Finding Freedom From My Stalker
Monday, 8am. He drove past the bus stop where I was standing and waiting for a bus to take me to work. He got out of his car, came closer and spoke to me. Again. I can’t remember what he said. My body was tense, my eyes filled up with tears and anger. I told him to leave. I warned him I will call the Police if he does not leave me alone. People standing around watched us, but no one reacted. His body was shivering, his eyes big and bold. Like a drug addict, desperately trying to receive his daily amount of stimulant. Then he left. He reappeared in 20 minutes outside my workplace. He said nothing. He kept walking past staring at me. Again, and again. Then he left, only to reappear the day after, and then almost every day for four years.
I met him at University. He was smart, friendly, and chatty. We have dated for few months, but I just did not see it as a long-term relationship. One day I ended it, I said we could be friends. There were no red flags to prepare me for what I was about to experience.
He kept coming into my workplace. He continued texting and calling me. I tried to be nice at first, thinking it will pass. He needed time to get through the break-up. Fair enough. It never stopped. I told him many times to stop bothering me. I stopped replying, I blocked him on social media. I made it clear, but he did not understand.
His obsessive and compulsive behaviour became disruptive and manipulative. He used his computing skills to hack my emails, my social media accounts, and my University account. He knew my Uni timetable. He knew my working hours. He appeared in the most random places. He tried to get a job in a company where I worked as an Intern at the time. He wrote a Blog about me and our relationship. He emailed me pretending to be someone else. He created enormous amount of fake Facebook profiles, and he called me from private numbers during the night. He was everywhere.
Thankfully, I received a lot of support from a friend. He was the first one who identified this behaviour as stalking. I was determined to stop it. I spent many hours at the Police Station writing Personal and Victim Statements, Chronological List of Events, and collecting evidence – emails, texts, photographs.
I had to change my daily routine. I changed my job. I changed my usual route to University and changed my usual times I would leave the house. I always tried to have someone with me when outside. I changed my phone number, changed my passwords. I had a personal alarm always with me, I had an alarm installed at my house, and an app installed on my phone to contact the Police.
Throughout those four years, I suffered from severe stress, anxiety, depression, panic attacks. I also suffered from a post-traumatic stress disorder. However, I received a lot of practical support from two organisations that deal with stalking and harassment: Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Paladin. I also attended counselling for two months to help me deal with my mental wellbeing. All my efforts and determination were worth it at the end. The Crown Court found him guilty of committing the criminal offence.
It has been nearly two years since, and I am enjoying the freedom. My mental health has improved incredibly, and I find it easier to make friends and enjoy life. Moreover, my aim is to make the most of my negative experiences to help other victims of stalking, to provide support and guidance and turn it into something positive.