It was 5.30pm, on a bright evening. I had just finished work and was making my way home through multiple busy streets. I suddenly sensed someone walking quite closely behind me but thought nothing sinister could happen as there were plenty of people around. Clutching my handbag a little tighter to my shoulder, I kept walking. Again I sensed this person walking quite closely behind, so I decided to cross over the road. This gave me the opportunity to look back to see who was there; he was male, middle aged and nicely dressed. My intuition was screaming at me something wasn’t right but as most of us humans do, I ignored it and gave this man the benefit of the doubt, but then suddenly he crossed over after me. Doubting my intuition again, I crossed back over and he did too. I realised right then and there I was being followed. Being stalked/hunted/chosen; whatever you want to call it brings with it a crippling fear. You hear these stories on a regular basis and you think if that were me, I’d just let a roar at him or I’d turn and face him and ask him what the f**k do you think you’re doing. But the problem was I actually couldn’t do either of these things. I was terrified. I kept thinking if I do something and he turns violent, what do I do then? Stopping at traffic lights, I bucked up the courage to turn and look him up and down, to let him know ‘I’m onto you scumbag’, but this didn’t deter him. Thankfully I caught sight of a friend and waited for her. The lights changed and I pretended to step out but then stepped back onto the path. He continued crossing and off he went to find his next victim. My friend and I did call the guards and gave a description but we never heard anything after that. Believe me when I say what you think you will do in such situations, you won’t. This man never laid a hand on me and I was frozen with fear. I just knew after that incident that if I were ever physically attacked, I would just simply crumble and submit. I felt weak both mentally and physically. I needed to understand why I didn’t react. Googling, I came across Hard Target Self Defence and decided to attend their weekend course. It answered so many questions for me and taught me simple ruse techniques. I was even allowed to discuss my experience with the group which helped immensely. Since attending this course, I’ve accepted my prior poor judgement and let it go. I’ve now gained confidence in my decision making and feel somewhat prepared if ever faced with such a situation again. Thank you to everyone in Hard Target Self Defence. Niamh Murray, Co. Dublin.