Stalking and Harassment-It Happened to Me

You would think that as a self-defense instructor and martial artist for many years, that no one in their right mind would target me to stalk and harass; however, recently someone spent a few months of their life doing  that until a police report and a phone call from law enforcement put an end to it. (So it seems)

The problem started after I broke-off an engagement with an individual who was living in my home. He had always told me that if I changed my mind that he’d go peacefully and be thankful of the time spent with me. When we were together, he was never anything but kind and loving…he just wasn’t the man for me. I had given him multiple heads-up that I didn’t think we were exactly right for each other and he himself had mentioned moving out previously.

Still, when I made the final decision, he fought tooth and nail. A completely different person materialized before my eyes. It was only after the break-up that I started to realize how desperate and manipulative he really was.

After we broke-up, he begged to stay in my home for a few months to save money and have enough to comfortably more out. He started dating immediately, and I thought, great he’s moving on and he said he can live with me as more of a roommate- so that should be okay.

However, he became verbally abusive, and began constantly harassing me. I used my self-defense training (bad dog voice and clear, direct communication) and ability to stay calm in potentially dangerous situations  most of the time. Soon, items came up missing like my cellphone and car keys-imagine that? Then he admitted to following me several times to see where I was going because he couldn’t believe that I didn’t have someone else.

I thought he’d move out soon, because he kept saying he was going and when he didn’t, I documented what was said with dates and details. Since he refused to move out, I gave him a legal notice that you’d use for tenants in the state of Florida. In my state, if someone lives with you, gets mail,etc; they have to be treated as a tenant. Once he moved out, I’d had hoped that would be the end of it.

It wasn’t. Instead he tried to find other ways to reach me including approaching me on a dating site several different times by creating multiple fake dating profiles with photos that didn’t belong to him. He’d use things he knew about me to try to get me to respond. It worked one time and I went to meet the person named Max in a public place. I got a last minute text stating he had an emergency with his daughter and had to reschedule… in walked my ex acting totally shocked to see me. He later confessed to me that he even bought a separate phone to pull that one off and just wanted to see me.

Now you’re probably wondering why someone like myself waited to go to the police? It was probably a combination that I didn’t feel physically threatened, he owes me money I wanted back and I like to believe that any moment he’d snap out of it, could be reasoned with and move on. I warned him that he was committing both criminal harassment and stalking as well as civil harassment and that if it continued, I’d go to the police.

The final straw for me was that he told me for several weeks via email that he was selling his business and should have my money for me soon. He then contacted me and said he had my money. I agreed to meet him in a public place right in front of the security cameras as a precaution. He of course didn’t have my money and confessed more things that he did including driving by my house six times in a three-hour period trying to see who I was with. He gave me times that I left, returned and a description of my friends vehicle. I was calm, cool and collected and even nice…and then went to the police department to file a report.

Since I had been keeping documentation from the beginning, it easy for me to be able to communicate effectively to a police officer what had been taking place. She listened and in turn gave me my options. We decided to complete a police report and give him a warning. The officer called him in front of me and explained to him that what he has been doing constitutes criminal stalking and harassment. She told him to cease all communications via phone, text, email, snail mail and to not follow me or drive by my home or she’d have him arrested.

So far, so good, I haven’t heard from him. Even I have to realize that there are some people who you can’t reason with and who have an agenda that they want to carry out. No matter how I reasoned, or told him to leave me alone or how many times he said he understood and would leave me alone-he chose not to.

Should I ever have issues with anyone in the future, I’ll issue a warning and then take action right away by going to the police department to have it documented.

If you are being stalked or harassed- make sure you are safe; keep a written record and document time/date and what happened; keep emails in a folder for easy access; consider getting a screen capture app for your phone to capture text messages and save all voice mails, videos, etc; that you may need to prove you are being stalked or harassed. Do not communicate with that person and go to your local police department and let them know what’s going on.