Have you ever been a victim of stalking or know someone who has been? How vigilant are you in protecting yourself and your family? Have you even given stalking much thought?
These are the questions Stina Lindenblatt asked a few of her blogger and writer friends. In fact, if Stina hadn't asked her questions I wouldn't have realized that I, indeed, had been a victim of stalking. This is my story.
Six years ago, I was living in Chicago in
an up and coming neighborhood called Ukranian Village, just south of
the more developed Wicker Park. Like most dog owners have to, I had to
take my dog, Ike, on a last outing every night. I felt safe in my
neighborhood. And safe with a one-hundred-pound Labrador retriever--
even though his bark was way worse than his bite. (Ike wouldn't a hurt a
fly.) One night, on my usual route, a man walked up to me.
I didn't want to be judge the man on first appearances, but he had me on edge. He was big and tough and covered in tattoos. One tattoo wrapped around his neck up to his face.
"Is that your dog?" he asked.
"Uh, yes," I said, collecting my dog's "business" in a baggy.
"He looks cool. What's his name?"
"Ike," I said.
"Cool name," he replied and walked down the street.
I thought he seemed harmless enough. Until I saw him the next night. And the next night. And the night after. It was as if he knew my schedule and was waiting for me. The man's questions turned from neighborly to weird, more personal. "What's your name? Do you have a boyfriend?"
I shouldn't have replied, but I told him I was married.
It just got worse from there. "Does your husband make you happy?" he asked one night. I didn't respond, especially after he said, "I could."
The next time I saw him heading in my driection I pretended not to see him. I turned around and walked quickly. He followed me, screaming. "I know you saw me, (insert explicative)! You think you're too good for me, you (explicative) (explicative)."
He threw in a few threats about what he'd like to do to me.
I picked up my pace. I didn't want him to know where I lived, so instead of going to my apartment two doors away, I walked around the corner, directly into the small pet store I often frequented. I told the owner to lock the door. She did. We hid behind a display as I filled her in on what was going on. A few moments later "he" walked by and after trying to jiggle the door open, he slammed his fist on the window. We waited a few minutes until his shadow disappeared. Once we caught our breath, we called the cops. They showed up a few minutes later and I filed a police report.
After I described the man, and explained within a one block radius where I thought he lived, I was told by the cops they knew exactly who the guy was. He was a local drug dealer...and suspected of raping two girls.
The cops told me change all of my habits, to avoid that particular street, etc. And so I did. I never saw the guy again. Rumor had it in the neighborhood, though, a local known criminal was arrested a few weeks later on rape charges.
Today, I still count my blessings. And I'm thrilled Stina is shedding light on this subject. Please check out Stina's post on STALKING PREVENTION.
ABOUT STINA'S BOOK
Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt
She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.
But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.
When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her—and Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.
Releases Jan. 20, 2014 from Carina Press (Harlequin) on all major book retailer sites.