joseph said he's had people knowing more about him than it was usual for someone they've never met, but this girl was one of the more disturbing ones.
#5 The persistent follower
Munirah* story is more of harrasment, with a little bit of stalking involved. A random guy started following her blog and commenting on every single post.
"My blog was mostly personal things; my wedding preparation and stuff like that. I used to reply to all the comments I received, and his was just one of it.
"But after a while it just got weird. He had this very patronising, Malay Muslim men attitude. He kept saying I should repent and things like that," she said.
Munirah said that although initially the conversations were on her blog, he found her email address.
"He even found my work email and started sending messages there," she said, adding that the guy managed to find all the email addresses she used over four years and sent her long messages about her posts, his life and general ramblings.
"There was once I retweeted a famous ulama and he sent me an email saying it's good to see that you're going towards the right path and started sending me other ulamas I should be following," she added.
Munirah made all her social media accounts private, but when he still managed to find out what she posted, she realised he was already following her using several accounts.
"I used to be really stressed for the first two years, but after that I was like, 'Whatever la'," she said, adding that the messages suddenly stopped one day.
She doesn't know what happened to the guy but kept all his emails in a folder titled 'creep' and even shared some of them with Rojak Daily.
We're not publishing them to protect Munirah's privacy and for her safety, but trust us when we say it sounded like the ramblings of a deranged mind.
The guy had created a whole persona for Munirah, possible scenario he imagines her in and writes to her about his imagination.
The law is not on our side
There are many stalking cases that are scarier than the accounts above, with victims ending up being attacked and even killed.
Yet, there are no laws against stalking in Malaysia. There are talks of it, but if and when it will come into effect is not clear.
According to this report by The Star, under the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) 1994, it is possible to get a protection order against a stalker, but this only applies if the parties involved is/were married or is a family member.
For the rest, you can try and make a police report and hope for the best.
Chances are, unless the stalking escalates to pysical harm or worse, nothing much can be done.
Just be mindful of what you share on social media, and always be vigilant. If you notice anything suspicious, alert someone and if need be, lodge a police report.