Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Stalkers

Many of us have had a stalker, or two. Perhaps the stalker was online, or in real life. Perhaps you were the stalker…

My best worst stalker was a fellow I met online. A vague friendship soon turned into an obsession. He found my phone numbers and called. Continuously. He emailed me. Continuously. He contacted me using bogus accounts, posing as an admirer to gauge my responses. He was a troll on my mailing lists, discussion boards and forums. He used email programs to pose as me in correspondence. He hacked into my accounts, and cracked my passwords.

Then he’d tell me he loved me.

This relationship inside his head lasted for years. To this day, I know he still keeps a cyber eye on me.

“Hi there, Ted!”

What’s your stalker story?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. is this “ted” somehow living in New York? hehehe, because I hear there are some crazy stalker people that live there. ;)

    My worst/only stalker issue was back about 11 years ago with this woman who lived in some middle-of-nowhere town in Minnesota. She sent me artwork with our names in the mail, along with cards and other things. She would call me at random hours, and it got to the point where I had my friend Kevin answer the phone and all he could say was that she sounded like she was an asthmatic sex phone lady. Just to get her off my back, Kevin and I made a road-trip to see her and upon arrival in her town (which at the gas station included seeing an obese woman in a loose shirt sans bra, an image that horrified us), she gave me a dozen roses and her house smelled like cigarettes and cats. I told her to keep the flowers (Kevin bailed me out with some made up excuse that I was allergic to flowers) and we got our asses out of there. I eventually put a block on my phone number and changed my email. Have not heard of crazy asthma smoking cat lady again, and am all the happier for it.

  2. I’ve never been burdened with a full-blown stalker, though it almost happened once about 15 years ago. Fortunately I recognized the signs early enough to make effective changes and bypass the problem.

    Some 30-odd years or so ago, in my late teens / early twenties I was guilty of some minor, though nonetheless real enough, stalkeresque behaviour on two unrelated occasion. For which I remain quite embarrased and ashamed.

  3. I don’t know why I’m commenting here, as I have never had a stalker nor ever been a stalker. I’m not popular enough nor well known enough to garner a stalker, and I simply do not find myself living in a the sort of fantasy world where I could justify stalking someone. I am curious how many of those who have had stalkers have required getting the police involved though or have most of the stalkers been rather less than threatening.

  4. Just about the second thing I did on the Internet 15 years ago was pick up a stalker. Fortunately I was paranoid enough to use a pseudonym and I never gave her my home address or phone number.

    When it became clear that we weren’t just having friendly exchanges, that she was absolutely nuts, I stopped corresponding with her. Then she really got nuts, sending me tons of abusive e-mails, baiting me in online forums she knew I frequented, and using fake accounts to try to lure me into a conversation.

    I just ignored it all and she made enough of a pest of herself that she got banned from most of her haunts. A couple of years later, I had changed service providers (better service, better price) and she e-mailed me out of the blue asking if I really thought she wouldn’t find me.

    The funny thing is, my husband was one of her online victims before I met her. We still get a chill when we hear her name.

  5. I have never had the pleasure of a stalker. I did have a good female friend who had a bit of a stalker issue. It was an ex-work collegue of hers. He was always emaling her, and calling her and stuff all the time. He started sending her pictures of his genetalia, which was nice of him. Anyway, in the end I went over and put a stop to it in my own special way. Unfortunately, I was a bit younger back then, and would probably handle it in a slightly more mature, and less violent manner these days. Oh well. Got the job done I guess.

  6. Turns out the girl I started dating earlier in the month isn’t quite finished getting divorced yet and her not-quite-ex-husband is stalking me online, referring to me by my full name and threatened to kill me.

    I will be doing some dumping soon. Hope it helps. He’s supposed to move back to Arizona soon (I’m in Toronto), hopefully that ends it.

  7. I used to have a sort-of stalker, for a few weeks. She didn’t really stalk me as such, in that she only knew she could find me at the pub one afternoon a week, but she had the attitude in spades. She’d turn up every week, and every week she was utterly convinced we’d had long conversations by telephone (which she’d entirely imagined), and she enjoyed my karaoke more than it objectively deserved (which is a lot to begin with). And then she told me she loved me. And then I stopped going to that pub for a few weeks and I dunno, I guess she found someone else to fixate on.

    That was more annoying than scary, although it was a bit of both. I’ve never been on the other end of it, but I’ve caught myself doing things and then thinking ‘ooh, that’s a bit odd. Better not make a habit of that’, so I think I see where it comes from.

  8. Had a guy follow me around all four years of high school. My friends walked me to my car/bus every day. He even had a girlfriend for a while and still followed me. I would not be surprised if he reads this.

  9. KAREN! I thought you loved me :(

    I wish I had known you felt this way. Do you know how painful it is to get KAREN “LOVENUGGET” STOLLZNOW tattooed into your peep? Serifs and everything? That is a lot of frakkin’ serifs, might I add.

    (Of course it all fit! How dare you.)

    I know I was a little rash, but I couldn’t help myself. Every week when I was a child, watching you teach a make-believe classroom on Welcome Back, Kot–… wait a second.

    Okay, I may have mixed up you and Gabe Kaplan. Damn it.

    Well, why waste a tattoo. You busy tomorrow?


    Okay, I’m kidding. I’ve never been a stalker or stalkee. Watching Twilight was as close as I came. Sounds like a poor choice of hobby.

  10. I’m amazed stalking is so widespread, I’d always thought it to be something on the fringes, which as I’ve used my name and photo on my gravitar, which my have been something of a mistake in retrospect.

    I’ve never had a stalker to the best of my knowledge, but I have a sneeking suspicion that it’s predominantly something men do, or at least get found out doing.

    I’m terms of stalking myself, well I have to confess I’ve been following the career of one of my student contemporys quite closely since grad school; I read every paper, journal article, report or communication he’s written with more than a passing interest.

    But then on the other hand, the whole point of publishing is to be read by one’s peers and other than exchanging xmas cards and the occasional “uni friends meetup” I’ve had no contact with him. So I’m not his stalker.

    Oh god, I’m his groupie.

  11. I dated this guy for about a minute in 1995. Since then he’s contacted me at random intervals to try convince me that we are perfect for each other. It is usually a phone call (even after I changed my number) that lasts about 15 minutes while he tries out his new arguement.

    Funny thing? He always starts with the phrase “It’s only logical…” Below are a few examples of his logic, I omit my response because it’s fairly obvious.

    I am evidently pining for him because I haven’t kept in contact to remain friends.

    I am smart. Most men don’t like that. He is willing to overlook it. Lucky me!

    He rented a two-bedroom house because I mentioned that I like my space. Since he is willing to work with me on this, it would be rude not to move in and try it out.

    I am afraid of commitment. It is time to face my fears and overcome them.

    I am not in love with my guy because he & I are not married.

    My favorite: “Studies show” that 95% of men are aroused by the idea of their wives cheating on them. Therefore, I should start an affair with this creep in order to keep the spark in my relationship. If I really loved my guy, I would do this for him. If I don’t do it then I don’t love him and I might as well be with the creep.

    For the last 9 years, he’s been easy to ignore because he is physically intimidated by my guy. Because he is physically intimidated, the “contest” is to win my heart via my brain. Like most oblivious narcissists, he is convinced that he is smarter than both of us put together. He need only apply some magical arguement and I will follow him to the ends of the earth.

  12. My stalker story isn’t very fun…

    I was 14 and I very briefly agreed to “go out” with an 18-year-old that was a friend of a friend. Within two days he scared the hell out of me, sitting me on his lap and not letting me up, holding me by the arm rather than by the hand… nothing concretely abusive, but creepy none-the-less. I called and told him that I didn’t want to see him any more but when he started insisting that I was lying I pawned it off on my parents saying they were unhappy with the age difference. (My parents had no idea I even knew him.) He started screaming that no one could keep us apart, that we were meant to be together… I hung up and he called back some 20 times before I simply unplugged the phone.

    Things got worse from there – I’d see him standing across the street from my house when I woke up in the morning, he followed me to school, waited at my locker… not good. At the time there weren’t really any stalker laws, though he was arrested twice for trespassing on school property, the police told me there was nothing they could do unless he actually hurt me. Getting him arrested only pushed him farther off the deep end – my friends started finding threatening letters, dead animals on their porches with notes telling them to let me know that was what would happen to me, lovely stuff.

    Finally he moved to another state, where he was arrested and sent to prison for raping and nearly beating to death a 15-year-old girl.

    Yay for stalker laws. *shudders*

  13. @weofui:

    YOW! That must have been rough on a 14-year-old. Maybe I’m sheltered, but the only stalker stories I ever hear are the ones that are more annoying than seriously threatening. The few people I’ve known who exhibit stalkery behavior could easily be scared off by having someone larger on hand.

    I’m going to have to share your story with my own 14-year-old niece when talking about why I think Twilight sucks and why her mom watches her Facebook activity so closely.

  14. I was accused of being a stalker once, but as far as I know, it was a baseless accusation, intended to spoil my reputation, and I believe the popular consensus agrees with me.

    Granted, I WAS a bit of a wanker at the time, but not in a stalkerish way. I didn’t force any contact on her, I was just damn unpleasant when she contacted me. It was a rough time for me, and she just happened to get in the way, unfortunately.

    Needless to say, I stopped talking to her or taking any interest in her when I heard she’d called me a stalker. I like to think that adds further evidence to my claim that I’m not a stalker.

  15. My only experience with stalking was with my alkie dad. When he quite AA and started drinking again, my grandmother got custody of my siblings and me via the family court. He started making threatening phone calls. Really crazy shit. One time when he was really off the deep end, one of my neighbors let us stay in her son’s house just in case he wasn’t just talking shit (he had threatened to blow the house up). For her good deed, my neighbor got the dead dog treatment (way to be a complete asshole, dad)

    In a mixed blessing, my dad’s liver gave out which freed us from his abusive behavior. I think of those times when we were hold up in a hotel room or my neighbors son’s house as a sort of Ohio redneck take on the diary of Anne Frank.

    I admittedly I have gotten somewhat obsessed with a couple of the married women at work for whom I have crushes (my marriage aint so hot because of all my wife mental problems, so my mind often wanders off into a fantasy of what it would be like to be with these really smart beautiful gals), but I always reason that if I really like a women then it doesn’t make sense to do anything to make her feel uncomfortable or threatened. That immediately kills any of those fleeting urges I occasionally get to make a pest of myself.

