Stina Lindenblatt’s hosting this blog hop in honor of people who have been stalked. She’ll be donating $1 to a woman’s emergency shelter for every entry into her blog hop, so if you haven’t joined in yet, do. You have until Friday to post.
I’d entered the blog hop because I thought it was a great cause. Stina, I know you asked for a 500 word limit, but I just can’t cut this down. I think it’s important that people see how stalking escalates, and I thought I’d do it with my own experience.
In my senior year at high school, I’d befriended a guy over the internet who’d go to the same university as me. I’d thought it was a good idea, because I would move cross country with only one friend as support. So it made sense to make another ahead of time.
But as our meeting day came closer, I realized things weren’t right. He’d lied to me about stuff. The typical stuff a guy with low self-esteem would lie about. Then, if I moved away from my computer or phone for five minutes, I’d return to find he’d sent me twenty messages. All demanding to know why I ignored him. Where I went. What I was doing. Demanding to know what he’d done to deserve such bad treatment.
If it happened once, I might have ignored it. But it happened every time I spent time away from the messaging service. Even if I only left to go to the bathroom.
Needless to say, this freaked me out. I called the meeting off. This upset him. Badly. I wasn’t worried, though. I thought I could vanish in over 20 000 students.
But on the first day I went to accounting, he was in my class. To this day I don’t know if it was coincidence or not.
I ignored him.
He sent me a message during the lecture, asking me what I’d do if he just came up and sat down next to me. This question might seem silly, but it gave me chills.
Why? Because I’d made a choice not to meet him, and he was toying with the idea to ignore this choice and force his will onto me.
I replied that I’d report him to my lecturer.
Once again, he peppered me with messages. Demanding to know if I was seeing someone else, and if that was what was holding me back. He insisted that I should meet him. Insisted that I was being an idiot to act this way. About the fiftieth message gave me a real taste of what it was like to be stalked.
It said something like: “If I sat down next to you right now, you wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it.”
And that’s the essence of it. Being stalked forces the victim into a place where it feels as if they have no control. They can’t control the stalker. They can’t stop him, can’t make him leave them alone.
This was the first time in my life I was afraid of a specific person. I told him to back off and deleted him from my contact list. That didn’t mean that I stopped seeing him at accounting every day.
Nothing happened for a few months, but then he asked me to accept him as a contact. I was sitting with one of my friends at a restaurant. We talked about it, and I decided that maybe I’d over reacted. So I did accept.
I was rewarded by this message: “It’s terrible that I can see you, but not touch you.”
I freaked, immediately searching my surroundings. I couldn’t find him, but to this day I’m sure he was there. My every instinct told me he was. This time, I threatened him with everything I had (which really wasn’t much). I said I’d get him on a police record. That I’d get him expelled and screw up his future. Anything I could think of. But even as I typed the words, I knew that wouldn’t make him stop if he didn’t want to.
Once again, I was met with his furious tirade. It terrified me. So much so that I actually considered asking my mom for her pistol. Even when it was illegal to carry on campus. There was no way to stop this guy, and I didn’t feel safe in public.
When he didn’t stop messaging me (telling me what a horrible person I was), I deleted him again. This was one of the most difficult things I’d ever done. It’s incredibly hard to cut off your only measure of a threat.
Fortunately for me, he didn’t try to contact me again. He also stopped coming to my class. But I spent the better part of three years looking over my shoulder after that. Even today, seven years later, I don’t feel comfortable with meandering around out in the open. When I go out, I go from one place to the next. I managed to start jogging, but I could never shake the feeling that I was watched. Even if I knew there was no one to watch me. I dreaded the day he’d confront me in person.
He never did. I never tried to find out what happened to him, instead opting to go on with my life. But I’ll never stop being vigilant. That’s why I’m never specific as to where I live. I’m not ever giving that guy a chance to track me down again.
In my fourth year, I moved in with a girl whose best friend, Erin, was killed by someone who’d fixated on her.
Every time I think of that, I know I was damned lucky. I’d managed to escape my stalker. You’d be shocked if you knew how many people don’t.
Thanks for reading this far.
Before you go, I \want to share some advice I’ve come upon in the years since.
Ten things to do when you suspect or know that you’re being stalked.
1) If someone’s acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable, take action immediately. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s your imagination. It’s not.
Don’t let someone tell you you’re over reacting.
I know shows like Two and a Half Men makes stalkers look cute, quirky and funny. Maybe a bit eccentric. It’s a myth.
People who stalk have serious, destructive mental issues. Sociopathy, narcisism, borderline syndrome, obsession, schizophrenia, psychosis. These are a few I can think of, off the top of my head. Most of these issues means that it won’t mean anything to them to kill you.
Don’t ever underestimate the severity of the danger stalking poses.
2) Believing that you’re somehow in the wrong to insist on privacy makes you more of a stalker’s victim than you already are. Privacy is a basic right. Never forget that.
3) If you’re feeling threatened, report it to the police. Even if there’s no proof. GET IT ON RECORD. That way, if there is proof, someone will see that it’s worst than it looks.
4) NEVER face this alone. Tell as many people as possible. Some people might tell you you’re over reacting. Others won’t, and they’d be aware of the danger if the guy does show up. This help might be just what you need in the end. They can also act as witnesses that you’re being harassed, which is proof for the police.
