Thursday, July 31, 2008

being stalked

We interrupt this art blog to talk about something which happens to many women – and even some men: being stalked. Today the NYTimes has an article about a woman who has come forward, albeit anonymously, to tell her story of being stalked: In his Sight. Over the years an ex-lover fucks with her head and her life. It’s still not over.

The police say it is a fairly common occurrence. It sure doesn’t feel like that when it happens. I’ve been stalked twice. One man in particular came back to haunt me more than once over the decades. He’s in Portland, Oregon. He’s probably reading this. I actually winced hard when I made the decision to move back there. But the blessing of his situation, if you can even call it that, is that he has stalked other women and so the police paid attention when he came after me again.

And initially it wasn’t even the police. There’s a volunteer unit, made up largely of women (who have probably all been stalked or know victims), who track the complaints. It was one of these women who followed up on my case and made some kind of deal about it - because the asshole has hurt other women. He is to be believed.

And to think of it: all because I was once nice to this person. He appeared to be a talented and alienated poet when I met him and I encouraged him. Big, big mistake. The strange stupid turns we can naively take which then produce entire notebooks full of ideas on how to fuck and execute us, phone calls at odd hours to home and work. The guys at my job didn’t take the threats seriously until they started answering the calls. Then my God, the outrage, the unfairness of it all - surely something will be done? Welcome to being stalked.

Years ago my life in San Francisco - which consisted gloriously, for the most part, of beauty, youth and joy - was almost completely destroyed by a jilted lover: calls at all hours and to my pals as well, to strangers vaguely associated with me, to workmates. At every party, in the library, in the bus, in a bar. A bombardment of mail, the doorbell buzzing at 3AM and most of all – lies - to my friends or anyone who would listen, a kind of character assassination and almost of a personality which could no longer sleep. It did not end until I left San Francisco.


namastenancy said...

I am so sorry to read this. Women are told be be nice and sympathetic but one false step and it's you that pays. And pays. And pays. I remember reading about a woman's group in Berkeley that began publishing posters with the names and phone numbers and addresses of stalkers, rapists and other such scum. I haven't heard about them in ages but I sure wish that there were more groups like that around. It's a shame that the police don't take men like this seriously until, all too often, it's too late.

nod said...

Eva.. I'm so sorry you are dealing with such crap.. but I do hope you have happier memories of our short time in the history of that wonderful little big town.. I have my own bad memories.. like leaving because I was to happy.. yes.. I did.. giggle still kicking my bum for that one.. I didn't know that I could move forward if I was happy..hope all works out with this one.. doesn't sound like a good thing

liam said...

Eva, I wonder if you share my observation that stalking got a great deal of media attention in about the mid-nineties and then disappeared from the news after a while? There was also a slew of movies about stalking in the 90s, which ironically featured a lot of women stalkers; Fatal Attraction (1987, but still...), Single White Female, Basic Instinct, The Crush etc. Surely stalking existed before 1992 and continued to exist after the media moved on to whatever subject they moved on to but, it's kind of interesting that awareness of an actual problem might be related to the fantasies of deadly women in those movies.

Anonymous said...

hey liam,

It's possible that art gives people ideas for crimes. My own imagination is full of things it never entertained before Law and Order SVU. But as to these weirdoes, they came into my life before the 90s, so I don't know what their excuse was.


PS nod... what you said about leaving SF because you were "too happy" makes me laugh. I think I had the same idea really. Everyone seemed so happy and everything was "too easy," so I had to go to NYC and suffer. Dumb! ;)