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Though this is titled “The Aftermath Of Having A Stalker”, I don't truly know if the nightmare will ever end. I don't know that the anxiety attacks and triggered paranoia will completely go away. I don't know that I won't ever stop looking over my own shoulder in public. I don't know that I won't have to fear for my safety and the safety of my children, because of a person I've never known.
In late 2011, my life path crossed with the path of a lost soul. A soul whose only outlet was to cause pain to others to make themselves feel better- or rather they tried to feel better. 2011 was the year that I realized that I had a stalker. I realized that this person had been keeping tabs on me, my relationship, my family….one of the scariest realizations anyone could ever make. To know someone has followed your every move...Watched you, learning your patterns, infiltrated your inner circle, all to make you feel intimidated.
Stalking is defined as the act or an instance of harassing another in an aggressive, often threatening and illegal manner. This includes sending an unwanted communication (whether it be electronic or otherwise), monitoring another person, having people monitor the victim and many other things.
Along with developing an anxiety disorder, I learned just how broken our legal system is in America when I pursued legal action. This stranger wanted to control and destroy my life, and our legal system left me helpless and hopeless many times throughout this ordeal. I believe that a huge aspect of stalking is about control. The person stalking their victim wants control over their lives.
Little did I know that invoking my right to pursue legal action would wind up costing me thousands of dollars, lots of time, lots of heartaches, and a decimated reputation that I had to bounce back from. Throughout the legal process, many attempts were made by my stalker to take away my right to free speech. They wanted to silence me from telling others what was happening to me. Almost every aspect of my life was under their thumb. Almost...
I fought like hell to keep them away from me, and to keep my family safe.
After being granted a protective order, that stood in place throughout the duration of the ensuing legal battle, I experienced vexatious litigation at the hands of my stalker.
Vexatious litigation is when a person abuses the legal system to intimidate another individual, usually trying to get the victim in the matter to drop charges or using legal action as a form of harassment to another. I experienced this when my stalker began filing multiple civil actions and criminal charges against me, in multiple counties across the state that we both resided in. It was a whirlwind of unknown circumstances. Before pursuing a protective order I had never been through the legal system for anything, much less anything criminal. In the state where we lived, anyone can go to a Magistrate with an allegation and file criminal charges against another without having any sort of investigation or evidence to the contrary. A huge problem that I seek to change one day.
When I had been granted my restraining order, the person stalking me used the legal system as a bargaining chip. They wanted me to voluntarily have the restraining order against them dismissed and in lieu, they would drop the civil and criminal actions they brought forth. Being a person that believes in integrity, I was not willing to make any sort of deal with an IMHO, crazy stranger who had inserted themselves into my life with the intent to harm me and my family. No f****** way.
This series is about how I dealt with it and bounced back.
This series is about how racism affected my case, with me being both the victim of stalking and an African American woman in a rural part of the southeast. This series is about how I learned just how broken our legal system is. How I prevailed and persevered through the thick of it, and what my life is like now as a result.
To say that this situation was disturbing would be an understatement.
It's been incredibly hard for me to not take this personally, though I partially do. I try to not take it personally because I was not the only victim in this case. I was not the only victim of this stalker. This particular person. But also, how do you not take in personally when someone forces their way into your life, into your career, into your marriage, and attempts to rip every part of your life to shreds? More importantly, why did it happen?
I still have many unanswered questions. I've spent much time researching Stalking, talking with stalking victims who have similar stories as mine, attorney's who have dealt with stalking cases...and still the question of "Why?" does not have any one definitive answer. People who stalk others vary like the weather varies during Hurricane season. Literally, just like a surprise box of chocolates... you never know what you are going to get, and what you get is never great to be on the receiving end of.
This is my story about how a stranger affected my everyday life for a number of years, and my fight to force them to keep away.