Stalking is a crime that can paralyse an otherwise productive person with fear.Lisa Madigan
Dear Mr Creeps
Last night, I woke up in a cold sweat. I was convinced you were standing in my bedroom. I couldn’t see you, but I know you were there. I could feel your presence. All the restraining orders in the world couldn’t keep you away. I was terrified. I am terrified. My life revolves around wondering when you are going to kill me.
It all started when I met you at a friend’s house party in Oxford, UK. When we were introduced, your gaze was as intense as the midday sun. It wasn’t a curious gaze but a creepy one – I didn’t like it but I’d just met you so I gave the whole experience the benefit of the doubt. We mingled and socialised. Later that day you took a photo of me without my knowledge let alone consent. I didn’t know it then but later found out that you used that photo as a screensaver in several of your devices.
Three weeks later I ‘bumped’ into you in the last place I’d have expected you to be – because you lived miles away. You called it serendipity, I called it stalking.
“Hi…” it was a friendly salute but the hug that followed was cringe-worthy and you didn’t want to let go. You then suggested dinner and a drink, I turned you down because you were creepy, besides I had other plans. To get rid of you I half-heartedly agreed to exchange numbers. Big mistake.
You texted relentlessly for the next few weeks. Blocking you was futile because you just used different phone numbers. Your tone of voice darkened as the texts increased. You hacked my Facebook account and added yourself as my friend and then updated your status that we were in a relationship. This move was catastrophic to my real relationship because some things are just too crazy to explain.
After that initial accidental meeting, it became a normal occurrence – bumping into you at my golf club even after I switched clubs, meeting at a ‘mutual’ friend’s party, where I later learnt they didn’t know you but you said I invited you.
But that was nothing compared to what you did next.
One day I came home, and a strange eerie feeling enveloped me the minute I stepped inside. I knew something was wrong. Something felt out of sync. The energy in the house felt violated. I felt uncomfortable walking into various rooms because it felt as though someone was watching me. I thought I was losing my mind. I rang my ex-boyfriend who still had a key to my flat and asked him if he’d been there. He said he hadn’t since we broke up, and suggested I change locks because he lost his key. I called a 24-hour locksmith who charged me a fortune to change locks, but I didn’t care.
As I was looking around for hidden cameras and if anything was missing, I noticed my underwear drawer had been tampered with. Some of my undies were missing. A wave of horror engulfed me. I thought of looking in my laundry basket, but I was too terrified to look: was it possible you’d been in my flat and took stuff? The thought alone was enough to send chills down my back. I couldn’t think of anything worse than having used underwear stolen.
The drawer incident unhinged me, I decided to call my friend in Oxford and ask about you and your mannerisms. Before I could say anything, he sort of congratulated me….
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
I was very confused.
“What are you on about?”
“I hear you and John Doe are an item.”
I literally vomited my guts out! “What?”
The Facebook status update was all everybody was talking about. I blocked you, [again], then deactivated my account. I sat on my bed contemplating whether I should call the police – I wasn’t sure if a crime had been committed. My next discovery convinced me a worse crime had been committed.
As I pulled my duvet cover later that night, I noticed a ghastly stain on my bedsheets. I had to use my phone spotlight to see clearly if it was what I thought it was. It was! The wave of nausea and disgust that hit me was beyond comprehension. I was beyond appalled, and then I was outraged.
“How dare you? You fucking coward!” I screamed into the night. This level of violation was not only invasive, it was disrespectful, and I was scared for my life. I called the police.
I feel blessed and lucky that in today’s society stalking is taken seriously and considered a crime. The police told me that everything you’d done was a serious crime. They were very concerned. They told me not to touch or dispose of anything – ‘it was evidence’, they said. That night I had to find somewhere else to sleep – I didn’t feel safe in my own house, you’d done that to me.
The next day, the police came around and collected the hard evidence on the bed. As they looked around the flat, they discovered an array of wrapped gifts under my bed. I had no idea they were there. I had no idea how long they’d been there – proof that I never hoover under my bed but that was beside the point. The police took it all.
I needed you stopped by any means necessary that is why I agreed to a dinner date despite the police advice against contacting you. The chewing gum you kept in your mouth for ages hoping to maintain fresh breath in anticipation for a kiss, was your downfall. The DNA matched. When you were arrested, you argued that your DNA was in my house because I had invited you into my house and we had made love.
The police didn’t believe you. They could read micro expressions I couldn’t see and you didn’t know you showed. After a thorough investigation, a restraining order was put in place and that if you ever contacted me, you’d end up in jail.
It’s a small consolation that the threat of jail has kept you away so far. But I never feel safe. I jump at every creak of the floorboards. I look over my shoulder every time I am alone. I am no longer on Facebook – a community I really enjoyed. I have changed my phone numbers so many times it’s hard to keep up.
I thank God for good friends who supported me during the ordeal. I am grateful to the police for believing me and taking action before you did something horrible.
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Photo credit: Pixabay – Pexel