    I know it’s an immature attitude probably caused by watching too many Clint Eastwood movies, but I kind of like FAT ANARCHY’s youthful approach to dealing with stalkers. Another fantasy I suppose (gives one the allusion of control).

    Anyway, from my own experience I can say for sure that being stalked sucks big time. Nobody should have to suffer that (except other stalkers). I know the perps are all probably mental cases (sort of by definition), but my first thought is always – “don’t these people have jobs?” Heck, I couldn’t stalk someone even if I wanted to (I am too damn busy with work and keeping the house from falling apart).


  16. My weird stalker was a guy I met in a community band. He started off pretty nice, and he was one of those “lost puppy” sorts, so I was nice to him as well. Then, he started following me around. Every time he talked to me, he insisted on shaking my hand. He even threatened to going jazz band, not because he liked jazz, but because I was in it. I switched instruments to get away from him, as he’d ended up right next to me after one set of auditions. It took me about 3 1/2 years to finally get rid of him.

  17. Isn’t it funny that we probably need to consider how “stalking” may have changed in the last ten years?

    There’s so much that we put out on the internet, we can hardly blame some folks for knowing so much about us, when it takes minimal effort to click and, within 10 minutes, know almost everything about us.

    I talked to a guy about 3 years ago, while my son’s father and I were split up.

    I think some people might define “stalking” a bit differently, as I would, too; but this guy has an impulse or something to check up on me. Things ended badly, and he was pushing a serious relationship on me, and buying things for my son and trying to play daddy in general. I was barely open to dating again, and he was crossing the line. He once told me he asked my son a question, and that he agreed to keep it a secret: That sent my brain-alarms off wildly, and I was immediately disgusted and done with him.

    Over the past few years he has wished me happy birthday every year, wrote blogs to me, and “replied” to my AIM statuses, all without any response from me. Some times the blogs he would post (and I looked at intentionally, yes) would be vulgar or disturbing, and he would put a quote of something I once said to him, or something I would recognize. He makes references to atheists, often negatively. When we were “breaking things off” he copied and pasted things I’d send in messengers and emails and high-lighted and analyzed everything I ever said; arguing with me about why I should be with him.

    I have a tracker on my MySpace, which is not private, and I can see that he checks it multiple times a day. I’ve not talked to him in over 2 years! We have mutual friends whose Facebook pages he comments on and talks to; but it’s always random and strange… and he’s just creepy. I don’t know how to explain it without getting too personal!

    I’ve been fearing that he’s had my passwords and even sat outside my window at night because of some of the stuff he alludes to.

  18. I wish I had a stalker. That’s how you know that you’ve made it these days. All the cool kids are getting one.

    In all seriousness karen, publicly acknowledging your stalker is probably the worst thing you could do to encourage them. I read something somewhere once about the internal “reward” mechanism in stalker’s brains. If they don’t get any response from you, they keep trying, keep pushing the boundaries until they do. Then you try to ignore them until the whole cycle starts again. In the process, the time between their rewards (your reactions) keeps getting longer and longer, so they get trained to think that if they just keep persisting they’ll eventually get the biscuit.

    Every time you react to them you hit the reset button on their recovery into the land of the sane. As soon as you notice someone becoming stalkerish, you have to ignore them and do your best to never reward their behaviour with a reaction.

    I don’t have any references to back this up but it kind of makes sense, right?

  19. I’m sorry to hear about your stalker, and I hope the only thing he does today is look at your public posts.

    In middle school, I dealt with a woman who would follow me, and constantly tease me. Looking back, I probably could have turned her in for sexual harassment, but I don’t think people understood that issue back then.

    On the Internet, I’ve been very fortunate not to have anyone that I felt threatened by. I’ve received flames, but that’s about it.

  20. @The327thMale:

    You’re probably referring to Gavin DeBecker’s book, “The Gift of Fear,” in which he explains that any sort of acknowledgement of your stalker, positive or negative, is interpreted by them as having “made progress.” His suggested way of dealing with a stalker is not to respond in any way, shape, or form, but simply to catalogue every attempt at contact so that if things escalate, the police will have a concrete record. Scary stuff.

    My stalker story isn’t the scariest, but it was enough to convince me I never, ever want one again. A couple of years ago I ran into an ex-boyfriend I dumped after freshman year of college. The relationship was doomed from the start because he was an alcoholic with severe paranoia issues. When I ran into him again, he became convinced that it was fate, or something, and that he should attempt to re-establish a relationship with me. Never mind that I’d since gotten married.

    He found me on the internet through my blog, and started leaving semi-coherent comments on it. When I deleted them, he’d leave more. One day he emailed me a photo of himself — I didn’t realize it was his email address until I opened the photo and there was his face glaring at me. The next email I got said something to the effect of “If you only knew what I knew,” or something similarly vague and creepy.

    Anyway, I was lucky — I deleted my blog, changed my email address, and that was the last I heard from him. I think he got tired of stalking me and moved on to some other unlucky woman.

  21. I currently have 2 stalkers. They follow me everywhere, try to tell me what to do, make me feed them and clean up after them. But by law I have no choice since I gave birth to them.

  22. In high school I had a two year relationship with a very jealous and possessive guy (a big part of the reason why Twilight skeeves me out so much). I knew it was a bad relationship but hadn’t ended it because I was too young to realize just how bad it was, and I knew it would be a lot of trouble. Then one day he asked me if I’d die for him, and I just snapped, knew it was all so so wrong, and broke up with him. The aftermath included him threatening suicide, waiting for me at the shops he knew I frequented, finding out what friends places I was staying at and turning up there in the morning, and writing me letters (not one of which I ever read). Thankfully it didn’t last as long as I thought it might, but almost 10 years later the thought of bumping into him still leaves me with that horrible feeling in my stomach. Once I thought I saw him working behind the counter at a gas station, and I couldn’t go in there, just had to turn around and leave.

  23. I am an idiot. In my second or third semester in college. 1990 or 91 a woman started following me around. She left unsigned notes under the windshield wipers of my car. The notes descriped where I went and what I did when I was there. She new the classes I was taking and where I worked. At one point I saw I was being followed whipped into a parking lot and pointed my tiny litte .32 pocket gun at the two women who got out of the car. I was flattered. At the time I thought I was ugly. I ended up marrying her a few years latter. This year marks the year where I am finally divorced from her longer than I was married to her. I look back now and realise that she was always crazy and has only gotten crazier with time.

  24. A friend of mine was being stalked by a former colleague, dangerously so.

    Out of frustration, fear for her safety, and curiosity, I went to a friend and neighbor of mine who knows a lot about a lot.

    I asked him … uh … how much it would cost my friend to get … uh … assistance in this matter.

    I came home and told my wife I have good news and bad news. ” The bad news,” I said, ” is that it would cost Marsha ( not her name ) 5000 dollars to get the help she needs.” Then I said, ” but the goods news is that if I ever need helped he could arrange it for free. ”

    Eddie ( not his name ), her BF at the time, and a wondrous computer geek, solved the issue through his superior computer skills.

    She promptly married him. :)

  25. I’ve had a different kind of stalker. A missionary stalker, but only on the Internet. Ever since I started posting about my atheism on the Internet, I would get responses in particular to those posts about various Christian ideas.

    And they all seemed to have had a pattern in their wording and phrasing so I suspected they were from the same person or group of people.

    I haven’t had the “lust after you” kind of stalker…not that I know about anyway.

  26. I’ve had two stalkers.

    The first, non-dangerous in high school started out as a friend who gave me a ride home after class most days. He started following me around school, buying me stuffed animals every day, leaving me sickening love letters (trying to get me to break up with my boyfriend etc…), walking around my grandmother’s house waiting for me to get home from the store… creepy stuff for a 14-year-old kid. I don’t really remember what made him stop, but it took almost a year.

    The second stalker was a few years later. I’m generally nice to people I meet, and to this guy I was no different. Over the course of our short conversation, it was discovered that we were employed by the same ski resort (different departments). When I got to work the next day, he was waiting for me with a little stuffed toy, a heart necklace (that he said he stole from a local store just for me, how lucky!) and a REALLY creepy letter declaring his undying love for me (even though we met a day prior and had a 3 minute convo). Thankfully I was part of the security team and the guys saw him and the look on my face and made him leave. Well, over the course of a couple weeks, he spied on me at work and stared at me through windows even after being told to back off. That wasn’t enough….the constant surveillance was hard to handle and he was eventually threatened with his job which, thankfully, made him leave me alone.

    Gah, it still gives me the bad-touch feeling.

  27. Damn you Karen! This AI prompted me to go back and look at emails from my stalker which are TOTALLY FUCKING CREEPY. I met him for about two minutes at a concert and after that he sent me 3,000 word emails every day and left me hundreds of voicemails. He lived in another state, but somehow found the time to SIT OUTSIDE MY OFFICE ALL DAY waiting for me to leave.

    I pasted and erased samples of his emails here several times. They are just so classic stalker! But I don’t want to give him a voice, so I’m not going to post them. He made me feel unsafe, and I hope I never see him again.

  28. Trust your instincts everyone, be safe and never hesitate to ask for assistance or contact law enforcement if someone is a persistent creep and you feel threatened. Smart trumps nice every time.

  29. Why. Hasn’t. Rebbecca. Posted.

    A sister of mine was being “stalked” while we were studying in another city. I don’t remember how we (a group of friends) pinned it to one guy who happened to be a classmate and blind, so we didn’t feel he was a big threat, but a real pest, making repeated phone calls at midnight (I seem to recall he also wrote poetry to my sis). We started dialing back to annoy him and eventually he stopped.

    When I was in junior high, a “secret” friend called frequently and she told me she kept records of what I had said (what I read, wanted to study and stuff).

    She once sent me a small ring which I wore, but eventually threw away (I can’t stand accessories). When I told her, I could hear she was utterly disappointed. I told her up front to chill off. For so long I thought I was unnecessarily rude, but after reading your posts, I’m convinced it could have evolved into something bad, so I guess I did the right thing.

    LOL, now that I consider my character and closest friend at the time, the blind guy was really spared of something ugly.

  30. My stalker was back in the days when the internet was just starting to take off big time (1997-98), and thankfully, she didn’t know how to use the new-fangled technologies like mIRC and ICQ. Her older brother is a very good friend of mine, and he was getting married recently, so here’s where I start the story (since all stalker-stories are generally the same level of creepy):

    She had “moved on” after I “moved away” (to go to college), but I saw her recently at all the wedding-stuff, and I met her husband, that poor, beaten-down sad husk of a man with no mind of his own who kept making a show of the fact that he has to ask “the boss” for his “allowance” if could go out to the bar with us.

