Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stalking Awareness

You can't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. Sometimes you have to throw things back.
A recent newspaper article in the local paper about my photography mentioned the school where I teach and garnered some unwanted attention from an old acquaintance. At the risk of being too long winded, this person finagled my cell phone number from one of my students through a friend of a friend and seemed harmless enough...an old high school (a very shortlived and quite frankly, unremarkable) boyfriend just trying to catch up.
To make a long story short, hundreds of texts were sent to my phone, most of them unanswered for two weeks until I reiterated that I was seeing Coach, was not going to end that relationship and to please give me space and not text me. The texts intensified, stuffed animals and photographs of this person and his son were left on my front porch. A side gate to my yard was left open allowing my dog to go missing briefly.
I won't sugar coat anything. The texts were downright creepy. After three or four weeks of this with the texts becoming increasingly odd and threatening, I texted back and asked for no further contact. This caused a flurry of angry texts and I had to contact the Sheriff's Department in this neck of the woods.
Here is what I've learned:
1. Men like Coach who are protectors, lovers and best friends don't come along every day and we should thank our lucky stars when they are in our worlds.
2. Stalking is very real. I didn't want to contact the Sheriff's Department about this person's behavior because I didn't want to adversely affect his life. Bottom line: he made the decisions and he was in control of the situation. I should have contacted the department earlier.
3. Famous in a small town is more than a song title. Sometimes through occupation, we are more in the public eye than we realize and we need to be smart.
4. If you or someone in your life goes through a similar experience, support them, encourage them to be aware of their surroundings and contact law enforcement if they feel unsafe or threatened. Many women, especially, suffer from "too nice" and we have to realize that occasionally, we have to take off the catcher's mitts and throw things back.


wambam08 said...

Oh Rachel that is so creapy. To konw that he was at your house, oh my. Your brother here in MO will flip when he reads this. Expect his call....lol. You know another protective one. Thank God you are safe.

Meg said...

I had a stalker my junior and senior years of high school. Scary, scary stuff.