She turns the cart around and heads for the opposite end of the store, the meat counter. As she reaches for a package of chicken breasts, she can feel his presence behind her. Though her heart races and sweat trickles down her back, she forces herself not to look at him, and continues to shop, knowing that she will probably have to return later to get the items she has forgotten.
Once in the car, she relaxes a bit as she heads for the post office drive-through to mail a birthday card to her son; she hears the diesel truck pull up behind her and without checking in the rear view mirror, knows it is him. Last week, he was standing at the butcher’s counter when she walked in; and drove slowly past her as she was leaving Nordstrom’s department store in the middle of the afternoon.
He has not spoken to her directly since she introduced herself and her then ten-year-old son when she first moved into the neighborhood years ago. With his arm wrapped around his wife’s shoulders, “Mrs. Miserable” wife with the sickly smile, he ran his tongue along his lips suggestively and replied that he would like to lick whipped cream off the new next door neighbor’s body.
Eleven years of this, these seemingly random encounters, yet she knows he is stalking her, just for the pleasure it gives him to prey upon a woman, especially now that she is widowed. Though she owns her house, the house that she loves, she often considers moving. The cost, the hassle and the sacrifice would be worth peace of mind, to be rid of him. But with the rising costs of health care and the uncertainty of the stock market, she knows that she really cannot afford to move. Instead, she will alter her habits, find new places to shop, and vary the time she shops, and take longer, alternative routes when she leaves for the day. Maybe, she often prays, tomorrow he will drop dead of a heart attack.
The alarming truth is that 6.6 million people report being stalked in the United States yearly, mostly women being stalked by men. Now in our age of social media, cyberstalking is one of the most widely reported crimes—and a crime it is in all of the 50 states. Cyberstalking victims are mostly teenagers, both sexes, under the age of eighteen. There is an estimated 12 million unreported stalking incidents.
The primary concern is of physical safety for children and self, or partner; next is the element of uncertainty and the ever-present suspense of not knowing if, when and ever the stalking would stop. It is not uncommon for victims to become ill with stress-related ailments, or to have problems eating and sleeping, which confounds the problems when one cannot work efficiently, perform daily tasks, or even relax and enjoy oneself. Many victims report that they cannot concentrate long enough to read the daily paper.
Stalking is the most insidious form of bullying. The Bureau of Justice Statistics, (website: http://www.bjs.gov/) defined such measurable behaviors as:
- making unwanted phone calls
- sending unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails
- following or spying on the victim
- showing up at places without a legitimate reason
- waiting at places for the victim
- leaving unwanted items, presents, or flowers
- posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
I hope this helps you or someone you know. You do not have to be a victimized by a bully. Ever.