    Anyway, she pulled me aside as I was outside enjoying my beer, and apologized to how she acted when we were young. However, I had the distinct impression that if I asked, she would cheat on her husband inside of a minute if I asked her to. I say this because of the subtle-cues such as her hand creeping up my thigh towards my junk.

    More than 10 years later and she STILL gives me the heebie-jeebies.

  31. Got stalked by the Jehovah’s witnesses after my house burned down. Found my new rental by tracking my numberplate or something… sale. Exploitation methinks!

  32. @Pleione: Oooh! You got persistent missionary stalkers in real life.

    I think I’d rather have religious stalkers trying to convert me than some lust crazed lover (or ex).

    As long as they’re not trying to kidnap me like Scientologists sometimes like to do, I’d probably be okay with that.

  33. A friend had one of the lusty stalkers – how’s this for logic. He actually said “my psychologist told me that you have to go out with me”. Hmmmm….

  34. I’ve had several stalkers over the last 15 years–some IRL, some online.

    SCARY. They just don’t seem to understand that waiting in their parked car across the street every night when you get home is creepy, not welcoming.

  35. In 1999, I went off the deep end.

    I’m not going into detail, because I was the creepy stalker boy, but, since then, I’ve been afraid of myself. I’ve seen what I’m capable of, and I don’t want to be that guy again. Now, I find it difficult to express how I feel to someone, in fear I’d come off as the Creepy Stalker Boy.

    Once bitten, twice shy?

  36. My first thought: Hey, I want a stalker! What’s wrong with me that I don’t get to have a stalker?

    My second thought: Okay, so if I did have one she might end up cutting my thumbs off and keeping them in her refrigerator.

    Me and my thumbs will now go happily on with our stalker-free lives.

  37. In college, I briefly dated a guy in my dorm. We quickly realized that we just didn’t have a romantic spark, and instead just became really good friends.

    This guy, though, had a roommate who decided that I was the love of his life, despite the fact that I only talked to him in passing when coming by to see my friend. He started following me, he actually stole a jacket out of my closet (not quite as weird as it sounds – I wore some of my father’s old sports jackets – very retro), and I’m pretty sure he memorized my class schedule because he always seemed to be outside the buildings of whatever class I was taking. My friends took to leaving with me so they could put themselves in between us as a buffer, since he was also fond of touching me.

    My friend – short of actually kicking the guy’s butt – made all sorts of threats on how he really needed to leave me alone. He even stopped coming by my room if we were going to go to a meal together – we always met somewhere else on campus. (RA’s were rather spectacularly useless in this situation – I had some good ones during my college experience, these were totally ineffective.)

    One of the worst parts was I had a roommate who was from a small town, and she never, ever locked our room door. And she thought the stalker was cute (or rather that his devotion to me was romantic), so no matter how I begged and pleaded, she never locked it.

    The night it finally finished? In the middle of the night, the guy came into our unlocked-as-usual room (my roommate was doing laundry as I fell asleep, so I didn’t get to do my usual night-time check), and kissed me on the forehead, thinking I would melt romantically into his arms. (That my roommate was in the room didn’t seem to bother him one bit….ick.)

    Didn’t happen. What did happen was that, startled awake, I grabbed the rock-hammer I kept just under my bed, and managed to stop myself short of braining him with the pointy end. (We were on the first floor and in an old dorm with shaky locks near the edge of campus – there were occasional “townie” problems, another reason I really didn’t like our door being unlocked.) I then cursed a blue streak that probably came out blue if anyone had been watching.

    He backed off after that. I think the near death/near lifetime maiming experience finally made it clear that I wasn’t going to fall for him. And on the upside, my roommate started locking the door, because even she hadn’t thought the guy would creep into the room at night.

    (Oh – yeah, I wasn’t physically threatened by the guy, just supremely annoyed. I had several inches in height and about a dozen pounds of actual muscle over him since – I was athletic, he was not. Had I chosen, I could have kicked his butt at any time – I just didn’t think it would do a lick of good, he was that obsessed.)

  38. I think because of my intense emotional exhibitionism and lack of sense of privacy it would be highly unlikely that I attract a stalker. In my younger years I could have definitely been described as a stalker, although never to the point of making anyone feel unsafe. Since I’ve been “that guy” my general observation is that people who acquire more than one stalker in their lives often lack the communication skills and assertiveness to keep their boundaries and intentions known. This doesn’t excuse criminal levels of stalker behavior, but it does shed some light on why some people repeatedly find themselves in the victim position for this issue. I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, I’m someone who demands direct accountability when I feel wronged and tend to haunt folks a little until I feel satisfied that they comprehend their actions.

  39. In the old days before the internet and when dinosaurs roamed the land…

    I got a ground floor apartment. Dumb move, but it was really inexpensive (but in a lovely upscale area). The drawback I thought was that is was across from the storage units and garbage area (which I thought “A little smell but what a safe area”) Wrong.

    At night when I would turn out my bedside light, I would get a tap at my window. It didn’t matter that after the first tap I’d made sure no one could see in. He could still tell when I turned out my light.

    Once I looked out and found someone had started cutting the screen that was outside the window. That was interesting. Then I found an axe, with a love note…(oh boy, that was fun to call the police about). But I couldn’t afford to move!

    Then big boyfriend got involved, we came home from a date and there was stalker guy peeking in the sliding glass door…despite the locks/broom handles and other gear boyfriend got door open and took off (opps sorry stalker, he was on the track team) and caught the jerk. He also accidentally smashed his face into the parking lot, and ouchy dislocated his shoulder and did some other stuff he learned in the military (things happen when people struggle).

    Turns out it was some married guy and honestly, it was too weird. He “loved me”… I had friends step in and say “moving time!” and help me get out of my lease.

    I’m glad we didn’t have the internet, but yeah there are weird people out there.

  40. There are times I sort of wish I had a stalker. It would make me feel a little cooler and way more important.

    I’ve never done anything particularly stalker-ish, that I can recall, though there are a few ex-girlfriends whose blogs I’ll check up on now and again, just to see how they’re doing. Is that stalker-ish? Hm.

  41. This is stalker related.

    Right before July 4th in 2007, I was in charge of the audio/visual for a HUGE yearly conference for the state department I used to work for. It went off well. I did a great job. It was awesome.

    The day after I came back, I got a call from the HR manager of the state dept telling me not to come in until Friday. Wednesday was July 4th. I spent the next two days wondering WHAT THE FUCK was going on. I thought maybe I did something ~bad~ during the conference, though I couldn’t think of what.

    I went in, and she told me that someone had sent, through my gmail account, several e-mails to everyone on my list … including my boss, who was directly below the Big Dude at the department (AND MY DAD). This e-mail included some nasty words saying I was a drug addict and a bunch of other not-true crap, and it also included an old picture of me in a bubble bath that I had sent like, two years prior to an old boyfriend. You could almost see one tit. It wasn’t THAT bad (more subtle nudity than anything, and certainly not made for Hustler), but bad enough for a state department (AND MY DAD). Plus it came from MY E-MAIL ACCOUNT so it looked like *I* sent it.

    I even got a call from the capitol police. They believed my story (someone broke into my e-mail account), thankfully, because they said if they hadn’t, I COULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED.

    There were several other e-mails sent as well until I could sort it all out and get back into my accounts. I think they blocked gmail for a while because of it.

    After some investigating, I learned that some guy I had worked with TWO YEARS BEFORE had hacked into my gmail account, which caused a chain reaction since that account was connected to another gmail account. He was able to get a bunch of my passwords (including Myspace).

    It was INSANITY. I was forced to RESIGN because of it. There was nothing I could do because gmail won’t give you IP information without a subpoena, and I was broke and suddenly without a job.

    This guy is a tweaker, in his late 50s, and making $8/hr. I’ve heard he’s done similar stuff and likes to fuck with people (he’s a wanna be hacker). He and I got along FINE when we worked together, but apparently he held some kind of grudge for something he thought I did that I didn’t really do.

    It was a horrible summer for me, ugh.

    In the end, it worked out. I’m making much more than I was before. He’s still working at the same place making $8/hr.

  42. I have had a few that range from the creepy (guy stealing my undies from the laundry room) to the bizare (jingling the holiday bells on my door) to the perverted and frightening (X-rated threatening letter sent by post detailing all the horrific ways he was going to abuse my body prior to killing me.)

    Pepper spray? Yes.
    Big tall boyfriend? Yes.
    Locks on all my windows? Yes.
    Change of name and location? Yes.

  43. @cemeterygates: Wait, what?

    Since I’ve been “that guy” my general observation is that people who acquire more than one stalker in their lives often lack the communication skills and assertiveness to keep their boundaries and intentions known.

    BULLSHIT. It has nothing to do with the person being stalked. The stalker has no sense of boundaries and lacks basic social skills and basic human decency. Period.

    If you’re “that guy” maybe you need to reevaluate yourself.

    I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, I’m someone who demands direct accountability when I feel wronged and tend to haunt folks a little until I feel satisfied that they comprehend their actions.

    Well, that’s more than a little creepy. How about you just leave people alone? People don’t have to talk to you or give you reasons on why they don’t want to talk to you.

    Jesus christ. I get the sense that you’re trying to defend your creepy behavior.

    Not gonna fly.

  44. @Ubermoogle: It doesn’t make you cool to be stalked. It really has nothing to do with being cool. It has to do with the stalker having major issues and fixating on someone for some imagined reason.

    This glamorization of stalking really bothers me.

  45. Man-o-man……reading a lot of these posts (as well as recalling my own stalker)….yeesh…..

    It’s amazing how effective it is at bringing me back to the state of mind I was in at the time. The constant looking over my back, and out the window; the ninja-like subtlety I had to take if I wanted to go around town; the constant fear of answering the phone…I had more or less forgotten the dark place I was in at the time as a result of creepy-creepy-creepy Emily. Yes, Emily I used your name. Try not to sh*t your self.

  46. @marilove: I know it doesn’t make one cool to be stalked, and it’s probably a horrifying experience, especially if things go off the rails and get scary and death threat-y.

    That said… it’s still something I’d like to experience. Weird and unhealthy? Most likely. It’s still something that’s always fascinated me.

