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Stalking stories - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Stalking stories

WE live in a culture where, especially if you are a woman, there is little regard for the concept of personal boundaries – women are catcalled and verbally harassed, and a few perpetrators may get physical.

In many of these situations, the attacks are usually fleeting. However, some predators are so relentless in their efforts to invade the space of their targets that they explore a myriad tactics, including annoying, over charming, haranguing and terrorising in hopes that their victims will yield and grant them access to their person.

We talked to a few victims, who had some disturbing stories of their terrifying experiences at the hands of deranged lovelorn Romeos and Juliets. They recount their chilling tales below.

Cherian, 34, food chemist:

I met an older guy while at UWI. We had drinks a couple of times; he seemed fun, so we started to hang out often. I didn't do as well as I wanted to in the first semester of my second year and just thought that I would step back a little from the social scene, see a few tutors and get back in the game.

Unfortunately, he thought that I was trying to get rid of him. My phone had fallen into the water while I was cooking; he promised to replace it. Well, shortly after this, he started turning up everywhere that I was.

When I started to realise that things were getting too creepy was with all the random run-ins and people saying they saw him at my house, for example, when I was sure I was alone. Out of curiosity, I asked a techy friend to check out my phone.

As I suspected, there was a find my phone or phone tracker app hidden on it. I don't quite remember what it was. That is when I decided to cut things off with him because I didn't trust him. It made him more aggressive, so much so that I had to file a restraining order.

Shannon, 47, HR generalist:

I had been married for six years when I got tired of the abuse and just packed up one evening and my sister helped to leave, with the bare minimum. He is in the security industry so I was always paranoid. My brother who lives in the States decided to sponsor me for a visit there. I was there for two months and had found a little job at Walmart when my estranged husband showed up. He threatened me and I followed him outside. He knew where I lived, was threatening to report me to ICE, knew the places I frequented, and even sexually assaulted me on a few of the occasions. I had to get my brother involved and have him threaten to get the police involved. He left for Jamaica and even as he hasn't been stalking me, he has still been trying to force a relationship. I am fearful of even going on vacation because of it.

Derrick, 44, engineer:

I was married for about five years and pretty much faithful up to that point. Anyway, I met a girl at a party and was checking her for a few months before her man found out. The man started to follow me, my wife and my child. He even went as far as to bribe a friend and the security guard to gain access to the scheme in which I lived.

He called my wife, giving her hints, sending screenshots from the girl and myself to her work e-mail. He would slash my tyres, call my phone breathing heavily into the microphone and then to make matters worse, he recorded me threatening him after he opened the line and left it. I was called into the police and at that time I had to take out a restraining order. My wife had to as well. We invested in additional security to our house after moving and changed our numbers. I found out later that he had a mental breakdown and the woman left him about a month after we moved.

Timone, 29, paralegal:

We live in a time where we have a digital footprint everywhere and I was very clumsy with some of my information. The guy, who I later found out was the tech guy at my workplace, started sending me flowers with love notes and fictitious tales about our encounters. He would send messages from fake accounts and international numbers. The texts were structured the same way and the language and general way of texting were a clear giveaway. Then the phone calls started coming – very early morning and late at night and when I would open the line it would be some love song playing in the background. I would catch him staring at me in meetings and just whenever he came into the office space. It was a nightmare. Oh, there were even e-mails, with vague hints and romantic poetry. The e-mail address would change with each message but the signage was always the same, Your love. It made me very uncomfortable and even as we didn't have proof it was him, my husband told me that sitting around and not doing anything only made him comfortable. That is when my best friend convinced me to confront him. He denied it for a while, then admitted it was him and told me he would stop if I promised not to report him to HR. My husband still went ahead and filed a report with the police. I didn't press charges but followed through with a restraining order. He resigned from the job as that is the only compromise my husband would agree to. He hasn't made contact with me via phone but every time someone with few or no mutual friends tries to make contact with me on social media, I think it's him.

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