I put an ad for my business in my temple’s program to get new clients. I couldn’t have imagined this innocent act could ramp up into a blindsiding stalker situation that I didn’t expect as a woman in my 60s, in a place I felt so comfortable. He used my contact information and started peppering me with questions. Then he came to my home to deliver flowers. He would stand near me in the social hall after services, eavesdropping and then using that information to contact my children. Now my prayers in the sanctuary included, “Dear God, let him leave me alone today.” I felt alone. Haunted, Hunted.
Then I learned that I wasn’t the only single woman enduring him. Another said he showed up once in her driveway at night. Another said he also asked probing questions. Thankfully, our Rabbi was supportive. I was lucky. The Rabbi didn’t try to tell me it was my imagination. Or that the guy was harmless because of his age. He truly listened and offered his help as a buffer.
Another friend and I reported the incidents to the police when his behavior escalated. He followed me to my car. He followed me into the grocery store. He wrote letters to my son-in-law, then contacted my son-in-law’s family.
The situation was uncomfortable, creepy, and annoying. He had a profound impact on me. I tried to dress plainly so as not to attract compliments from him, although he commented anyway. I changed my schedule in order to arrive early at services to park close to the security officer. I altered what I said aloud to other congregants. All in the “safety” of my long-time house of worship.
And I reflected. About the women in these situations that don’t have support, or anyone who will listen or respect their feelings. Violated, misunderstood, dismissed, “crazy”. From all the HIMs that won’t accept NO.
My stalker doesn’t bother me anymore - he died of natural causes. It shouldn’t take death to put an end to stalking. There needs to be more understanding and support for targets of stalking. This is now what I pray for, for all of us.