  47. @infinite monkey and marilove.
    Um, I’ve done some of the things that people are saying is stalker behavior. Granted I never left a ax and love note or anything like that. But I have called randomly after 7 years. And I did think she and I were meant for each other. And I did think it was fate for us to be together. And I broke into a girl’s email account in high-school

    I was fucked up inside. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I did it because a polite conversation and a smile was usually the most positive attention I got that year and I wanted more of it, how ever I could get it. I mean as I read some of the comments on internet stalking I feel really bad, because I’ve done the whole “google the person’s name find out all you can about them” then write them an email.

    In fact, that was how I met Karen. I saw her blog, commented on it frequently, thought she was cool, googled her and wrote her an email.

    Because I have socially developed a little since high school, I’m really careful about how I present myself now, but all the starkerish stuff I did was done with sincere intent and total ignorance of social norms. Honest.

  48. @truthwalker: Well, calling randomly after 7 years isn’t stalking. It might not be appropriate, but it’s certainly not stalking. I think most of us have checked up one exes and old flings and old friends on public profiles online. Not stalking. Unhealthy? Probably, but not stalking.

    Also, breaking into a girl’s e-mail account in high school was crossing the line, but you were also in high school and teenage boys (and girls) do dumb things. I wouldn’t necessarily call that stalking (maybe “you are damn close, almost stalker boy!”, unless you went further than that (ie, sending out e-mails from her account, or harassing her). And who doesn’t google people?! We all do it.

    Also, “thinking” isn’t stalking. I think we’ve all been there. I still think a certain someone is meant for me, but it’s never gonna happen, no matter how much I wish it were true. I check up on that person online sometimes. That’s just natural curiosity.

    The fact that you recognize your behavior is a good sign. Also, I do think some stalkers really aren’t aware of their stalkerish ways and are innocent — they don’t realize how they come off. You were probably more ANNOYING than CREEPY. There is a difference.

    I don’t think you’re a stalker, from what I can tell.

  49. @truthwalker: “In fact, that was how I met Karen. I saw her blog, commented on it frequently, thought she was cool, googled her and wrote her an email. ”

    And that’s not stalking. I mean, you weren’t harassing her or sending her weird e-mails even though she made it clear she didn’t want to speak to you, right? It seems to me that most of your actions are pretty innocent and while some women may find them annoying and clingy, I don’t see any evidence that you stalked anyone.

  50. marilove: I’m female, not that it ought matter. Now, it’s been many many years since I’ve been in the headspace that causes people to obsess to a level that is deemed inappropriate, but I do understand the escalation process and the justification that non-violent but disturbed individuals use because I have had difficulty with it in the past. I have been accused of victim-blaming many-a-time in many contexts, but I think that’s just because I take an unusual amount of responsibility for any events in my life regardless of whether or not I’ve done something “wrong.” This is particularly unusual in women, and makes me come across cold when I believe it’s just rationality.

  51. @cemeterygates: “I have been accused of victim-blaming many-a-time in many contexts, but I think that’s just because I take an unusual amount of responsibility for any events in my life regardless of whether or not I’ve done something “wrong.””

    Too much responsibility perhaps? Which would be fine until you project it on others.

    I haven’t stalked anyone before, but I certainly have experienced the impulse. I can say that my behavior had nothing to do with the girl. She made her self clear, clearer, clearest. It just took me about six months to realize that no meant no. Fortunately all I did was obsess quietly.

  52. @russellsugden: “I’ve never had a stalker to the best of my knowledge, but I have a sneeking suspicion that it’s predominantly something men do, or at least get found out doing.”

    I think the perception that there are more male stalkers is because women are more likely to become afraid and label people as such whereas men just eyeroll about it unless it’s extremely intrusive.

  53. @cemeterygates: It doesn’t matter. Women can be just as dangerous.

    It’s not “rational”. Stalkers don’t give a shit if you’re “rational”. Smiling at someone doesn’t mean you lack assertiveness or communication skills and therefore that’s why you were stalked. Stalkers need VERY LITTLE reason to stalk. Telling someone, “STOP STALKING ME” doesn’t work 99.99% of the time. Sometimes just ACKNOWLEDING them, no matter how “assertive” you’re trying to be, is reason enough for them to keep on stalking, because they got attention. Have you been reading the comments here? What comments make you believe that someone just LIVING in her apartment wasn’t “assertive” enough and was therefore stalked by some crazy guy with an axe?

    Go back and read comment 25.

    Again, it has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the person being stalked, but rather the person doing the stalking. Period, end of fucking dicusion.

    This “personal responsibility” bullshit is just another way of victim blaming and rationalizing stalking. “Well, if only they’d been ASSERTIVE ENOUGH! Well, if only they’d TOLD ME WHY they no longer wanted any contact with me!”

    No. If I tell you to leave me the fuck alone, you leave me the fuck alone. I don’t have to tell you why.

  54. One time a guy called me and told me he knew where I lived and a bunch of other stuff. It was creepy but also suspicious so I pressed further. He said he had seen me entering my apartment and then looked up my phone number based on my address. If he had done that, he would also know my name. He claimed to know my name but wouldn’t actually say it so I started to doubt him. My apartment at the time was very secure (necessary when living in the middle of Philadelphia), so he couldn’t have just been wandering around to see me there. He claimed that he was visiting a friend who lived in the apartment below mine, and that’s how he knew the apartment number to look up. By then, I was sure he was lying because I lived on the second floor but below me was the management office and nobody lived there. Anyway, I actually hung up on him several times and kept calling.

    After he finally left me alone, I was pretty sure that he didn’t actually know me but he could look up my address by phone number, and it was creepy either way. I called the police who didn’t take me seriously at all. I had tried *69 and the number was blocked. I didn’t really expect the police to find this guy, but I was hoping they could at least get me the phone records so I would know who called me so I could watch out for him. Instead, the cop basically implied that it was just some prank that a boyfriend played on me, because, yaknow, girls are just silly and can’t tell when they’re really in danger. Obviously my first thought was who has this number and is it someone I know calling me, but all my friends only had my cell phone number, even my best friends. the only reason I had a landline was because the apartment management required one, so the only people that had number were the manager, apartment security guard, and my mother.

    Anyway, I was pissed off that the police didn’t take me seriously, but I didn’t do anything about it. It just really sucks for the people who are really being stalked and are in genuine danger, because if they got the same cop I did, they’re basically screwed.

  55. Stalking behaviors that I have observed in some of my cases at work has every appearance and flavor one sees in serious domestic violence situations. The stalker is missing the relationship or intimacy to fully control someone so he’s left with trying to posses and control from a distance and with intimidation. The emotional toll on victims can be significant and at times stalkers do turn violent. I’m having trouble seeing this topic thread as much more than voyeurism with little discussion about how to avoiding stalkers and safety. I would also venture to guess that a significant majority of stalkers are men given the issues are nearly identical to the control and dominance domestic violence involves.

  56. Women’s rights advocate killed by a stalker
    As the investigation unfolded, the police focused on the only known point of connection between the victim and the assailant. It was a six-week summer program, in June and July 2007, at New York University, called Sexual Diversity in Society. […]
    The two lived in student housing, but not in the same residence hall, said John Beckman, an N.Y.U. spokesman. On July 17, as the program was nearing its end, Ms. Justin-Jinich notified the university that she had received repeated harassing e-mail messages and phone calls from Mr. Morgan. The school notified the police, and officers spoke with her. The case was referred to detectives.

    The police report told of 38 e-mail messages that were “insulting” and “unwanted.” It quoted one as saying, “You’re going to have a lot more problems down the road if you can’t take any criticism, Johanna,” using an expletive. But she declined to file charges, and the matter was dropped.

    There are THREE MORE similar cases in the post I linked. One even tried to be assertive and get a restraining order AND IT STILL DID NOT WORK. The last one reads: “Estranged boyfriend murders teen after police refuse to help.”

    But sure. It’s all about the person being stalked not being assertive enough and not communicating enough, amiright?

    And lol @ personal responsibility. If you’re stalking you have no personal responsibility.

  57. @marilove

    “I don’t think you are stalker. Just clingy and irritating. ” That’s the most damning with faint praise statement I’ve ever been given. :)

    Completely taking different spin on this, does anyone notice how stalking is the result of magical thinking? I’m a completely different person without a God delusion. Without the belief in a grand narrative that I am part of I don’t believe in “meant to be” anymore. Which means I have no relationships I’m supposed to have. Without God, its much easier for me to recognize normal relationship behavior.

    Better living through skepticism.


    Um… someone is probably going to freak out on your post. Probably the “This is particularly unusual in women” statement, if they haven’t already why I was typing this.

  58. @James Fox: Most stalkers are men, but women can stalk too. I think women are more likely to stalk people they don’t really know, though, like celebrities. Paula Abdul’s stalker was a woman.

    I’m having trouble seeing this topic thread as much more than voyeurism with little discussion about how to avoiding stalkers and safety.

    Why is that a problem? It’s nice to know that you’re not alone in a creepy situation.

    When it comes to “avoiding stalkers and safety” it’s all just common sense. But you can’t really *avoid* stalkers since many of them — and this is clear from all the posts above — don’t really need a lot of encouragement. How can you stop some crazy cashier at the corner store from stalking you if he gets it in his head that you two are meant to be?

    It’s particularly scary because, as is evidenced by a few posts above, many cops don’t take stalking seriously.

  59. @truthwalker: Well, I don’t know for sure if you’re clingy and annoying (I didn’t say irritating). ;) Or at least, I don’t know if you are ALL the time. Certainly you were at least some of the time, as I’ve gleaned from your comments. Meaning, you weren’t always aware of the boundaries and sometimes crossed them.

    But you seem to have recognized that and have worked to change that. Which is a good thing! That means you’ve grown.

  60. @truthwalker: And I know, right. Apparently only men can take responsibility for their actions!

    And hey, apparently now stalking means taking responsibility for yourself! Who woulda thunk!

    She’s just trying to rationalize her behavior and I’m not buying it.

  61. @marilove: Yeah, by “someone” I meant you.

    Oddly enough, on the subject of stalking, awhile back you went nuts on some commenters who were saying some anti-feminist stuff. It got me thinking. I went to the feminism 101 site and read through it as well as the Wikipedia article on feminism, and wrote this whole series of posts on rape (My first serious girlfriend had a thing for rape fantasy play and it confused home schooled Bible college me for years.) ( Anyway, since you sort of opened my eyes to the feminist perspective on this, I googled you and almost wrote you an email, but was like…..uh…..thats seems really fucking creepy, actually. Maybe I won’t send her an email…. Just thought you should know.

