Again I was planning to write something different, and then I watched Good Morning America. I’m sure this topic would have come up eventially, just not today. If you watched Good Morning America (and I do to get the news, weather, and to have something to talk about with people other than pottty training progress and the newest cutest thing), you may have seen the interview with the woman who was stalked for 10 years. And since I’ve been stalked, and when you have this problem, you need all the information and stories you can get to get through it.
I met my potential stalker, boyfriend, the day may parents left me at college. To say I was homesick and lonely would have been an understatement, but as I was determined to make it work, I was in self-denial. When I met him, my first thought was “He’s broken.” (Let this be a lesson ALWAYS trust your instincts.) After months of flirting, we started dating, became engaged quickly, and became lovers. It was a horrible relationship for 2 years. There were good times. Dates every weekend. Sex. Cute cuddly couple moments (which I have forced myself to foget to protect myself, but I’m sure they were there). But he was controling, commenting on my weight or my friendship with my best friend. I would snap back. It was a horrible cycle.
Near the end of my first semester of my junior year, I became depressed and wondered how you break up an engagement. My parents urged me to go to counciling for the depression. When I came back from winter break, I was ready to give it another try. We were engaged after all. Only for the next week, he acted strangely, going to his “parents” often, which was weird because he was very stand offish with his family. We had a fight, and as we made up I said, “It’s not like you were cheating on me.” The air changed in the room. And I knew. I walked into the bathroom and screamed and cried as he knocked on the door to say he was sorry. Of course, I made a fool of myself begging him to choose and to choose me. (I look back and wished I had just punched him in the gut and told him to walk the hell out of my life. But hindsight is 20/20.) He choose her.
If it wasn’t for the strong circle of friends that closed its ranks tightly around me, I don’t know how long it would have taken to get over him. They let me cry. They dragged me out. They made me laugh. They forced me to write. They were great. I hope they know how much I appreciated those weeks and months.
A month or two later, I decided I had to see my ex. Not too hard because I went to a small school. I felt I needed to talk to him to make sure I didn’t hate him. I didn’t want to hate. My mom warned me about this, but my dad said it was healthy. So I talked to him once in a while. The ex was becoming depressed; while I was having a great time (except my best friend was studying abroad in Africa, it would have been the best semester in college). Then he started to message me and call me. One day he said we should go to the movies like old times and he was coming over to pick me up. There was also an e-card with bears kissing and lots of hearts. I ran! I hung out with friends all night, not daring to go back to my room.
Then he started calling me at midnight. I was a late night owl, so I was up. But one night he called, I was in bed because I was going to a protest early in the morning. He was crying. I said listen I know you’re going through some rough times but I’m not interested. Find some one else.
The next morning a card was hanging on my door. And the next morning, which was weird because I didn’t get back until 3am. Now I was getting spooked. I mentioned it to a friend at lunch. As an older more mature girl, she told me to take the cards and hand them to him and make it clear that I was not interested and did NOT want to be his friend any more. I went to his room, and the jerk wasn’t there. So I wrote a note on the back of the card saying “I’ don’t want to be your friend. Go seek help or talk to some other friend. You’re not my deal anymore. Don’t call me, talk to me, or contact me in any way.”
That night at dinner, I was alone. He came up to me and said, “stop playing mind games.” It was quite menacing. I ate quickly. Then I was angry and planned to tell him off, but then I reconsidered. Let him hate me, just leave me alone. Now the dorm I stayed in faced the outside, so you opened the door and there was the Southern California outdoors. As it was a nice day, I left my door open, which most people do. Then he walked by and throw a note saying something like I should stop acting like a bitch and he needed to talk to me.
The phone rang. I picked it up. It was him. I slammed it down. It rang and rang and rang. Then he’d call again. I ran! The messages. Well, we won’t talk about those.
The next day at breakfast I told all my friends. It now occured to me I was in trouble. I told them if I disappear, look to the ex. He had changed his walk. He sat across the cafeteria leefing at me, waiting for me to leave to follow me. That day I also had a councilor’s appiontment. I was telling him the story and mentioned off hand what I had said to my friends. I think he had the dean of students on the phone the second I left.
Again my friends circled around me. I was not allowed to go ANY WHERE without some one, perferably one of the guys. They accompanied me to the library, to class, to midnight runs to the computer lab. Did I mention I had great friends? The dean meanwhile (unknown to me) had a long talk with my ex, forbidding him to contact me. Of course he still IMed me, email me, followed me, watched me. He even parked his car where I had to pass it.
That next sunday I was doing homework, when the phone rang. I picked it up. It was his voice. I slammed it down. It rang until voice mail. I listened to the message. He was coming over to give me some Italian flash cards I had made and lent him. I called a friend over. Since it took so long, we started to laugh at the situation.
