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To Sam

Stalking

So about 9 months ago I was waking home from the shops and a man around the age of 50 approached me he said he knew me from somewhere but I didn't recognise him then he started following me and asking me questions like "how old are you" "where do you live" "maybe we could meet up sometime" "do you like kissing?" I told him my age (12,13 now) and he left me alone after a while and then today Monday 26th August 2013 I was walking to the shops and I saw him again he asked me if I remembered him I said yes he asked me how old I was and lied and said I was still 12 he said "okay,tell" me when you are ready I think he lives near the shop I go to and I'm really scared not for me but for the younger kids on my estate especially my little sister what if he kidnaps them I want to tell someone but I'm too scared
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Sam

Hello there,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I can hear that you are really scared about what this man might do to you and other people.

ChildLine counsellors tell me that sometimes men say to young people that they know them, because they think that maybe they will talk to them if they think that might be true. This is because young people try to be polite and think that if an adult talks to them then it might be rude not to talk back to them. Many parents and guardians tell young people not to talk to strangers and this can be good advice particularly if someone you do not know tries to pretend that they know you or makes you feel uncomfortable or scared.

It sounds as though this man put you through a really frightening ordeal 9 months ago by following you and asking you lots of personal questions. He had no right to frighten you in this way and you did not do anything wrong. He should not have asked you about kissing and suggested meeting up and you have done the right thing in telling me about this. This is none of his business and an adult, whether you know them or not, and he should not be having this kind of conversation with a child. What this man is doing is wrong - it sounds like he is trying to trick young people into talking to him.

Sometimes there are things that can seem too big to sort out on your own and you need the help of an adult you know and trust. You have told me that you want to tell somebody and I know it can be really scary to talk to someone about this but you have not done anything wrong, in fact you have been really brave in telling me about it. This man is behaving in a really suspicious way and you are right to feel that other people need to know. I am just wondering what it would be like for you to maybe talk to one of the counsellors at ChildLine, you can talk to them in confidence and maybe they could help you decide who the best person is for you to talk. It could be a parent or a teacher or just somebody else that you feel comfortable talking to - you could also practice what you are going to say. It would be a chance to go through what you could say as well. If you feel that is something you could do then you can call us on for free on 0800 1111 or log in for a 1-2-1 chat.

In the meantime it might be a good idea not to go to the shops on your own or let your little sister go by herself either and remember if you feel unsafe at any time you can dial 999 and ask for help.

Take care,

Sam

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