The Stalker and the Prey

I guess it’s time to talk about another hard topic. Everywhere I go this week it seems like I am hearing about some kind of stalking incident. So here is my story.

I was stalked in college. It was a crazy, surreal time of life. It ended in him going to jail – and technically my name wasn’t even on the court case title. It was “Ohio Bell” vs. “This guy”. Apparently the huge stack of filed papers documenting countless times that he attacked me or followed me or nearly ran my car off the road just wasn’t enough to put him away. But when I finally had the phone tapped and he called 100+ times in a period of 3 hours or something…that was all she wrote.

At the time it was happening I somehow refused to let myself think about the worst case scenario that happened this week where another woman was shot and killed by her stalker. But I can assure you that I was terrified and lived in a constant state of fear.

The look in his eyes sometimes while he was in the pursuit of stalking me was down right freaky. He would follow me no matter who I was with too. As his antics increased, I made sure I was never alone. But it didn’t matter. And the unlucky people that were with me to see that look in his eyes confirmed that it was like some kind of evil.

I did have a restraining order issued against him but he would constantly ignore it. It did at least give me the right to call 911 at any point that he violated it. The crazy thing was that he wasn’t afraid to get caught. Sometimes he would actually WAIT for the police to arrive to carry him away. Was this a cry for help? Did he want someone to save him? Did he want me to try to save him? What was it?

He was probably mentally unstable. That is all I can figure. But I do hope that he found the help he needed and is fully reformed. He obviously had some kind of underlying unaddressed issues.

He sufficiently messed me up in the head for a significant amount of time. It is a really strange feeling to think you are being watched, listened in on, spied on – at any given moment – for months. I would be so careful to be aware and sneaky and I would think I was in the clear and then suddenly – out of nowhere…he would come flying at me on foot or by car. It was truly bizarre.

And then there was the manipulation. When my stalker would call or see me he would verbally abuse me and say awful things about my appearance, my character, and just mentally and emotionally tear me apart. That was probably the hardest part. The physical part was terrifying in it’s own right, but the verbal and mental abuse gets inside your head like a poison.

To make matters worse his parents got into the scene to defend him because they felt like their family name was becoming tarnished by this whole embarrassing incident. They hired a big shot lawyer to try to attack MY character and claim that I was the one causing the whole mess! In the phone tap I had not only harassing calls from him, but also from his mom! ?? It was more than I could process and take.

Another thing that struck me was a few times when I was being attacked…no one helped. One time in particular he was beating me up and throwing me down some concrete stairs in my apartment complex and a few people actually opened their doors to “see” what was going on, and quietly closed their doors again and pretended they didn’t see anything! This made me feel like I was in a Twilight Zone episode even more. I realize now they may have been afraid for their own safety…but seriously…how do you do that? At least call 911 folks!

My college roommates started fearing the situation…they contemplated moving out. That is when I finally cancelled my enrollment, packed up and headed back home. That sucked. Letting someone win like that, but at that point, I had no life and it was seriously impacting others. I had been reduced to a scared, jittery rabbit, had to be escorted by campus police everywhere, and my roommates were rightly exhausted with the drama.

I do have to say that the investigator that was assigned to my case, was really nice and I give him a lot of credit. Even though Ohio Bell was on legal documents he was my real hero. He provided a lot of detailed supporting evidence that helped Ohio Bell’s case. I wish I remembered his name. I remember thinking I would like to thank him. I don’t remember if I ever did. I was such a mess.

It took some time to stop looking over my shoulder once it ended. Moving to a different city helped quite a bit, but your mind can play tricks on you when you are scared and for awhile anyone that looked remotely like him or had a car like his scared me to death. It was a very strange power that he held over me…that I apparently “allowed” him to hold over me. I would actually start physically shaking so bad sometimes that I could hardly walk right and my teeth would uncontrollably chatter like I was freezing to death when it warm outside. Weird.

I used to be afraid that one day he would just snap and find me again. I thought he might blame for his criminal record or something. I almost hesitated getting a FB account and creating a blog with my real name and all that. But at some point you just have to stop being the prey. And it has been like 17 years now…so I figure I am probably safe.

I mean…people will find you if they really want to find you. No matter how elusive you try to be. I could live the rest of my life in hiding, under some false sense of captivity…of I can choose to live a normal life like everyone else.

I am glad this is so far removed from me now that I rarely even think about it. The emotions are gone. The fear is gone. The only reason I am reflecting about it now is because of the young woman in the news.

They are going to go after the official that didn’t issue a restraining order. She definitely should have been granted a restraining order, but I hope it doesn’t detract from the real issue. The person who didn’t issue the restraining order didn’t kill this girl…the stalker did. A piece of paper doesn’t stop someone with a gun.

My heart goes out to the family members and young husband left behind to pick up the pieces.