Then he was there. I opened the door to accept the cards, hoping he would leave. I wasn’t scared, even though I should have been. I kept my foot behind the door and blocked his entrance. He kept his foot in the doorjam. He said he needed to talk to me. I said I didn’t want to talk to him. Please leave. He would not. My friend asked if she needed to get the Resident Assistant. I said yes and she left. Across the quad, another friend asked if he should call the cops. Yes. My RA arrived and told my ex he needed to leave, especially since the dean has said the ex couldn’t be near me. (Guess he was told). My ex wouldn’t leave. So the RA said he’d call security. The ex said fine. My RA asked to use my phone. I said sure. The RA called. And after a few minutes, the ex left, but not before turning around and saying “i’ll be back.” I’m sure it was meant to be a threat, but my friend and I thought it was pretty stupid and started laughing (nerves.).
The cops showed up. They took statements. THey encouraged me to leave campus, but I didn’t know anyone that I could stay with. I called my roommate and told her to stay away. I stayed at some one elses dorm room, and security stayed alert. The cops encouraged me to seek a restraning order. The dean called to ask me if I was all right and wanted to know if he should kick my ex off campas right then and there. I said no because I wanted everyone to know where he was.
Amazingly my best friend had just returned from Africa and called his mom, who turns out changed all the AZ laws on stalking to become very strict due to my best friend’s crazy dad. She took me to get the restraining order. Oh and California has a law where you have to give your stalker 24 hours notice that you are filing a restraining order so that person can deend his/herself. Lovely. So I called his dorm phone and left a message. He was kicked out of the living area. I was assured most people never show up at court.
Well, guess what. He did. And the court could not attest to my safety. My best friend and I saw him and ducked into another court room until he had gone into our courtroom. I gave my plea. Granted the temperary restraining order, with the ex’s help since he told the court he needed answers from me, which stopped the court dead (I mean even the court clerk stop typing). The balif was kind enough to deliver my restraning order.
The next morning I received a bouquet of beautiful roses. I called my best friend to ask him if he did it. He laughed and said no. His mom got on the phone. “Get them out of your room. Leave them outside your door. He’s watching. Call security now!” Great, and I was all alone. I did as she said. My best friend called the florist and found out it was the ex. From then on, the dean and security made it very clear to my ex one more move and he was kicked out of college. Security had their meals with him and walked him to class in an ever friendly gesture. If they caught him anywhere near me, they would talk to him. They beefed up security around my dorm.
A month later I was going to get the real restraining order. My parents accompanied me. (I might have failed to mention my father is a police detective in AZ and is very big and intimidatin.) But the ex didn’t come alone either. He had his parents and a lawyer, who convienced a judge for more time to present a case.
So another month, while I was leaving in CA for the summer on campus. Plans that had been made before the stalking and damn if I was going to let this asshole scare me. This time the lawyer badgered me on the stand. Tried to get my testimony thrown out when I called my ex’s voice menacing. He made me cry. He got the judge to throw out the evidence of the roses, which was breaking the restraning order. I did give back the engagement ring in front of the court since that was one of the “reasons” my ex wanted to talk to me. Hey, he cheated on me. He broke up with me. I should have been able to keep the ring and sell it. The lawyer convinced the judge to keep a temporary restraining order until December and reduce the feet. My dad told me to take it. What choice did I have?
Then a week later my father called to say that my ex’s family was willing to put a bond on their son if I would drop the charges. So if their son contacted me, I would get 100k. My dad thought that was a good deal. I felt betrayed by my dad, and I refused. If I had known what was to come, I would have taken it. So for the next six months, the ex kept his distance. When I appeared at court again, I asked for a continuence since it was working so well. This time I had my new boyfriend with me and my counsilor who was worried I would have no one in my corner. My ex was alone, and I was granted a continence.
Then a year later, after I had moved in with my boyfriend, now my fiance, our roommate opened the door to the condo to find a box of chocolates and a card for me, with a horribly written poem about me being the ex’s Oestra, and an email to email@example.com. Back to the police. But since there was no signature or any witnesses, they couldn’t do much. I was working at a school and for the Girl Scouts, who I felt it was my duty to tell. I assured them that the children’s safety was my first prieority. They assured me they would do their best to protect me.
I got married six months after that in AZ. The next morning we were opening gifts when I opened a card that a new the handwriting. I threw the gift and card. It was from the ex who had left it the night before on my parents’ doorstep. The card talked about how he hoped I’d be happy and that he promised he would always love me and be there for me. He was my first love after all. Fucker. And for the record he wasn’t.
Another year goes by and I recieve pictures in the mail. At first I think they are from one of my photography friends. There’s a picture of the church I got married at from across the street. Then I noticed the people walking into the church. It was me and my wedding party. Would this guy just leave me alone? Again to the police. My husband wrote his parents a threatening letter about legal action.
What I didn’t know until recently. My dad had had enough. He called the ex’s parents and told them to get a handle on their son or else. They claimed he was a grown man. My father hinted on some serious trouble.
I haven’t heard from him since. But we also moved, less then six months later, and are unlisted. I didn’t register for baby shower because I’m sure the ex found me in an online bridal registry.
So to recap. Trust your feelings. Get help right away. Tell EVERYONE. ( I really thought he would kill me if I didn’t get help.) And sometimes you have to work outside the law.
Now babies are crying and I promise to be more upbeat later.