Actually, I completely forgot about setting up a Google Alert on my stalker’s name.
Which means that the email triggered by that Google Alert, announcing my stalker’s arrest—after waking from a good night’s sleep ... head still stuffy from a light head cold ... groggily checking email—was a complete shock.
Seeing her name in my Inbox.
Quickly moving from blinking away the Sandman, to fully alert.
It’s now been four years and two months since my stalker's last court appearance with me. After her release from jail—which was inevitable, regardless of her being found innocent or guilty of stalking me—I had no idea where she landed. The legal system doesn’t dole out tracking devices for these perps. Although victim resources do exist, like the VINE (Victim Information Network), information tends to be reactionary, limited to the crime that directly affects you. The last VINE notification came the day my stalker was released from jail. After that, I was on my own. Which is why I set up the Google Alert: it was the only way to proactively keep one step ahead of my nemesis.
But, as you all know, if you keep your life off the Internet, even Google Alerts have limits. Which meant reigning in the worrying part of my brain. Simultaneously acknowledging the tension—would my stalker hold to her agreement to leave me the fuck alone forever? Or, one day, on a lark, once again make me her personal chew toy? What if we accidentally ran into each other in the store, a festival, while taking a casual stroll—
Those what ifs could consume me. A continuation of the hell my stalker inflicted, if I let it. Moving on from being stalked isn’t a matter of just letting it all go. It’s not that easy. Stalking has been called “murder in slow motion.” The destruction, can continue long after the actual event. This graphic describes it well (which I posted despite the typo … which tells you how strongly I feel about the description, because you know how typos bug me beyond belief):
How, really, can any victim shrug off someone gleefully trying to destroy every part of their lives? Do memories of evil ever really fade? At that, stalkers rarely back down from their attacks, even after a courtroom rebuke. Would I ever fully get assurance that the stalking was over?
For the sake of reclaiming a normal life, balance was and is necessary. I could let the thoughts consume me, inadvertently allowing her to continue her torment by forcing me to live in The Land of the What If? After my stalker’s release from jail, muting those worries became a daily … wait … no: an hourly fight. After a freakish amount of hard mental work, I can silence anxiety and walk back into normalcy. It’s under control.
Some days, though, reminders are more visible, and the mental restraint needs to start all over again. Usually while driving on sunny days. After pulling down the sun visor. Seeing the photocopy of my stalking order secured on the flip side, there for safekeeping and fast grabbing. The police tend to need evidence fast. And again, if we cross paths again, my stalking order is always with me. For proof. Despite four years of peace, that stalking order will never leave my car. On one hand, it's because I just don’t know what’s going through that terrible woman’s head. On the other hand, I just like being prepared.
Which is why having answers about how my stalker landed would be a load off. Cold hard facts. That’s all I’m asking for.
Which is why I immediately clicked that Google Alert, without questioning whether the link was safe. I needed to know why my stalker was arrested. What would happen. Now.
To be continued …