I have told bits and pieces of my story before on this site, but never all at once. In honor of our launch fundraiser event here it goes. Although fair warning that it is long and hard to relive so I expect this to be part one of several posts.
March 2009 marked a great time in my life. Jodi’s killer was sentenced to the death penalty for his actions against her. I loved my job, had just completed building my dream home and all around had no complaints. However, my relief of justice being served was short lived. By the end of the month, my life was turned upside down.
The last week of March I began receiving anonymous emails. You might ask how an email can possibly be anonymous (which I did as well), but there are servers that exist off-shore to provide ways to send emails anonymously. I assume the emails were directed through these servers after testing out many of them myself. Of course, these sites all require you to click a box claiming you will not use the service for any malicious use, but clicking a box is easy right?
It started simply enough. The emails stated that I had ruined this person’s life and went on to claim that I thought I was so much better than this person. They were unsigned and left me wondering who this could possibly be. As a stalking victim advocate it was not the first time I had received strange emails, but these seemed different to me from the start. In the beginning it was one or two a week then it escalated to a note on my car. All stated the same basic message and led to no clues as to who it was. Until someone came forward and mentioned seeing the note left on my car while at work.
The witness provided a description of the person and the car. It allowed me to begin to narrow my focus on who could be doing this and why. Notice at this point I had not reported the crime to police. This is actually something I am very ashamed of, but is also testament to the fact that stalking is hard on victims. At this point I was not telling anyone what was happening. Not even my husband. I wasn’t even admitting to myself yet that I was in fact becoming a victim of the same crime that I had spent the last two years advocating against and the same crime that had ended so badly for my friend, Jodi.
I thought I knew who could be doing this, but I still wasn’t 100% sure, because for the life of me I could not figure out why this person (an employee of my husband’s) would do this. I had barely met her (yes her) a couple of times and just weeks before my husband had asked me to speak to her because she was having problems with a boyfriend that was affecting her work. The boyfriend was coming into the workplace and causing scenes. By this time, the emails had changed into wanting the material things I had…my house, my car, my job, etc. even my dogs and become more frequent as well. It was all very strange and I still don’t know why she became so obsessed with hating me.
Throughout April the emails continued. I still told no one and still did not admit even to myself that I was a stalking victim. I wasn’t sleeping well. I wasn’t taking care of myself in any way at all. I was still functioning in my day to day activities, but I was truly a shell of myself living life without really living. I buried my head in the sand and hoped it would just stop. It didn’t. It hasn’t.
In the next posts I will share the results of telling everyone in my life I was being stalked, my multiple police reports, restraining order, the notes telling me to “tell the fucking police to back off before it’s too late” and my ultimate relocation leaving behind my job and dream house to ensure my own safety.
In the meantime, join us on Twitter to #FightStalking by raising awareness and funds for Jodi’s Voice. We plan to use the funds to increase awareness and provide a future shelter for stalking victims.