Updated: May 26
I am 26 years old and have been a victim of stalking for the past 6 years. This whole situation started when I was sitting alone in the cafeteria on my first day of college and this guy walked up to me and asked if he could sit at my table. I regretfully said sure because I had class in 5 minutes anyway. Not long after that he added me on every social media platform— I didn’t even realize I was being stalked until 2 years later when I ran into him at an open mic night and he came up to me to start a conversation. I didn't think anything of it until the next day when he started sending me bizarre messages on Snapchat. He found my phone number and started texting me non-stop, asking me to hang out and wouldn’t take no for an answer. After a day or two I got a weird feeling that he was going to find out where I worked and come into the bar to see me. Sure enough, that is exactly what he did. But when he came in he told the hostess he was coming to visit his “girlfriend” and when she asked him who his girlfriend was he said “Simone”. If that wasn’t weird enough, he walked up to me, PRETENDED TO NOT KNOW WHO I WAS and then said, “Excuse me, miss? Do you know where the bathrooms are?” Just that interaction alone sent chills down my spine and I just had a really bad feeling. He started showing up to my job EVERY SINGLE SHIFT I WORKED.
The first few times my managers didn't want to kick him out, but once they realized this person was not in his right state of mind, they convinced me to file for an order of protection (OP). Upon filing, I was granted an emergency OP that was only active for 2 weeks and then they set a court date to see if the judge thought it was worthy of being extended. The longest they can keep this kind of OP active in my state is 2 years—then they make you file for another extension. So after I was granted the emergency order, he showed up to my job again and they couldn’t arrest him because he hadn’t been served the OP. A week after he was served, he was waiting outside of my job watching me leave from the day shift before he went inside. He ended up getting away before the police got there so he wasn’t arrested. That exact situation of evading arrest went on to happen over 30+ times over the time span of me working there—I don't even know the actual number because I stopped counting.
In the case of a stalking no-contact order, you have the option to put down an alternate address if you prefer because everything you include in the OP, the stalker can also see. So instead of using my own address, my best friend let me use hers because she knew he didn’t like her (she had confronted him at my job when he showed up there the second time). So when my stalker got the OP he thought that her address was MY address. Looking back, I wish I never used her address. I feel horrible that her family has to be worried about him too now.
On the day the emergency OP was set to expire (at 6pm) I had to be in court at 10am to prove to the judge that this OP needed to be extended in order to keep me "safe" (Legally, of course. After all it’s “just a piece of paper”…) So, the judge ended up extending the OP to a 2 year stalking no-contact order where he is not allowed to be within 1,000 feet of me or the addresses listed. I thought I was protected, but at 8pm that night I got a phone call from my best friend and she told me that he came to her house, knocked on her door, and kept asking to see me. They called the police but they couldn’t arrest him because he hadn’t been served the new order yet. This cycle of showing up and getting away went on for months before he was arrested for the first time. He was in jail for 3 days and released on bond. The first thing he did after getting out of jail? Went to the shooting range with his father to go practice using his dad’s AR-15 and a few other types of guns. His dad publicly posted the pictures of this outing on Facebook 🙃
He started showing up again and getting away for a few more months before he was arrested for the second time. That time, he was only locked up for a week. At this point, the police had to escort me to and from work and one squad car was stationed behind the building during every shift I worked.
When he got out, the cycle repeated until he was arrested for a THIRD time and he was in custody indefinitely until the first trial.
At the trial, I had to go and give a victim impact statement to the judge. I went with my mom and dad and kept my eyes on the ground to avoid eye contact. After they brought the people in custody into the courtroom I heard my mom say “WHAT IS HE DOING? WHAT THE F*CK IS HE DOING?” I didn't look up until right before he got dragged out of the courtroom. This man, hands and legs cuffed, started running across the courtroom toward me. That moment is forever engrained in my nightmares.
After that, the court didn’t believe it was safe for me to be in the courtroom with him so I had to mail in my statement. He ended up being found “not guilty by reason of insanity”.
He was then relocated to a state mental health facility, indefinitely. Which was honestly the best-case scenario because he wasn’t allowed to leave unless a doctor verified that he was “of sound mind”. Great, right?
