True Story: I Was Stalked

I was stalked

Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is “Molly”, I’m a late twenties writer living in Virginia. I grew up here and only pretend to hate my slight accent.  I love travel, books, crepes, makeup— all the good things.
When were you stalked?
I was stalked when I was 17. It lasted for about a year. It started the summer before my senior year of high school and didn’t completely end until I was in my first year of college.
Who was your stalker?
I had known the guy who stalked me since fourth grade. We were both on the cross country team and we hung out with the same folks. We were really good friends for the last couple years leading up until when he started acting strange. He definitely considered me his best friend. He was a year older than I was, so he’d just graduated and was headed to college when he lost it and things started. I think something about moving away affected him and helped set him off.
How did it begin and how did you deal with it?
It actually began with him telling me something about a party a little bit down the road (we lived out in the country). We  drove to the house and no one was home. What followed was a sexual assault. The odd thing about my story is that it begins with sexual assault and then turns into stalking afterwards.
I didn’t deal with it very well.  My parents and I did as much as we could do to get the law involved. We got a restraining order. Unfortunately, after the assault, I came home and told no one and did nothing, so there wasn’t a lot the police could do without any evidence. Although, he did leave these really disgusting letters in my car about what he’d done to me during the assault. But that wasn’t enough evidence.
The peak of the stalking was that winter when he started coming into the house and watching me sleep.  After a few weekends of feeling like I was crazy for feeling like someone was in the house, I actually woke up with him standing in the doorway of my bedroom.  This was about four months after the assault.
My nerves were completely shot. Even though it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, my fight or flight kicked into gear and I ended up chasing him out of the house. I’m not sure what I would have done if I’d caught him. I think by then I was at my wits’ end, and so I believed I’d be able to hurt him if I could get my hands on him.
By that point, I was really starting to deal with the assault, I’d almost completely stopped eating because my nerves were shot, and I wasn’t sleeping much as you’d imagine.
How did the stalking affect your daily life?
The stalking took over most of my everyday life. I was constantly nervous and developed ulcers. My parents were afraid to leave me alone, so my dad would sit outside of the shoe store I worked at some evenings. I’d close the store alone, and my parents were afraid the guy would catch me in there or on my way out to my car.
I can’t really describe what it felt like to basically have to accept that I wasn’t really safe. Part of me actually felt better once I started to admit that. And I remember that it really frustrated me that my parents wanted to convince me that they could keep me safe. To me, that was refusing to acknowledge what was really happening. I don’t think parents can be prepared to deal with something like that.
What finally put an end to it?
After I woke up with him in the house, I finally told one of my friends about the assault and about what was happening—she was sleeping over that night, so she was asleep in my bed with me. I felt terrible and still do that she experienced what it’s like to wake up with an intruder in the home.
She went home and told her brother almost right away. He was my stalker’s age and was friends with him. Her brother was in a group of generally nerdy, skateboard-riding guys that I was good friends with. Those guys got in someone’s car and drove the four hours south to my stalker’s college. I’m not sure what happened.
I know that the guy was okay afterward because I did hear from him after that, but I think they did what they could to convince him that they’d hurt him if he didn’t leave me alone. We’d all grown up in this tiny place with a high school of about 300 kids. We were all close, and we all knew each other. In that way, it makes me sad that something like that would blow up such a calm circle of friends
What advice would you give to others dealing with something similar?
That’s a hard question. I guess I’d advise anyone going through something similar to try to get the police involved as much as possible. In my case, my stalker came to see me the very next day after he was served with the restraining order. That was his way of letting me know it wasn’t going to affect him. But not getting the police involved won’t help either, and there’s a chance they may be able to do something.
I’d also suggest that they talk to people about what’s happening; my not talking to anyone about it only left me feeling more crazy and isolated. Things got harder once my friends knew what was happening, but it also made what was happening more real to me—in a good way. I think we sometimes have a tendency to try to keep something from being entirely real by just not telling anyone about it.
Have any of you been stalked?  Any questions for Molly?
photo by tim wang // cc

18 Comments

Anonymous

I was stalked for a year, despite it being almost 4 years since it stopped I still don't like crowds and loud social situations. I've gone from being a chatty, social individual to one who finds socialising quite difficult. Sadly my friends thought I should have been flattered by the attention! Thank you for this article and to Molly, people need to understand how frightening stalking can be.

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Caitie

This is effing terrifying. I just…I've got nothing. I am so sorry that this happened to you, though, and wish you the best at moving forward.

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Allie Todd

Reading this made my stomach drop. I can't even imagine what this truly felt like.

It absolutely amazes me how much resilence people have. To be able to talk about this and spread the word to other people out there, while coming across so put together is truly incredible.

I find myself at a loss for words, but wish you all the best in your bright future.

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Jess

Wow, Molly…. So sorry you had to go through that.

My mother and I were stalked when I was a child. We actually woke up and he was sitting in the room, watching us sleep. So, I can relate to some of what you experienced. I'm very sorry you went through that, too.

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Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

Absolutely terrifying! It bothers me that people (and society in general) don't take stalking seriously. A restraining order is just a piece of paper unless it is reinforced! Stalking also usually escalates to something even more serious, although as Molly points out, her situation was the reverse.

I think one way we can try and acknowledge the seriousness of stalking is by first changing our language. For example, (and I admit to being guilty of this sometimes too) is not to say we would "stalk a celebrity" or "I love that blog, I've been stalking it".

Thank you so much for sharing your story Molly. I hope you never have to experience that again!

