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  • Writer's pictureStop Stalking Us

Fiona's Story

I'm a 23 year old Neuroscience PhD student and I was stalked from January 2021-December 2022. It started with a 4 year long on-and-off abusive relationship that lasted from the end of high school until I was months away from graduating college. 

The stalking first began around the time of my first real attempt to leave the relationship after I was physically assaulted for the first time. We were long distance, so he was cyberstalking me through excessive texts and calls from fake numbers and hacking into my social media accounts to post offensive things. He even messaged my mother inappropriately and emailed my boss/school a bunch of lies trying to get me fired/expelled. Somehow a few months later, as abusive relationships go, he caught me in an emotionally vulnerable place, and managed to coerce me back into the relationship, claiming he had undergone therapy. From then on, the physical violence and emotional blackmail escalated, and I was finally ready to leave him again in March 2022 after being accepted into a graduate PhD program in a big city. Afterwards, he kept reaching out, at first pretending to just want to be friendly, but he quickly became possessive. His behavior made me resort to no-contact, despite fearing the stalking would begin again.

Two months later, it did. He started messaging me plane tickets, saying he would be showing up at my apartment the next day with a gift. He sent hundreds of text messages, called hundreds of times from many different numbers. Fearing for my safety, I called the local police, and they issued a warrant for cyberstalking. He was alerted of this, and didn't show up to avoid being arrested.

Once again, he emailed my boss. But this time, he also emailed the dean of my graduate program, making up serious and damaging allegations to try to ruin my career. I was humiliated. I decided to try to file for a civil DVPO (domestic violence protection order). To make a long story short, he didn't show up for the DVPO hearing, so it was granted to me. However, the contact through random numbers continued, and the police refused to act as they could not trace them back to him.

In August 2022, I moved to a new city to begin my graduate program. Somehow, he found out my exact move-in day, and flew to the city the same exact day I arrived. As soon as I got to my school, I met with a security officer and had them put his picture up at the front desk of the residence hall. Within a few weeks, the cyberstalking picked up again. Messages from random social media accounts, texts from fake numbers, emails, voicemails etc. By October, I had filed 9 separate police reports. This time, the messages contained threats to rape me, and said things like "I'm out walking around looking for you, where are you". At this point, I told the director of my program I didn't feel safe going to classes anymore, and started taking all of my courses remotely. A few days later, one of my first days in a new research rotation, I received a panicked call from the manager of my residence building (a mere 2 blocks away). All he said was "He's here." He had been sitting outside the building, waiting for me to leave or enter. Security gave me a hat and big coat to hide myself with and escorted me from my lab through a back entrance of the residence hall as he stood only a few-hundred feet away. He ran before the police arrived but they arrested him after he was caught stealing a few hours later.

He was in jail (one of the worst in the entire country) for a week before his family bailed him out. He messaged me again 36 hours later on facebook - another fake account. Less than 12 hours later, as I was getting ready for bed, I received a call from the manager of my building. He asked if I was expecting any visitors. I wasn't. He said a man who claimed his name was "Michael Smith" and "was not my stalker" was downstairs, saying he met me on Tinder and requesting to be let up to my apartment, which he knew the exact number of. They said he was refusing to show ID. I was confused, and told them not to let him up. I went to bed, still confused, and was woken up around 1 am by a call from a police officer. He was asking questions about my stalker. When I asked what it was about, he told me a man had come to my building an hour prior and smashed the front door with a metal pipe. He needed me to identify him from the security footage collected earlier in the evening. There he was, "Michael Smith" - my stalker with his facial hair grown out, glasses on, and a backpack that contained the metal pipe. I'll never know what would've happened if he managed to be let up to my apartment. It took well over a month for him to be arrested again. I was unable to leave my apartment. The only reason they got him was because he went into a psychotic episode and called the police on himself. They found him smiling and catatonic/unresponsive so he was put in a psych ward for a month before returning to jail.

Five months later he was released through a "mental health court" program that has put him in an all-expenses-paid cushy, modern 1-bedroom apartment in the city with mental health resources attached, and he's free to leave as he pleases. He's made more fake social media accounts to try to contact me with since, but the ADA refuses to hold him accountable. This May, all of his charges will be dropped for his "good behavior", and he will be let off supervision. I still can't even get my school to agree to re-house me in one of their other residential buildings. Not the happiest ending, but now I volunteer with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence around the city, and that has been healing.

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