Stalking is more common and damaging than we realize. According to the national center for victims of crime, stalking commonly occurs in intimate relationships that are about to end. The statistics show that fifty nine percent of women and thirty percent of men are stalked by an intimate partner. The statistics also show that eighty seven percent of stalkers are men. Eighty one percent of women who were stalked by an intimate partner were also physically assaulted by them.
How damaging is stalking? According to the national center for victims of crime, those who are stalked suffer from anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction and severe depression. Stalking causes extreme emotional stress due to the endless fear one is subjected to. Stalking can cause emotional damage that can last a lifetime. Here it is, ten years later, and I'm still fearing the sounds of people knocking on doors and walking through dried up leaves or snow. I always took these sounds for granted, that is, until I was the target of a stalker for five long years.
My nightmare began in the winter, shortly after we have moved into our home, just three months after having our fourth child. The first incident occurred while my husband and I were sleeping in our bedroom on the first floor. I was awakened by someone knocking loudly on the front door at about 3 o'clock in the morning. Frightened, I woke up my husband and he went to see who was at the door. He quickly opened the door, but no one was there. To lessen my fear, my husband convinced me that it was possibly kids just playing around. Feeling reassured by his response, I went back to sleep. The knocking continued, however, and I was no longer convinced that it was just kids playing around. We called the police but they could not do much because we could identify who was causing the disturbance.
My marriage, unfortunately, ended two years later. I stayed in the house with the children until things were settled. My mother and sister lived with during this time. The stalking continued but the harassment was getting worse. Not only was this stalker knocking at the front door but he was also knocking on the windows in different parts of the house. The stalker's presence was unpredictable. He would come around on random days and at different time frames and would harass me about three to four times a week. Sound was the only way he would let me know of his presence. I can hear him whistling, knocking on my windows and doors and walking through dried up leaves and snow, but I could not see him.
Desperate to get his identity, I set up a video camera on a tri-pod to tape activity by the front door. I was so desperate to catch him that I also set up a baby monitor outside to alert me of his presence. I set the video timer to record overnight. I would watch the video tape the next morning, hoping to get a glimpse of his identity. Unfortunately, this stalker knew what I was doing and began knocking at the opposite end of where I set up the video camera. All of my efforts to catch him, seem to go to waste.
By the summer, the knocking incidents seem to stop so I invited my nephew to sleep over one night. My son and nephew slept in the family room while I slept on the sofa to watch over them. I was awakened by the sound of the dog barking around 3:30 am in the morning. I opened my eyes only to see this stalker trying to break in through the family room door. I yelled for my mother and sister to call the police as I was getting the children out of the room. Since then, no one could sleep over our house. Another day, my mother, sister and I went down to see my brother who lives about an hour away from our house. When we returned, the family room door was wide open. I called the police again but they could not do much because we could not identify the stalker. I then went out to the hardware store and purchased four locks and put them on the family room door.
I was injured from a sledding accident back in December of 1995. I tore ligaments in my left knee and was on crutches and a locked leg brace which prevented me from moving my left leg. I was so glad that my bedroom was on the first floor because it would of been a struggle for me to go up and down the stairs. My mother and sister slept upstairs along with two of the children, while I slept in the first floor bedroom with my youngest one, who was still in the crib. One night, while I was sleeping, I woke up to the dog barking at the window beside my bed. I opened my eyes to see this stalker watching me through the window, which was just inches from my face! I was so frightened, I could not move. I eventually turned away from his stare and began screaming for help. My sister called the police while my mother was tending to the children.
The police arrived and told me that I am the target of this stalker and had to move upstairs. They began to tell me about the patterns of stalking behaviors. The officer told me that some stalkers get a thrill out of their victims not knowing who they are. Secondly, they begin to show up and lastly, when you least expect it, they appear in physical form and kill.
The police officers told me that the stalker can see me calling them. They told me to slide down a wall away from the window whenever I needed to call them. They told me not to go out alone but if I had to, someone was to watch me get in and out of my car. Moving up to the second floor was difficult. Because I was in a locked leg brace with crutches, I had to sit down and pull myself up each step to get to the second floor and then sit down and slide down each step to get to the first floor. I had to do this for about thirteen weeks. One night, my daughter and I were walking the dogs in the front yard. The stalker threw a rock toward us, but missed and hit the side of the house. My daughter and I quickly ran into the house, locked the doors and called the police.
The stalker continued harassing me, but the harassment was getting worse. This stalker was now tampering with my car. My car hoses were cut, sometimes I would have brakes, the next minute I wouldn't. I found out that this stalker was draining the brake fluid from my car when I opened the trunk of my car one day. I found fifteen bottles of brake fluid scattered in the trunk of my car, some were empty and some were full. Another day, I drove down to my brother's house to see my father who was in town. At the end of the visit, my father walked me out to my car. Watching me back out of the parking space, my father noticed that something was wrong with my car and told me to stop the car. My father noticed wires hanging from the trunk of my car and asked me to open the trunk so that he could access the wires. He told me that someone reversed the wires to my signals.
Anticipating an early death
Another day, I received a strange phone call from a woman working at a cemetery. She called me because someone told her that I needed a burial plot. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to say. She told me that someone told her that I needed a plot in the near future and that the plot is ready. She expressed sorrow that my life was going to end so soon. I told her that I was not sick. She said that I sounded to young to be needing a plot and then asked me how old I was. From that day on, I began anticipating an early death and realized that I may not die from natural causes. I received another call from another cemetery that was similar to this call.
I eventually had to move from the house because it was becoming too dangerous to stay. I never did find out the identity of my stalker but he left a negative impact on my life. Since then, I become nervous whenever I hear someone knocking at the door, whistling or walking through dried up leaves or snow. Because I never found out the identity of my stalker, I remain anxious and fearful, wondering if he will approach me someday.
If you or someone you know is being stalked, please get help. For information, contact the national center for victims of crime @ http://www.ncvc.orghttp://www.ncvc.org or call 1-800 -FYI -CALL between the hours of 8:30 am- 8:30 pm.