A Filipina woman living in Qawra has claimed police refused to file her report after being stalked at night by a man.
Margarita Puyal, 30, told Lovin Malta that she was followed by a stranger at around 8.30 pm on 19th April after visiting a flower shop opposite Qawra’s church.
“I then left to go back home, and when I was in the middle of the street near a convenience shop, I heard someone shout. I looked back out of curiosity to see what was happening,” she explained.
“A man was waving at me but I didn’t know him. I began walked home, which was just three blocks down and he ran in front of me, invaded my space and started asking personal questions.”
Puyal politely brushed him off and said she didn’t speak to strangers. The man responded by coming closer and insisted that “he was a good man and a gentleman”.
“I was quite terrified. It was dark and I couldn’t see anyone near my apartment,” she said, so she entered the convenience store to escape the stranger.
“I pretended to look around and planned to leave minutes after, thinking I had lost him because he didn’t follow me inside.”
However, she then realised he was waiting for her in the dark on the other side of the street. With no credit to call her partner, she asked a member of staff to help her get home safely.
“By the time we left together, he was gone. I thanked the shopkeeper for their help and decided not to waste his time.”
“But he was just hiding again. I managed to run home and cried.”
After sharing her experience online, Puyal decided to take action and file a police report the following morning. However, she was informed that little could be done for her.
“The officer on shift told me that since he didn’t actually harm me, then there was nothing they could do. They said I should have called them when it actually happened, but I wasn’t thinking properly out of fear.”
“It made me feel upset and annoyed. Yes they’re right, he didn’t cause any physical harm to me but that’s because I acted early. Do I have to wait until I’m attacked to feel protected? How can they assume it won’t happen again?” Puyal said.
It’s not the first time Puyal has felt unsafe in Malta.
“I know how it feels to be assaulted, that’s why I acted fast. I’ve been groped on the bus, touched by an ex-boss who threatened to get me deported if I said anything. I live out of fear of history repeating itself.
“I don’t feel safe walking the streets at night in Malta anymore.”
Sexual abuse like rape, stalking, groping and cat-calling are criminal offences. Read about how your rights are protected in Maltese law here.
Lovin Malta has reached out to the police about the incident.
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