  62. @truthwalker: You know me too well! That wasn’t the most offensive of her comments, though, so I just skipped past it (also because I think the whole “personal responsibility” b.s. is just a way for her to rationalize her behavior).

    Hey, it would NOT be creepy! You and I communicate almost daily here, do we not? And aren’t you on my facebook? (If you aren’t, why aren’t you? You totally don’t even have to google me, just click on my name lol!) Totally NOT creepy to send me an e-mail to further discuss anything we’ve discussed here. :)

  63. In fact, I would have loved it.

    Now, if I would have replied, “UH DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN CRAZY PERSON” (I wouldn’t have done that, but let’s pretend) and you contacted me further, that would have been creepy. :)

  64. I think my tone has been fairly respectful and that I’m just trying to give a bit of insight into how obsessive personalities perceive these situations. I know it’s a very personal subject to many folks here and I don’t mean to seem dismissive of that, but the histrionics and personal attacks aren’t really necessary.
    Firstly, any type of stalking in my past was many many years ago and I actually do have a tremendous sense of responsibility which is why it’s one of many issues I chose to address in extensive therapy.
    Next, I give no justification for violence or threats of violence under any circumstances.
    Lastly, the forever-victimhood mentality of so many otherwise self-actualized women is extraordinarily prevalent in the current liberal social atmosphere, I find it frustrating but do try to understand it even when greeted with panicky diatribes about their boundaries, etc.

  65. @cemeterygates:

    Since I’ve been “that guy” my general observation is that people who acquire more than one stalker in their lives often lack the communication skills and assertiveness to keep their boundaries and intentions known.

    Or maybe you’re just not good at reading signals, even when people tell you specifically that they are not interested in you. If someone calls you a stalker, how are they not being clear and assertive? Maybe you should take the hint that being called a stalker means you should back off. Maybe you should realize that since multiple people have been offended, threatened, or annoyed by your behavior, you should stop doing it.

    I’m someone who demands direct accountability when I feel wronged and tend to haunt folks a little until I feel satisfied that they comprehend their actions.

    Do realize how much this sounds like a power trip? You demand that people learn a lesson, and they have to answer to you for their actions. I don’t know any specifics of your cases, but you’re not always entitled to an explanation for other people’s decisions, even if those decisions hurt you. Sometimes it’s actually not about you. If you have stalked men who have broken up with you, that’s their choice and they don’t owe you an explanation for it. The healthy thing to do is to realize that these people aren’t worth bothering with.

  66. @marilove: Have you noticed how closely stalker behaviour mirrors the way “romantic” behaviour is represented in films and tv?

    I can’t help but feel that “love letters and puppy dog” early stages of stalking seem inspired by imitating what they’ve seen on TV.

    Having read some of the above posts, I have to confess, that when I first saw mrsS I swapped lab groups with a friend so that I would be in her lab group (as I knew it’d involve many long nights studying together) and then contrived to not only “happen” to meet her but also dance with her at a Ceilidh later the same week. So I don’t think anyone is immune from stalkerish behaviour

  67. @cemeterygates: “Lastly, the forever-victimhood mentality of so many otherwise self-actualized women is extraordinarily prevalent in the current liberal social atmosphere, I find it frustrating but do try to understand it even when greeted with panicky diatribes about their boundaries, etc.”

    Oh, come on. STOP the victim-blaming.

  68. @russellsugden: I don’t think anyone is immune, either, and I think there is a WORLD of difference between “stalkerish behavior” (ie, what you did to meet mrsS) and being an actual stalker.

    And I do agree with you 100% on how that behavior is represented in media. Just look at Twilight.

  69. @catgirl: I honestly appreciate the thoughtfulness of your response.
    I do know that there is definitely a type of entitlement in thinking that one deserves explanations for abandonment, perceived or otherwise. Even in my (fairly functional) adult life I still struggle with that particular trigger – I do think that everyone, not just me, deserves explanations when they feel they’ve been wronged. I recognize it’s not my right to impose that demand on others, but I don’t know that I’ll ever stop seeing it as Wrong and Mean to ignore people.

  70. @catgirl: The police? Not helpful.

    After I got that letter (comment 51) I took it to the cops and the pretty much told me that they couldn’t do anything until there was an actual crime.

    The letter gave details how this creep was planning to rape and kill me. The cops? Shrugged and sent me home with a flyer about self defense.

  71. @russellsugden:

    Yeah, it often starts out as “romantic” and maybe even flattering. A lot of people think that being stalked is a compliment, because that person just likes you so much. By the time they realize that it isn’t about being in love and it’s about control, it’s often too late to do anything about it. It certainly doesn’t help that a lot of movies and tv shows (including children’s cartoons) will show someone continuously pursuing a person who isn’t interested, and it’s common for that other person to fall for them in the end. Even when the “stalker” never gets the person they are going after, it’s just considered funny rather than serious or threatening. I think the perfect example is Steve Urkel going after Laura Winslow. I don’t think it ever reached stalker-level, but the boy would not take “no” for answer.

  72. @cemeterygates: That doesn’t mean you should “haunt” them.

    And sometimes people ignore people because that’s the only way they can move on, or maybe they suspect the person they are ignoring has issues and will “haunt” them, or maybe they have other reasons you aren’t aware of.

    In the end, if someone doesn’t want any contact with you, they have that right. You can think they are Wrong and Mean but that doesn’t mean you should stalk them. Nor does it mean you somehow have more responsibility than the person who doesn’t want to have any contact with you.

    Also, your insistence that women who don’t want to be stalked have some kind of “victimhood mentality” is very bothersome.

  73. @marilove: “your insistence that women who don’t want to be stalked have some kind of “victimhood mentality” is very bothersome.”

    The victimhood mentality isn’t about not wanting to be stalked, not wanting to be raped, etc… it’s about self-identifying as a capital V Victim for the rest of your life after something shitty happens in your life. Tori Amos Syndrome. I have had some horrible horrible things inflicted upon me and I don’t use them as primary identifying factors the way I see others doing every day. It’s just my opinion, and anyone who wants to can brand themselves with a scarlet V forever if it be there will, but I don’t think it’s good for social progress in any way, shape, or form.

  74. @cemeterygates:

    No, sorry, but you are not entitled to an explanation if someone breaks up with you. No one has an obligation to stay in a relationship with anyone, including you. They have the right to leave for any reason or no reason at all. It’s nice if they give you an explanation, but they’re not obligated to do it. Honestly, if someone would leave you on a whim, don’t you think you’re better off without them anyway?

    As to not being assertive enough, well, I’m extremely assertive. Some might even call me bitchy, if they buy into the double-standard. It doesn’t protect me from being stalked. Instead, it becomes even more of a power thing. The problem is not with the victims; it is with the stalkers. I’ve never had any serious stalkers, but I’ve met plenty of borderline guys. When I break up with a guy or turn down a guy who asks me out, I try to do it as gently as possible, but there is just no good way to do it. Sometimes guys will bug me for months, demanding an explanation. If I give them an explanation, then they will often demand that I give them a chance anyway, or that my reason isn’t good enough. If I say that I have a boyfriend, they’ll tell me to break up with him or cheat on him. If I say that I don’t find them physically attractive (because they have no teeth, smell bad, or are 30 years older than me), they’ll insist that I’m being shallow or that those are actually good things or that I shouldn’t care because they have a lot of money or a big penis or whatever. I’m extremely assertive in telling them I’m not interested, and yet they still bug me. Of course most guys aren’t like this, but too many of them are. Being assertive is not enough to stop them.

  75. @marilove: I’ve not actually seen Twilight but I’m aware it’s the new Buffy and lots of people are reading the book on the train

    @catgirl:Steve Urkel must be something we didn’t have on TV when I was a kid, but the theme of “relentless pursuit” is in a lot of long running TV shows (quite a few spring to mind now I start thinking about it), like Fraiser where Niles gets the girl after obessing over her for years.

  76. @cemeterygates: WHAT? So if someone had a horrible thing happen in their life, and it makes them more cautious or it causes them to look at life differently, they are somehow claiming victimhood status? I don’t understand your point at all.

  77. Also, Tori Amos syndrome? What? Some people have a difficult time moving on from horrible things happening in their life. It’s LOVELY that you’re blaming the VICTIM and not, you know, the rapists and stalkers for stalling social progress. It has nothing to do with the VICTIM or how the VICTIM reacts, but rather the acts of the one stalking, murdering, or raping. Period.

  78. @russellsugden:

    Well, at least Niles was secretive about it. It’s not like he asked out Daphne and she said “no” and he kept asking. Still creepy, but not as bad as the ones who know for sure that the other person doesn’t like them and yet they keep “pursuing” anyway.

  79. @catgirl: “No, sorry, but you are not entitled to an explanation if someone breaks up with you.”

    I know that many people agree with you that you don’t owe an explanation to your partner or friend if you abandon them. I will forever disagree with that sentiment and view those who do that as extraordinarily selfish – and I suppose those with your opinion would think that my position is the selfish one.

  80. @ catgirl “By the time they realize that it isn’t about being in love and it’s about control, it’s often too late to do anything about it.”

    I think that’s why my proto stalking never became stalking. It was never about control, it was about being lonely. I think to a point, that is why the TV message is seen as humorous instead of terrifying. Urkel isn’t trying to control her. He’s (as marilove pointed out about someone else all together) “clingy and annoying”

    Stalking has degrees, but its still stalking. When I was driving by my ex-girlfriends house when I got off at 3am in the desperate hope she would see me and know that I cared but was conflicted, I was stalking. But not in even in the same plane as the guy that left dead animals on peoples’ doorsteps. I think one of the lines that could be drawn here is the degree of stalking. Being assertive would have stopped me instantly. “Opps, violated a social norm again. Time to go hide with my books.” Where as being assertive with Mr Lovenote on an Ax isn’t going to do anything good or effective.

  81. @marilove: I think it’s the people who clutch on to their identification as Victims permanently that empowers perpetrators. It’s just another way to show them that they’ve stayed with you forever. I know you feel passionately about this, as do I, and we won’t agree… we just have different philosophies on life.

  82. @cemeterygates: It’s nice to give an explanation, but you no one owes you anything.