Wrong. He ended up calling me nearly every day, leaving me disturbing and perverted voicemails, writing me letters that were very unsettling and I reported EVERYTHING. He was charged with violating the OP and sent back to the jail.
The court started preparing for the next trial, he continued to write me letters—this time addressing it to “Wendy Williams” instead of using my name, but they still got delivered to my best friend’s house. As his court cases went on, the state’s attorneys would fill me in on what was happening with his trial. They told me he was going to be released and it could be 2 weeks - 6 months but they couldn’t declare him insane because this time he “was aware of his actions and the consequences”. He had manipulated the court. He was released not long after that in the summer of 2021. Since he has been released, I've gotten calls from blocked numbers and fake accounts adding me and watching me on social media. I know it's him but he hasn’t been arrested because I can’t prove that it is him.
This situation has TRAUMATIZED me. I am not the same person I was before this all started. And the amount of damage and paranoia and trauma this stranger has inflicted on my life is unbelievable. But I am also stronger than I was before this.
When this all started I went to a few different police officers and departments for help and most of the officers brushed me off and acted like it wasn’t a big deal and assumed that because they referred to him as an “estranged ex-boyfriend”. 🙃. Eventually, I went to the county sheriff's department. The police sergeant had worked with a lot of women’s protection resources and homes for sex trafficking victims. He was the first person in law enforcement that took me seriously and made it known that this was an abnormal situation and a dangerous person— he has become a good friend of mine to this day. He told me how I’ve done everything right in this situation even though it didn’t stop the stalker. I saved everything/reported everything/prepared myself for any possible encounter I might have to face with him. And I didn’t believe that I was doing anything right until recently.
This whole time I’ve held in a lot of my feelings regarding this situation, mostly because I don’t even know what I’m feeling or how to express it. At first I felt like it was my fault—I even felt bad for HIM at one point. 😡 That is not the case anymore. But I’ll be honest, I’m starting to get paranoid and I’m afraid he’s going to find me even though I have a new job and a new place to live. I know he’s going to come for me and I know he will find me eventually. On one of the last voicemails he left me, he called me a b*tch and started telling me it was my fault that he was arrested, that I am the reason his family fell apart, etc. He hasn’t technically ever been violent in the past, just seemingly delusional and convinced we are meant to be together. But the anger in that voicemail is what scares me the most and I know it’s probably the tip of the iceberg of feelings he has buried deep inside.
The past six years, on my birthday, he has always made a point to show up in some way or another. This year, I planned to visit a friend out of town for the weekend just to be safe. I’m still feeling very uneasy but I’m trying to just be prepared, and deal with what is directly in front of me instead of focusing too far in the future or ruminating on the past. I’m just exhausted from having to change so many things in my own life and shift aspects of my lifestyle just because of one self-entitled man who decided that I am a possession that “belongs” to him. F*CK THAT.
Although I am aware that 1 in 6 men have been victims of stalking, I wanted to share my specific story for the women. Due to the patriarchal society we live in, as women we have been conditioned to just “be nice” “don't make him feel bad” “don't be rude to strangers” making ourselves small, uncomfortable, and disregarding our own gut feelings in order to not make men “uncomfortable” or hurt their feelings. How sick is that. There NEEDS to be accountability and crimes like this need to be taken more seriously.
After going through all of this I feel like it is important that women are empowered to be assertive, protect their space and enforce boundaries with people who make them uncomfortable before it turns into something darker and puts them in danger. This kind of situation is way more common than I realized. And there are MANY people like my stalker who are walking among us, who we would never suspect. Awareness of that fact is so important. Unfortunately, in cases like this, we have to be our own advocates most of the time. But resources like this are so extremely important and valuable. Creating a safe place to turn and having community to confide in makes a huge difference. It is powerful and healing to know I’m not alone. I wish I had known that there were resources available 6 years ago! But I’m happy to be here now. I have been pretty vocal in stalking awareness from the beginning, that is just who I am and who I will continue to be, but I am so grateful to have resources to share with victims that I might encounter in the future. Thank you for providing a space to share my story.