My name is Alice. This is my story about how a man who used to follow behind me, tried to break into my home with an axe.
I live with my grandmother, a younger brother, a sister of my grandmother and her grandson. I also have an older brother and sister who both have moved out.
Both my mother and father are dead. It takes me almost an hour and a half to walk to school. Because I live so far away, I have to walk much of the way alone.
A while ago a man began following me on my way to and from school. He lives in the same area as me and has a wife and two children at home. Yet he came up to me and said he loved me. I told him no and continued walking.
One evening a little while ago, when I was home alone, he came to my house at night. He knocked and wanted to come in. I had locked the door and refused to let him in. Then he tried instead to break into the house. When he couldn't open the door, I heard him trying to get to me through the roof with an axe. He yelled and told me that since I did not let him in, he would cut me up with his axe.
After he failed to break in, he sat in the yard outside and continued to shout nasty things to me. He sat there and waited all night. When dawn came, he disappeared. After he came here that night, he has not tried again.
But recently when I had an errand in the area where he lives, he pointed to me and boasted to some of the ladies who stood there that I was his girlfriend. I don't like to walk alone to school. I wish he wasn't here and am still afraid that he will do something to me. When I go in a group with others who are also walking to or from school, I feel pretty safe. But I'm afraid when I have to walk the long stretch by myself. But I will go, even if it is alone, because I want to finish school and follow my dreams.
I never told anyone about the incident with the man until long afterwards. I have now told a number of my friends about it. They give me support. Set up neighbourhood patrol after the event Alice's grandmother reported the man to the local police.
Alice is a 16-year old being helped by Plan International in Zimbabwe, where gender-based violence prevents many girls from having an education
In line with the Plan International's child protection guidelines the name used in the story is fictitious