This story is written by an anonymous survivor, details have been changed to protect their identity, but the risk is well worth the reward. In recognition of Stalking Awareness Month, it is time that we share stories to understand what stalking is and what it does to the survivors living in the shadows.
The Shadow Behind Me
I was really hoping the distance and time apart would create a space for us to learn, grow and appreciate each other more. I just returned, trying to reconcile with my partner, father to our child, after fleeing our home. However, this was not the case, it was actually worse than before. The verbal and physical abuse started right after we moved back in together. As much as I really wanted this relationship to work especially for our child, I now knew there was no way. My partner was not capable of NOT abusing me. I fled our home (again) grabbing what few necessities I could for myself and my child.
Almost immediately I realized I was being followed. I was originally going to stay in our home state, but now with the headlights in my rearview mirror I just kept driving and driving. Trying to get away from the pain, hurt and the fear I drove across the country. I got myself and kid into a domestic violence shelter in another state. I was scared but was starting to feel safe.
It wasn’t but a few weeks and I realized my phone, email and other accounts had been hacked. And then one day I was at the park with my kid and there were some men there who started questioning me...these men knew things about me and the fear that gripped me was intense. My ex must know where I am! I immediately left the park, packed my car up and left that state with my child.
I arrived at another shelter, scared and afraid to even have a phone. After a few days of adjustment, I was set up with a new phone and number and received help in creating a new email account. I was just starting to get comfortable again, when I started to recognize men who were some of my ex’s old “connections,” he had a lot of those. And, once again my phone was hacked.
Finally, I was relocated to Safe Harbor. While feeling safe, I am still scared. I’m scared to use or get a phone; I’m scared to enroll my child in school; I’m scared to get a job outside “working from home,” all to minimize the possibility of my ex locating me. I live in constant fear that he is somewhere out there, looking and searching for me. My life is spent in fear of the next time he will find me and my child.