    What if I break up with an abusive boyfriend? Do I have some sort of obligation to explain to my abusive boyfriend why I left him? NO. No matter how much he wants it, NO.

  83. @cemeterygates:

    Well, it’s not a crime to be selfish. It is a crime to stalk someone. Sometimes people don’t want to give you an explanation because the truth hurts. Maybe your friends left you because you were too clingy or too intrusive. It doesn’t matter why. They could leave you for something as frivolous as having an ugly couch. The reason doesn’t matter. They don’t have to prove to you that you their reason for leaving is good enough. Relationships are voluntary. If someone wants out for any reason, that’s their right. Nobody has to stay in a relationship that they don’t want to be in. Maybe they are selfish for leaving you, but it doesn’t matter. If they don’t want to be in that relationship, they simply do not have to be.

  84. @cemeterygates:

    Perpetrators do not need to be “empowered”. I’m more assertive than anyone I know and I’m certainly not immune to being victimized. In some cases, criminals see it as a challenge, like it means more if they can “win” over me. The problem is with the criminals, not with the victims.

  85. @marilove: “What if I break up with an abusive boyfriend? Do I have some sort of obligation to explain to my abusive boyfriend why I left him? NO. ”

    It is my opinion that if you ever cared about him, even if he’s changed into some sort of monster, you’d want to tell him why you’re leaving. I personally would feel – not an obligation but a responsibility, to tell them what they’ve done, even if I think they already know. That is just me. As I’ve learned not everyone feels they wish to behave this way I’ve just been more careful the types of people with whom I’ve become emotionally involved.

  86. Scientologists…yeah forgot about that one.

    Back in my 20’s, I worked briefly for Survival Insurance. I went in looking for some wage-slave job for a few months. A few tests later and I am a manager!

    Second day on the job, my supervisor takes me out to lunch, tells me that although my test scores were good, some answers were “troubling.” He wondered if I was interested in “reaching my full potential.”

    It took about 3 of those lunches for the Scientology word & book to appear. I read Dianetics, front to back, decided I wanted none of it and said so.

    Then the Saturday (9 AM sharp, the bastards) visits started. And NEVER stopped. 2 months of it with many hints on the job that my evaluation was coming up.

    I finally quit the job, STILL got visits, (now at random intervals) even though by this time I wasn’t opening the door, just screaming “Go away!”

    The week before I moved, I opened the door, told them that I was moving to Hawaii because I had AIDS (a new, scary disease at the time) and wanted to die well.

    Don’t know if it was the story or the moving but I never heard from them again.

  87. @cemeterygates: Uh, yeah, except you did:

    And I quote: “It’s just my opinion, and anyone who wants to can brand themselves with a scarlet V forever if it be there will, but I don’t think it’s good for social progress in any way, shape, or form.”

    How about you say that those who rape, murder, stalk, etc., aren’t good for social progress in any way, shape, or form, instead of focusing on the victims, which you keep doing?

  88. @cemeterygates: You really don’t understand the mindset of an abuser (and a stalker is an abuser), or how to handle and abuser, do you?

    If someone is abused, the LAST THING they should be doing is contacting their abuser. PERIOD.

  89. In cemetarygates defense, I think two problems are playing out here. One we aren’t mentioning degrees. Give stalking a rating of 1-10. 1-3 stalkers might quit with a assertive “Quit”. 7-10 stalkers should not be talked to at all, they need immediate police involvement.

    The rest fall in the middle. What is appropriate for 1 is not appropriate for 10. The victims of all are equally victims but not of the same degree of crime.

    Second of all, there is a huge difference between shall and ought. You shall implies entitlement, ought implies social or ethical convention.

    You shall not demand an explanation for a break up, you have no right to one. But you ought to get one in most normal circumstances.

  90. @truthwalker:

    As I’ve already pointed out, being assertive does not work. I’m extremely assertive and I’ve had still had plenty men border on stalking because they would not accept my “no” answer when they asked me out. When I become assertive, they get even worse because they see it as a challenge and it becomes even more about “winning”.

  91. @truthwalker: It really has nothing at all to do with assertiveness. It has nothing at all to do with how the victim acts. Nothing. At. All.

    The best thing to do is IGORE them, but even that doesn’t always work.

    And calling the police doesn’t usually work, either, as they don’t tend to take stalking seriously.

    This is why I am damn tired of people blaming the victim. Telling victims to stop acting like victims doesn’t address the actual stalkers or rapist or whatever in any way, shape, or form.

    And saying that acting like a victim doesn’t progress our society while conveniently ignoring the stalkers, etc., is one way to blame the victim. “Well, maybe if you didn’t act like a VICTIM you wouldn’t have been attacked!!” That’s not how it works.

    Like catgirl, I am assertive. I don’t take crap from anyone, not since ending an abusive relationship when I was 20. That STILL doesn’t stop me from being almost-stalked or otherwise having to deal with creeps. Someone I was seeing a few years ago attacked me and threatened to kill me — because I told him to leave me alone. I was being assertive and it backfired (I should have just left the situation and, you know, IGNORED HIM).

  92. And my theory would be those guys are +3. But I could completely full of shit too. Its really hard for me to be objective about this because I’ve been the creepy guy. I know that some of the things I did were stalker behavior.

    I also know I did it out of loneliness and ignorance and not a need for power. Had my ex-girlfriend caught me and said. “NO. Creepy. Go away.” I would have. I’d say I was a 1.

    I’m not blaming the victim, or saying Cemetarygates is right, I’m just trying to offer a plausible scenario for how a person could hold her point a view.

  93. @truthwalker: Not everyone (like you) is going to cross that stalker line, but being assertive really isn’t the answer, and could make the situation worse. If you suspect someone is or can or will stalk you, the best thing you can do is ignore them, NOT encourage them, and do what you can do to stay safe. The reason she didn’t say “NO. Creepy. Go away.” was either because she wasn’t particularly bothered by your almost-stalkerish-ways, or because she WAS bothered and felt it was better to just leave you alone, so as not to encourage the behavior.

    I mean, I certainly didn’t ask for some guy to become fixated on me and break into all my acounts and stalk me all over the internet. I hadn’t even seen, let alone talk to him, in over TWO YEARS. He had been waiting for the right moment for TWO YEARS.

    The more I tried to talk to him, the more he did. eventually I ignored him and he went away.

  94. Oddly enough, she didn’t catch me, but I told her about it. She thought is was pathetic and cute. We’re still friends, 10 year later.

    I actually want to ask you more about this, but since this has sort of side tracked the whole “Tell a creepy stalker story” vibe, I will use my new found ability to communicate in places besides skepchick.

  95. @marilove: “You really don’t understand the mindset of an abuser (and a stalker is an abuser), or how to handle and abuser, do you?

    If someone is abused, the LAST THING they should be doing is contacting their abuser. PERIOD.”

    I have most certainly been abused in various ways in my past, I do feel that I understand the life situation of an abused person. Perhaps some people heal by not looking back, others, myself included, heal via confrontation. This is perhaps another instance of the same personality difference that is causing the dissonance here.

  96. @davew: My father was abusive, I didn’t really start to heal until I went back and talked to him about it as an adult. I really don’t think I’ve said anything scary here, I guess since I don’t fit the incredibly stringent neo-feminist mold and have had the balls to admit to inappropriate behavior in the past somehow I’m a horrifying outsider.

  97. @cemeterygates: It has nothing to do with healing. Staying in contact with your abuser is dangerous.

    If you’re a child and were abused as an adult, it MIGHT make sense to talk to your abusive father as an adult, but that is NOT what we we were talking about here, and that is clearly years down the line.

    When I was 19-20 years old, I was with an abusive guy. I eventually left him. Contacting him again would have been the WORST thing I could have done. Confronting him would have just turned him into a stalker (he had lots of warning signs but thankfully I was able to thwart them for the most part). He was VERY VERY VERY controlling and very manipulating. I wouldn’t even contact him now, and it’s been almost a decade.

    What, exactly, is a “neo-feminist mold”? And please note that truthwalker admited his past inappropriate behavior, and that went fine, because, unlike you, he doesn’t victim blame, and he doesn’t suggest that victims of abuse/stalking should confront their abusers/stalkers.

  98. @marilove: Also, I left him. AND DID NOT LOOK BACK. I’m sure he knew why I left him, but reasoning wouldn’t have worked with him. I had tried for two years to reason with him. Telling him why I was leaving him would have likely caused him to actually physically harm me, which I had avoided.

    After I left, he tried to keep in contact with ME. He had all my passwords because while we were living together, he had installed a key-logging software on my computer, and he logged EVERYTHING I EVER DID online. The safest and smartest thing I could have done is exactly what I did: Leave him as soon as I could, with little to no explanation, and no contact with him after the fact.

    Do you suggest that someone who is about to leave their abusive partner should tell that abusive partner they are leaving them and why? If so, do you realize how dangerous that is?

  99. @marilove: The decision on whether or not to confront someone who has abused you is a very personal one. Obviously there are many situations in which it would be a poor choice, but I think that stating as a matter of fact that it’s always the wrong thing is improper.
    There is a prevalent modern trend with feminists to wallow in the sisterhood of Survival after any alleged abuse has occurred in their life and it is consistently forbidden to suggest, for instance, that when someone marries four men in succession who all beat the crap out of her maybe she needs to reflect on why she is choosing abusers as partners. It isn’t about blaming her, it’s about asking her to do some soul-searching about the qualities of these partners that attract her, it’s a growth exercise. It doesn’t make the abusers any less accountable for their actions, but it might help the woman to self-actualize a bit and avoid it in the future. Every time I suggest something like this I get berated, but I thought among the critical thinkers here it would be okay; I wouldn’t have even bothered on a feminist site.

  100. @cemeterygates: “My father was abusive, I didn’t really start to heal until I went back and talked to him about it as an adult.”

    First off, I’m sorry your dad sucked. And the way you put this is distinctly non-scary. Talking to people, especially when exchanging points of view can be of benefit, sounds like a good idea. Talking is different from confrontation, however. Confrontation is aggressive and carries connotations of anger and punishment. (Check Websters if you don’t believe me.) Confrontation may be cathartic for the confronter, but unlikely to change anything in the confrontee except, perhaps, to escalate the situation if they also are the angry sort or make them vaguely afraid of you if they aren’t.

    Saying “I heal by confrontation” as a blanket statement makes you sound angry and volatile which is quite scary in my book. The written language has its limitations, and it could very well be that I am completely mistaken about your general approach to problem solving. I look forward to finding out that I am.