5) Pepper spray. Tazer. Never leave your house without either or both.
6) Even if you know some self defense, the best defense is to run first. Don’t reason with the person. Odds are they have none. If they confront you, get yourself locked away as soon as you can safely do it. And then you call the police.
7) NEVER go somewhere alone where there won’t be help at hand.
8) Try not to live in fear, but don’t be irresponsible. Be constantly vigilant.
9) Always vary your routine. If you’re being stalked, constancy is your enemy.
10) If ANYTHING gives you a feeling that your stalker is near, call the police. Explain that you’re being stalked and that you’re feeling unsafe.
A good indication of danger is a dog barking. Get one.
Also, invest in an armed security company. If you’re paying them, they HAVE to check your premises as soon as you call. Also, they’ll give you a panic button, which might just save your life.
Never assume you’re doing enough to deter the stalker. There’s always more you can do.
Last thought: guys aren’t safe from stalkers. Female stalkers make up about 15% of all cases recorded in the US. The difference is that the mortality rate of men being stalked is higher than for women. People tend not to believe men are threatened, so if you’re a guy that’s being stalked, you have to do more to make sure people see the threat.
Okay. That’s me for today. I truly hope that none of you reading this ever needs this advice.
Hahahahahahaha… maybe the headline should be supposedly prepping for A-Z.
See… I entered both my blogs. I realized recently that trusting that I’ll just be churning out two posts a day six days a week for a month while adapting to office life
Sadly… I realized this the day before yesterday. So my time is running really low. And I still have to edit. And visit blogs… and… and… and…
Also, my body picked today to pick up a cold/flu virus, so I spent most of my day staring blankly at the computer screen.
I will not lose my handle on the situation, though. I’m just going to do my best to get control over the amount of hours in my day. And then I’m going to get some edits and blog posts done.
What about you? Joined the A to Z Challenge? How are the preparations going?
Rachael Harrie is holding a mini-campaign that will run until 17 March and I signed up. Her campaigns are a great way to meet new bloggers, so if you haven’t yet, go check out how it works and join us campaigners.
For those of you visiting my blog for the first time: Hi! I’m Misha. I mainly write a YA Epic Fantasy, but also have adult books and other genres in the works, in addition to one musical libretto.
I like singing, dancing, stabbing people (fencing), chocolate, writing, reading and now rowing.
I have a deep and profound fascination with swords and daggers, which probably why my beast of an epic contains a lot of swords, but not all that much sorcery.
Uhm… I don’t really know what else to tell you, except to say that I’m really happy that you’re here.
Who else joined the Campaign? In which groups are you?
For today, I decided to go a little off the beaten track with the Novel Films Blogfest. I love reading and watching movies, pretty much equally. So one would think that I would enjoy adaptions.
More often than not, I don’t.
And this blogfest got me wondering why.
And this is what I came up with:
1) I generally don’t like focus shifts. So if we move away from the story for some big budget special effects, I will hate the movie. I’m looking at you Harry Potter franchise.
2) If the movie veers from the story, but still manages to keep the essence (or my sense of it), I’ll love it. For example, Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr.
3) I don’t care if the actors are famous or unknowns, but I care when they can’t carry the role. Probably why Julius Caesar with Marlon Brando as Marc Anthony is still one of my favorite movies. Also, it pretty much stuck to the plot.
4) I don’t care if the book is a bestseller, if the entire story hinges on a massive plot twist, putting it on film might not be a good idea. Because if the ending is changed, I’ll probably hate it. If it isn’t, I’ll spend about two hours bored. Except if the actors are brilliant. And even then I probably won’t care. Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor in one movie. Should be a winner, right? Not if everyone who read the Da Vinci Code decided to read the book before it. And not if the real villain is named in every publication out there. Think about it. It could be possible that fantasy novels and sci fi adapt because of this. I mean, sure there are twists (and I’m building up to a big one), but when it comes to epic, the twists sort of aren’t the point.
5) And finally, books with either very minimal description (where the visual is open to interpretation) or where everything and everyone is described almost exactly adapt better. Because then people who read the book first won’t have a “huh?!” moment. That’s why I think that Chronicles of Narnia adapts well. C.S. Lewis style fosters it. Readers know of everything that’s there, but not in such detail that seeing something in the movie is jarring. Also it’s pretty hard to miss the essence of what Lewis wanted to say. Even in adaption.
That’s my take on it, anyway. What’s your opinion? Am I writing nonsense or did I miss something else? And yes, I am aware that I’m being very controversial about the HP franchise. But that’s only my example, not necessarily the point I’m trying to make…
P.S. Sorry if the picture appear on the right. Wasn’t in the plan. But alas the words “Align Left” mean nothing to Blogger.
Hi all! After being rushed off my feet, I finally managed to sit still long enough to go draw up a list. Unforstunately it isn’t all that refined (as I am once again late on the way somewhere else), but it’s the best I can do.
To think I was being clever when I signed up when the dates clash with classes. > .<
Aaaaanyway. Here’s the list, I’ll probably expand on it later, once I have time.
The Lord of Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
A Christmas Carol
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Man in the Iron Mask
The Three Musketeers
The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Supremacy
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabahn
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer