A Warning to My Readers & Friends
This is a long post, but a very important one. If you don't want to read it all, please skip ahead to the part of the post in red font:
that is the warning itself. PLEASE READ IT.
This is a subject I have very purposefully avoided talking about on this blog. Part of me felt that it would detract from my main function here, which is to bluntly and frankly disclose a life with multiple sclerosis. Another part of me felt that the best policy was to remain silent, to not "feed the fire" as it were.
And then, last night, I was watching a re-run of "Law & Order: SVU" when Detective Olivia Benson (played by the lovely Mariska Hargitay) said something that struck close to my heart. I don't have the exact quote, but the gist was this: stalking is almost never prosecuted unless it escalates to violence. And millions of people are being stalked in America today.
It's time for me to stop worrying about "feeding the fire," and stop using the excuse that this is an MS blog. It's more than that; it's a testimony of MY life. And part of my life is this reality:
For almost seventeen years, I've been a victim of stalking.
He's an old boyfriend, someone I dated when I was quite young. I'll call him "Adam."
I dated Adam years and years ago. Towards the end of that relationship, I began to notice some changes in Adam's behavior. Changes that raised serious red flags for me, because I had seen it all before: my older brother is schizophrenic. I remember very well, the slow and painful descent into mental illness my brother endured. And now, Adam was going through it, too.
I don't want to get into too many details. It was all so long ago, and I am quite private about much of it. What I will say is that by the time it was all over, I had been abused in numerous ways and even had my life threatened more than once. The laws in those days were unhelpful or nonexistent. I had police officers ask me what I had done to "provoke" Adam. And when he began to follow me everywhere I went, when he began to call over and over again, there was nothing they could or would do about it.
So my husband, kids and I moved 2500 miles away. It took him a year to find me. My life since has been an endless round of court appearances, restraining orders, stalking orders, detailing phone calls and filing away police business cards. It should be said that the police in Portland have been just wonderful to me, so helpful and kind. But as Adam is a transient, and purposefully puts nothing in his name (and often goes by an alias), prosecuting him has been difficult. Even serving him with a restraining order is an almost impossible task. He is arrested frequently in other states, but often let go before anyone knows he's wanted elsewhere. It is frustrating, for me and for the good detectives who have worked my case over the years.
Now here comes the warning...
My stalker has shown up again. He emailed my son, sent me a message through Facebook, and has attempted to contact several of my friends and relatives. "Adam's" account is now gone. This does not, of course, keep him from creating dummy accounts or enlisting help to continue to harass me and my family.
Adam is very charming, and very manipulative. He is a master at making you believe the two of you are great friends, and then spinning a sob story to get you to talk to me on his behalf.
If anyone contacts you, wanting info about me, PLEASE let me know so I can inform the police. If it's electronically, copy & paste it and email it to me. Do not engage him or respond to him; it is not worth it. Do not believe his stories. They are engineered to take advantage of well-meaning people with big hearts. You should also know that it is a violation of the restraining and stalking orders for him to contact me through third persons. It's against the law for you to do so; again, he is not worth it. Despite what he says, he is not interested in my forgiveness. He just wants to have contact with me, to continue to harass me and my family.
My friends and family have to have private accounts on social networks because of him. The sacrificies we have all had to make, because of him, are too numerous to count.
I considered taking down this blog, and then decided against it. I have given up too much already, for him. I think about the people who have contacted me because of this blog, who are going through the initial stages of MS and just want some support or guidance. I think about how freeing it is, to be able to share here, to vent sometimes. He's taken enough from me. I have drawn the line. I hope I don't regret it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I refuse to let this aspect of my life become the focal point, and I hope it's the last time I have to post about it. As always, prayers and good-wishes are welcomed.