  101. @cemeterygates:

    If four different people abuse the same person, we shouldn’t ask why she’s “attracting” these jerks, we should ask why these jerks exist and why our society tolerates them. We should ask why abuse from one person makes enough an impact to make other abusers seek out the victims. The victims are not seeking out abusers; it’s the other way around. Abuse has long-term effects on people and other abusers see this and take advantage of it. My dad is psychology abusive (and has escalated to physical abuse in the past few years). He intentionally seeks out women who are vulnerable. His newest trick is to find women who are immigrants so he can hold that over them. We shouldn’t be asking women to change to avoid guys like my dad. Instead, we should be asking why people like my dad seek out a certain type of women. If someone tells that you’re fat, ugly, and stupid throughout your childhood, and then throughout your marriage, you’ll always believe it. If other people see this in you and take advantage of it, that does not mean you need to just buck up and suddenly believe the opposite of what has been told to you all your life. It means that people need to stop victimizing others in the first place.

  102. @cemeterygates: You know what’s interesting? You keep, once again, focusing on the victims, and not the abusers.

    Once again, you’re telling the victim to take responsibility, but not once have you said the abusers should. NOT ONCE.

    And what’s all this gobbly-gook about “modern feminists” and “neo-feminists”? How ‘bout we just put the onus on the ABUSER instead of the victim for once?

    Want to know why women go back to men who abuse them? Or end up with men who abuse them? Because society blames then. Because they are ashamed. Because when they go to the cops for help, the cops don’t believe them. Because they have been broken and beaten down by society and the men that abuse them. The same for men who are abused (though they are more likely to become the abusers after they’ve been abused).

    This has nothing to do with “modern feminists” or “neo-feminists” – this has all been true since the dawn of time. Even before the feminist movement. But now that women finally have a voice – feminists – we actually TALK about the abuse. The abuse was ignored, even encouraged, before. Now it’s not. It has nothing to do with “modern feminists”. This is not a new phenomenon and you are missing the point entirely by “blaming” it on “neo-feminism”, and it’s clear you don’t really understand the cycle of abuse, or the psychological ramifications of abuse.

  103. @davew: Okay, I guess I can understand where you’re coming from on that. I’ve never been in a non-verbal fight in my life, but I am someone who needs Words to happen in order to understand people sometimes. I see that the word “confrontation” indicates volatility, but I think that in cases of true abuse such anger is warranted. Nonetheless I do retain the ability to listen and parse what people say when I am angry with them, and I have never escalated one of these interactions past a need to be heard. Again, I’m able to do so in a nicey law-abiding non-stalker way as an adult, but I will always be someone who becomes preoccupied with the need to understand others’ actions when they won’t explain, I guess.
    I don’t think anyone has ever been afraid of me, even those who I’ve paid too much unwanted attention to. Even at my absolute worst, I’ve always just wanted an explanation as to why I’ve been mistreated, to help me understand human nature and myself better.

  104. @marilove: I don’t think there are any shortage of people saying that abusers, stalkers, rapists, are all bad and are a cancer to society, that’s why I’m not dwelling on it, although of course they must be held accountable and I’m not in disagreement. I am in disagreement that modern society still blames the victim in such instances, and it has been my observation that the shame victims once felt has been reinvented as a Victim badge of honor and coddled to the point where it’s completely unacceptable to try to use recurring horrible life experiences as a way to understand yourself instead of a new identity for yourself as someone who has been forever marred by a Bad Guy.
    I know that you don’t agree with me on this and that you think I’m misguided or even dangerous for not sharing your (more common) viewpoint, but I think it’s an important conversation to have.

  105. I have never stalked anyone, nor have I been stalked, other than a couple of Ex girlfriends calling a few too many times after a break up. However I did get hate mail for being an atheist from the same church group everyday for about 3 months. It’s almost a little depressing that nobody cares enough to send me threatening letters anymore. lol

  106. @cemeterygates: I am trying to stay out of this but , please:

    don’t think anyone has ever been afraid of me, even those who I’ve paid too much unwanted attention to. Even at my absolute worst, I’ve always just wanted an explanation as to why I’ve been mistreated, to help me understand human nature and myself better.

    So because you were mistreated (or victimized) you felt that you were owed special treatment (an explaination) and went out of your way to aggressively seek this special treatment?

    Can I stamp your Victim card for ya?

  107. @Bookitty: I don’t think asking someone to explain why they’ve done something unethical or actually harmful to you is special treatment in any way. I think it’s playing the victim a lot more to just paint them with the broad brush of Abuser and not try to understand.

  108. @cemeterygates: I am sorry, but you have no idea what you are talking about. Please re-read what catgirl said. Actually read it.

    Who is coddled? You mean the women who call the cops for help and are ignored? You mean people like you telling them that they are walking right into the abuse and are therefore asking for it?

    Just fyi: Your opinion isn’t “new” nor is it “original” or “rare”. Your opinion is what we like to call normal and one of the reasons why women go back to abusers.

  109. @cemeterygates: Let me copy/paste what catgirl said, since she said it so clearly:

    If someone tells that you’re fat, ugly, and stupid throughout your childhood, and then throughout your marriage, you’ll always believe it. If other people see this in you and take advantage of it, that does not mean you need to just buck up and suddenly believe the opposite of what has been told to you all your life. It means that people need to stop victimizing others in the first place.

    It might also help if you did some actual research on abuse, the cycle of abuse, and how abuse can negatively affect someone.

  110. Wow….this thread seems to have taken while to get going, and now it’s downright hostile. Understandable, I should think.

    Having been stalked by crazy, little, petite girl, I don’t think that that kind of behavior is ever acceptable, and I disagree with @russellsugden: with his characterization that men can be more capable of psychologically harming a person. This little pixie of a girl could barely break a wet noodle, yet she REALLY fucked with my head.

    My biggest crime? Not telling her to piss off like everyone else did.

    @cemeterygates: I have a serious problem with the generous hand you’re dealing to the behavior of a stalker. I think it’s one thing to try an explain stalker behavior, but it seems like in this thread that you’re trying trying to excuse. I’m sorry, monsignor, but that dog won’t hunt.

    I think it’s great that you didn’t shy away from explaining stalker behavior; that you did indeed touch upon some degree of casuistry, but I also think you’re engaging in a little bit of defensiveness. I don’t think that positivism is needed here.

  111. I think whether or not @cemeterygates is sympathising too much with stalkers, we can all basically agree that stalkers aren’t bad people. They’re well-meaning individuals who for whatever reason have got a sufficiently messed-up idea of what is and is not acceptable behaviour that they stalk. It’s in our interests to understand them, and we won’t do that by vilifying them. You can criticise his phrasing all you like, but this discussion needs someone to raise points from that point of view, so I think it should be encouraged.

  112. @andrewtaylor:

    They’re well-meaning individuals who for whatever reason have got a sufficiently messed-up idea of what is and is not acceptable behaviour that they stalk.



    Are you serious? You can’t be serious.

    Some people, like truthwalker when he was a kid, cross certain lines and it’s probably just due to being socially awkward, or just not understanding boundaries. A lot of that has to do with maturity, too. Clearly he’s grown and matured. And I wouldn’t call that stalking, anyway.

    However, please go up and read some of the other stories. That guy that left an axe outside of kittynh’s window with threatening letters isn’t a “good person”. The guy that, two years after we worked together, stalked me and caused me to be forced to resign from work, ins’t a “good person”. These people are abusers.

    You’re not taking stalking seriously enough. Stalking can end in death.

    I linked to a feministing article up thread. Read it, and the other three articles.

    The family of those women who were killed by their stalkers probably don’t think those stalkers were “good people”.

  113. @andrewtaylor:

    …we can all basically agree that stalkers aren’t bad people.They’re well-meaning individuals

    I’m sorry, but I can’t make that leap. Spreading lies and rumors about a person so that they will get in a romantic relationship with them is not well meaning. It is a degree of selfishness that goes beyond a simple lack of social skills….

    It is a loud pronouncement that says: “I don’t care what your family, your friends, or your workplace thinks. I don’t care if you get fired, insulted, or ostracized. All I care about is that you and I are meant to be. ”

    This is not well meaning. This behavior is indicative of an ill-meaning person.

  114. @Some Canadian Skeptic: There is NOTHING wrong with explaining abusive behavior and figuring out why people abuse others.

    But she is not just explaining. She’s victim-blaming, through and through, and excusing the behavior (“well, maybe if you would have just looked inside yourself, you wouldn’t have ended up in an abusive relationship!”).

    She clearly doesn’t understand abusive relationships, and the psychological ramifications for the victims that go through them.

    I am a very strong, independent woman, but almost a decade later, I AM STILL trying to deal with the shit I went through with the abusive ex. He spent two years breaking me down, and it took me years to even realize how much the relationship actually affected me.

  115. I just meant that stalkers, like most people, are messed-up more than they are evil. And yes, they go to ridiculous, immoral lengths to get what they want, but they do it because they believe that it’s somehow supposed to be, not because they specifically want to ruin your life. I don’t for a second want to condone what they do, but I think it’s more useful to have cemeterygates’ point of view in the thread than to keep yelling at him. I thought we were discussing stalking rather than judging it (since I’d assumed we were all pretty much agreed that it’s not on).

    If they’re messed-up, we need to understand them rather than leap down their throats when someone tries to present their point of view. If they’re evil, why not just shoot them and have done?

  116. @ andrewtaylor: “If they’re messed-up, we need to understand them rather than leap down their throats when someone tries to present their point of view. If they’re evil, why not just shoot them and have done?”

    A/T, I think what is at issue here is that there is a difference between wanting to understand someone’s behavior and condoning their behavior. A number of years ago I read fascinating book called the “Biology of Violence”. In the book it said that researchers who are interested in studying reviled criminals like sex offenders have a very hard time getting funding because of this confusion. I think people are afraid that if you see the perp as someone with an illness beyond their control this might lead to sympathy which will in turn lead to an attitude that will someone condone socially unacceptable behavior. I think this stems from a confusion between protecting society from criminals and punishing said criminals for their crimes.

    Regardless of whether the stalker has the ability to recognize his or her behavior as unacceptable and control it, the stalker is still potentially very dangerous (as evidenced by the countless examples given in this thread) and the person that is the object of his or her obsession deserves protection. If someone aims to put an axe in your head, the argument about whether it is because of some illness they can’t control or because they are a super asshole is secondary to protecting your skull from the axe.


