Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is “Molly”, I’m a late twenties writer living in Virginia. I grew up here and only pretend to hate my slight accent. I love travel, books, crepes, makeup— all the good things.
When were you stalked?
I was stalked when I was 17. It lasted for about a year. It started the summer before my senior year of high school and didn’t completely end until I was in my first year of college.
Who was your stalker?
I had known the guy who stalked me since fourth grade. We were both on the cross country team and we hung out with the same folks. We were really good friends for the last couple years leading up until when he started acting strange. He definitely considered me his best friend. He was a year older than I was, so he’d just graduated and was headed to college when he lost it and things started. I think something about moving away affected him and helped set him off.
How did it begin and how did you deal with it?
It actually began with him telling me something about a party a little bit down the road (we lived out in the country). We drove to the house and no one was home. What followed was a sexual assault. The odd thing about my story is that it begins with sexual assault and then turns into stalking afterwards.
I didn’t deal with it very well. My parents and I did as much as we could do to get the law involved. We got a restraining order. Unfortunately, after the assault, I came home and told no one and did nothing, so there wasn’t a lot the police could do without any evidence. Although, he did leave these really disgusting letters in my car about what he’d done to me during the assault. But that wasn’t enough evidence.
The peak of the stalking was that winter when he started coming into the house and watching me sleep. After a few weekends of feeling like I was crazy for feeling like someone was in the house, I actually woke up with him standing in the doorway of my bedroom. This was about four months after the assault.
My nerves were completely shot. Even though it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, my fight or flight kicked into gear and I ended up chasing him out of the house. I’m not sure what I would have done if I’d caught him. I think by then I was at my wits’ end, and so I believed I’d be able to hurt him if I could get my hands on him.
By that point, I was really starting to deal with the assault, I’d almost completely stopped eating because my nerves were shot, and I wasn’t sleeping much as you’d imagine.
How did the stalking affect your daily life?
The stalking took over most of my everyday life. I was constantly nervous and developed ulcers. My parents were afraid to leave me alone, so my dad would sit outside of the shoe store I worked at some evenings. I’d close the store alone, and my parents were afraid the guy would catch me in there or on my way out to my car.
I can’t really describe what it felt like to basically have to accept that I wasn’t really safe. Part of me actually felt better once I started to admit that. And I remember that it really frustrated me that my parents wanted to convince me that they could keep me safe. To me, that was refusing to acknowledge what was really happening. I don’t think parents can be prepared to deal with something like that.
What finally put an end to it?
After I woke up with him in the house, I finally told one of my friends about the assault and about what was happening—she was sleeping over that night, so she was asleep in my bed with me. I felt terrible and still do that she experienced what it’s like to wake up with an intruder in the home.
She went home and told her brother almost right away. He was my stalker’s age and was friends with him. Her brother was in a group of generally nerdy, skateboard-riding guys that I was good friends with. Those guys got in someone’s car and drove the four hours south to my stalker’s college. I’m not sure what happened.
I know that the guy was okay afterward because I did hear from him after that, but I think they did what they could to convince him that they’d hurt him if he didn’t leave me alone. We’d all grown up in this tiny place with a high school of about 300 kids. We were all close, and we all knew each other. In that way, it makes me sad that something like that would blow up such a calm circle of friends
What advice would you give to others dealing with something similar?
That’s a hard question. I guess I’d advise anyone going through something similar to try to get the police involved as much as possible. In my case, my stalker came to see me the very next day after he was served with the restraining order. That was his way of letting me know it wasn’t going to affect him. But not getting the police involved won’t help either, and there’s a chance they may be able to do something.
I’d also suggest that they talk to people about what’s happening; my not talking to anyone about it only left me feeling more crazy and isolated. Things got harder once my friends knew what was happening, but it also made what was happening more real to me—in a good way. I think we sometimes have a tendency to try to keep something from being entirely real by just not telling anyone about it.
Have any of you been stalked? Any questions for Molly?