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Jenny

While a restraining order isn't the protective bubble that we wish it were, it is definitely the first step in the legal process – you need that documentation as soon as possible in order to take further legal action should things escalate! It is a lot harder to take retroactive legal actions, so document early and often!! Hopefully you'll never need to use it – but if you do, you'll make the process much kinder on yourself!

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Anonymous

Thank you so much for sharing this. I was stalked my freshman year of college (I was 17, he was 24), and had nightmares for years despite moving to a different state and changing my phone number multiple times. My stomach sometimes drops when I see the same car he used to drive – and it's now been over 5 years. It's really comforting to know there are people out there who know how I feel.

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Kelsi

I was stalked in college… Not nearly to the caliber this brave writer endured, but it was still frightening. He was a socially awkward guy in my dorm that I befriended, though it quickly turned into him showing up to my room every day, calling me all the time, and following me everywhere. He figured out my class schedule and would wait for me after class. It got really creepy, and I talked to my dorm neighbors about it. Later, I was told he came looking for me and a group of them bombarded him with water balloons. He never came back and I never saw him again.

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Rachael

Terrifying. I was stalked by a boy who would ride the public transit at the same time as I did. It started innocently enough – him trying to awkwardly let me know he liked me. I gently said thank you, but no thanks. After that, he always kept coming over and trying to awkwardly chat me up, or sit next to me and stare. I would always make sure to be listening to music or be on the phone. It escalated to him figuring out which bus lines I took and when. I would get off at random stops and walk to a friends house just to throw him off. Luckily, after months of this, it just stopped.
I've not seen him in years, thank goodness.

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Anonymous

Wow, Molly. I can't imagine how horrifying this must have felt. You're one brave girl. I'm so glad you're safe now!

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Anonymous

Molly here 🙂

In response to Girliest Nerd's question: He ended up losing contact with most everyone from my hometown and moved out west. I make sure to check on his location maybe once a year. It bothers me to look, but I know it's best that I know whether he's 2,000 miles away or 100. Basically, from what I can tell, he leads a normal life.
The kicker: facebook suggests I be friends with him every once in a while. The first time his name came up, I felt very sick.

And thank you for all of the very kind words/comments. I'm so sorry to those of you who have experienced anything like this. But dialogues like this are beautiful.

Molly

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tarantella

One of my closest friends is dealing with an ex stalking her. I'm worried for her because he hasn't done anything a lot of people consider dangerous- but I see the danger in what he's done. No matter how many times the police have been involved he keeps contacting her and leaving gifts. It all seems innocuous but it's not. I just see that he's stepped over the line again and again and doesn't realize why anything he's doing is wrong. I'm proud of my friend for making sure to report everything and I'll be supporting her in getting a restraining order against him. I just want anyone reading this to know…if you said no and someone won't leave you alone, no matter what kind of contact they're making…make sure you speak out. Because they may not be "dangerous" now but someone who doesn't know where the line is could easily become dangerous before you know it.

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Anonymous

last year i had an ex-boyfriend come very close to stalking me when we broke up. i was fortunate that when we broke up, we were living 5 hours apart and the distance made it very difficult for him to come to my city. also, several mutual friends stepped in on several occasions to stop any real stalking from beginning, which is something i'm eternally grateful for. in the end, what i endured was "little more" than an emotional roller coaster of harassment that caused me to have intense panic attacks and violently angry feelings towards him. he did this for six months on and off, which was the worst part. once i would start to think he was done, i would begin getting daily texts and phone calls from him again. eventually, he began emailing me about wanting gifts returned to him and threatened to take me to court if i didn't comply with his request. the minute i read that line, i was on the phone with my father and we decided enough was finally enough: we were going to get our lawyer involved first. no more than 24 hours later, my ex had been contacted by the law firm and told to back down before more serious legal consequences would be acted out. thankfully, it worked and i've been free of harassment for eight months.

even still, i worry that i will be walking down the street one day and i'll see his face. he has no reason to come to my city, since i was the only connection to it that he had, but i can't shake the fear. i have avoided going on a trip with my best friend that involves spending time in the city he was living in during that time because i worry that if he sees me, it will reopen that can of worms. i have to make sure that if i am visiting a mutual friend, he hasn't been planning a visit concurrently. these are all little cracks in my life today that didn't exist before the harassment.

i've been very lucky to have understanding and protective friends and family during and after the harassment. one mutual friend in particular did a lot to make sure i knew what my ex was thinking about doing when the breaking point was finally reached, calling me whenever he had an update. my parents provided me with emotional support during the six months and were prepared to provide me with financial support when we decided to involve legal assistance, just in case it turned into a costly lawsuit. if it hadn't been for my open and honest communication with those people, i would not have walked away as relatively unscathed as i did.

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Anonymous

I have had two "mild" stalkers. One was from high school till I was 21. He would show up every valentines day with flowers and a dinner invitation. He would sit outside my work when I closed for the night. I eventually made it clear that I was not then, nor would I ever be interested in perusing a relationship, and he faded into the background. I did not feel threatened by him. The second did make me feel threatened often. He would show up at my dorm room, and sit outside and wait for me to finish class. He would leave things there so he had the opportunity to come back. After a while, I moved. About a year later he showed up at my workplace. Then 5 years after that, I ran into him at a take away, and pretended not to see him. That night he showed up at my house. I was terrified and called the police. He then contacted me on Facebook. My husband and I are on the lookout for him everywhere we go, we never really feel safe. It's knowing that the stalker has a 'never give up' attitude that makes them scary. And the violation you feel when they find you again.

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