  117. It’s a long thread, and I may have missed it, but has anyone, anyone at all asked the question “Is some/most/all severe stalking behaviour due to a chemical imbalance in the brain? Or perhaps defective genetic material?

    If such is the case, to at least some degree, does that not suggest that given effective treatment it may be remedied? Future gene therapy perhaps?

    Or do we know otherwise?

    What are the for certain known, if any, causes of severe stalker behaviour? Social? Cultural? Family? Chemistry? Nature/nurture?

    I don’t know, and that’s why I’m asking.

  118. @andrewtaylor: “I just meant that stalkers, like most people, are messed-up more than they are evil.”

    What’s the difference, really? 99% of people think that they’re good and try to be good. You can go trolling death row, asking inmates there whether they’re good people, and most will insist they are (ironically, the ones that won’t insist they’re good are likely the ones who have come to regret what they’ve done, making them somewhat better than those who feel no regret). The fact is, you can always try to blame evil on a screwed-up mentality, bad upbringing, or the genes a person was born with along with the positions of every atom in the universe. Just because you have an explanation for it doesn’t make it no longer evil. I don’t care if a stalker thinks he’s just helping fate come true by killing animals to send a message, he’s still evil.

    Of course, add in the caveat that they’re not all like this; there are degrees. Some people are just misguided and can learn to act more appropriately. But they usually do this by the time they reach adulthood, or not long into it. The ones who don’t learn a lesson by this point probably never will, and the only solution, really, is confinement for the good of the rest of society.

    On another note, I think I have an idea of what cemeterygates might be getting at here, so perhaps I could try explaining it in a different way. Let’s say you withdraw a lot of cash in preparation for purchasing a used car. You keep the cash in an open bag on the passenger’s seat of your car, and at some point you get out to grab a meal. You come back to find the money has been stolen. Are you to blame for it?

    Of course not. The thief is to blame, and they should be punished for it. We should also try to instill better virtues into people so this won’t happen in the first place. The blame doesn’t lie on you for this. However, that being said, there are steps you can take in the future to decrease the risk of something like this happening. Keep the money concealed better, and don’t let it out of your sight. You don’t want it to be stolen, so it makes sense to take steps to that effect.

    I think this is what cemeterygates was getting at with the example of the woman who faced four abusive husbands in a row, implying that there was something the woman could have done smarter to avoid this. I don’t know what this might be, as it’s pretty damn hard to spot abusers ahead of time, but perhaps there are signs one can pick up on. If nothing else, she could learn to get out fast once things start to look bad.

    Now, all that being said… seriously, what person wouldn’t already act like that? I’ve never heard of anyone who would forgo trying to prevent a crime just because they won’t be to blame if a crime does happen. The way people are now, you still get blamed for being a victim of anything. There’s little threat of not learning from your mistakes – you’ll have it rammed down your throat, with a dose of guilt for dessert.

  119. @Infophile: “implying that there was something the woman could have done smarter to avoid this. ”

    Once again, this is blaming the victim. “If only you would have been smarter, you could have stopped it!”

    PLEAE read what catgirl had to say.

  120. @ marilove: It’s starting to sound like you want to discuss stalking without considering how to avoid being targeted in case it looks like victim blaming and without considering the stalker’s point of view in case that looks like condoning. That doesn’t seem to leave much of any interest to say.

  121. @Infophile:

    The blame doesn’t lie on you for this. However, that being said, there are steps you can take in the future to decrease the risk of something like this happening. Keep the money concealed better, and don’t let it out of your sight. You don’t want it to be stolen, so it makes sense to take steps to that effect.

    I’m sorry, your metaphor assumes that the stalker’s behavior can be explained using the “Rational Actor Model”. It assumes that the stalker has a clear, logical, rational, practical series of motivations and proceeds to follow through in the most clear, logical, and rational manner… stalk someone.

    This is exactly the same as saying “No one is blaming the woman for getting raped, but perhaps wearing a mini-skirt and heels to a drunken sporting event was tactically bad…..if she wore pants then maybe this wouldn’t have happened!

    This is unacceptable reasoning. You say that you’re not blaming the victim, but then you proceed to liken getting stalked to someone who left a ber-jillion dollars in their car and it got stolen. No one blames the person for getting stolen from, but come on! The person should know better!

    Stalking is nothing short of a violation. We do need to try and figure out why people do this kind of despicable thing, but we can’t go down the path that says that the person getting stalked bears some responsibility. This is not only factually wrong, but it is at best, ethically suspect.

  122. @andrewtaylor: It’s not about considering the stalkers point of view any more than a discussion on rape is about considering the rapist’s point of view.

    This is not a “point of view” kind of discussion. Stalking is very, very serious business and the people who do that kind of thing do NOT do so out of any sense of rationality. It’s obsessive and inherently self-centered: the person getting stalked has no choice whatsoever in the matter and is utterly without means of control. In a stalker-relationship, ALL the power rests in the hands of the stalker, and none in the hands of the stalked.

    There are things that we can do to lessen the likelihood that a person will get stalked, but it’s not helpful at all, even obscurantist to say that any of the explanation rests in the hands of someone who may have, inadvertently or not ‘called it upon themselves’ in some way.

    Is that really how we’re going to approach stalker behavior?

  123. It seems to me that the causes of the phenomenon being discussed are generally considered relevant to any given discussion. In this case, that’s what’s going on in the stalker’s head and what they see in their victims. I can’t see how you can discuss anything properly without wondering where it comes from.

  124. @andrewtaylor:

    In this case, that’s what’s going on in the stalker’s head and what they see in their victims. I can’t see how you can discuss anything properly without wondering where it comes from.

    You just answered your own question. “In this case, that’s what’s going on in the stalker’s head, and what they see in their victims.” This is exactly right. This is where it comes from. It has nothing to do with the actual people getting stalked…..they have no control whatsoever in the manner. None. The crime comes entirely from the stalker….inside their crazy, poorly socialized head. The causes may be manifold (they indeed are), but the person getting stalked is immune here.

    I was stalked. I had heard that she was a little strange, and that I should be rude to her to avoid her getting messed up opinions of me. I was told to tell her to fuck off….to literally tell her to ‘fuck off, Emily’. I didn’t, and I was as nice to her as I was to any other person. I didn’t give her special attention, and treated her like a human being that deserves the same basic level of respect that I give everyone from the start. Should I have acted differently? Did I bring this upon myself in ANY way? Is that seriously what you’re suggesting? The bottom line is that she saw me in a way that fit to her idealized version of me, and could not, would not understand or act otherwise. NOTHING I could have reasonably done could have stopped her from doing what she did.

  125. @andrewtaylor: Um. Have you read any of the comments above? Stalkers aren’t rational. You can just smile at a stalker, and bam! You’re being stalked. You can just be nice to someone. You can date someone for a while, realize they are creepy or unhinged, so you dump them — you can be very firm and agressive in your dumping — and then they stalk you because you dumped them.

    How could I have avoided my stalker, exactly? I hadn’t seen or talked to him in over TWO YEARS. We worked together, and we got along fine, there were no issues and I had no idea he was bat fucking shit crazy.

    This is normal for most stalkers.

  126. @marilove:

    You might have missed what I was trying to do there. I was attempting to spell out the most charitable interpretation of cemeterygates’ argument before I argued against it – think of it like erring in the opposite direction of a strawman.

    The thing is, I agree that cases like stalking or rape are different. There isn’t necessarily anything you can do differently to avoid it, and that’s the key difference.

    When I see someone making an argument along these lines, even using the weakest form (“there’s things they could have been smarter about to avoid this”), it typically comes down to one of two cases:

    A. Someone new to the subject who doesn’t appreciate all the weight behind victim blaming and the reasons that behavior like stalking can be impossible to avoid. (Reading through this thread, anyone who started this way should be past it by now.)
    B. Victim blaming, but trying to appear rational about it. In this case, it’s just a rationalization built up for why the victim is at fault after the blamer has instinctively decided that it’s so.

  127. @Infophile: Ah, I got ya, sorry I didn’t understand you.

    I get that she’s number B. Everything she says points to that. Also, if you click her name, you’re brought to her twitter page, which just further proves that she is ALL ABOUT blaming the victim. It’s not so much that she is new to the arugment, but rather that she is unwilling to learn.

  128. I met a woman at a first aid course and hung out with her a couple times before I realized she was pretty crazy. I’d met her boyfriend, he seemed alright. I stopped hanging out with them. I chatted with the boyfriend a few times on ICQ here and there over the next few years, but rarely, so I thought nothing of it. Suddenly he contacted me on an old computer I’d revived (I’d removed him from my lists on my other computer) and began spouting all kinds of bizarre nonsense. I played along for a little while, not really understanding what was going on. Eventually it came out that he’d been visiting a psychiatrist, I presume he’d developed schizophrenia or something. Though I blocked him, he kept making new accounts and would write me horrific poetry and tell me I was his long lost love, and an angel and would I like to go to a movie no strings attached? Thankfully I’d moved and changed my phone number since I’d known him, and was unlisted (after he started pestering me I phoned the phone company to make sure I wasn’t listed). Had he known where I lived I know I would have found him camped out in my hallway. He scared me because I could tell that he was really, really genuinely crazy and if he found me IRL, I’d be in trouble.
    I logged a couple of the conversations on my blog, you can see one here:

    I had a friend who was stalked by a terrifying girl who, among other things, chained herself to his front porch and painted the apartment she shared with his girlfriend with ketchup and mustard. He had to have her arrested and it took almost two years before she finally left him alone. The police might not have taken him so seriously (as he’s a boy and girls don’t stalk, right?) had he not been living with his parents who were able to back up his claims.
    Stalkers are scary and crazy. It’s not fun to get that kind of attention.

  129. When I was a kid I used to get letters in the mail from this guy in Blackwater, OK who was a fan of my acting work. He’d ask all sorts of questions, which would get progressively more personal, and usually end by asking me for a photograph, non-professional, preferably in a bathing suit or, if that wasn’t available, my underwear. They’d come in every few months. Years later when I got a personal manager I mentioned it to him, and he was already familiar with the guy. He had several other clients who had been the guy’s target, and he’d actually get worse with some, with certain letters in the message being written in red instead of black, and if you put them together you’d get questions like “are you circumcised?”

    So yeah, I had a stalker of sorts. But that’s as bad as it’s ever been.

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