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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stalking: How It Starts

I just wanted to publicly share this, to say how outraged I am and that it’s not okay. No matter what you may think about someone, there is a time to share your thoughts, and there is a time not to. And I am making this public, and will publicize this person’s name and phone number if I have to, because I am not going to be intimidated by some psychotic asshole.

I have never had a stalker, and I say that in a “knock on wood” kind of way. Even when I was writing my dumb little sex column. I hope I don’t have one now.

Last night I was on the Upper West Side, having just had dinner with my mom and stepdad. I had a voicemail from a number I didn’t recognize, and it was someone saying, “Hi Rachel, I’m on Sixth Avenue and thought of you. Give me a call.” I listened again and wasn’t sure if they said their name and it got cut off or didn’t give one. I have a relatively new cell phone so there are friends whose numbers still haven’t made it into my phone. I also never ever answer if I don’t know who’s calling.

I wrote:

“Hey – sorry to be rude but who Is this? Tx. Rachel”

Then a text, “Rachel, this Sunday come to Grand Army Plaza.”

I wrote again, “Who is this?”

The reply I got was, “A friend.”

I quickly figured out it was the asshole who sent me these two emails below, neither of which I responded to. We had corresponded about an article I was writing a few months ago (a non-sex related one) that wound up getting killed, which is how he had my number.

Rachel,

I hope you're doing well. I read an article this morning about the new babeland store opening up. It's right down the block from my front door, only a few storefronts away. Here it is: http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2008/06/slope_babeland.php#comments

It made me want to invite you over to my place sometime soon, and have you bring along your favorite toy. I would help you use it by giving you a long backrub, footrub, brushing your hair, caressing your skin in long slow circles. And then to end everything we could use some baby oil on your chest and I'd put myself into your cleavage. Email me if this sounds like fun...I want it to be fun for both of us. You're really cool and I'm a little initimdated by you, and I'd like to see you again.

Be well,
John

Hi,

I saw you at Grand Army Plaza recently less than two weeks ago. It was a Monday I think: you were outside the stop checking your messages and I was exiting up the stairs. I thought, "Aren't you Rachel Kramer Bussel?" But you were making a phone call, and I didn't want to interrupt. You looked really thin. I read you were working out a lot and so I recognized you.

Anyway, I am into hearing from you...my number is 718-XXX-XXXX.

Best,
John


Immediately, I texted:

“Please don’t ever contact me again. Rachel”

He texted back, “But I saw your myspace tho.” and then called me from another 718 number and said something about hanging out and how we’re friends.

Well, I’ll say this: We are not friends and never will be. I think he is a crazy freak and am saving all his messages in case I need to go to the police. It’s highly disturbing to me that people think that for whatever their own fucked up, socially inept reasons, they can pull this shit on people, and by people, I mean women. It’s NOT okay and I think anyone contemplating such bullshit needs to be reminded of that.

And I won’t lie – my first instinct is to further remove myself from the “sex world" as some kind of preventative measure. I have already stated my issues with being known as a “sex writer,” but at the same time, if I capitulate to this stupidity, I am giving in to it, plus, I could never write another word about sex again and that really wouldn’t change the reality of what’s on the internet or some people’s inability to realize that women writing about sex do not and never will want to fuck you. I think it’s sad that this person can’t differentiate between common sense and stalker-like behavior. I am not done with sex writing and while I know people like this are in the minority, it's still utterly unnerving to have to deal with.

I hope this is the end of this drama, and it makes me ever more grateful for the sane people who can tell the difference between public and private, and can engage with intelligent, or even just titillating, discussions about sex and sex writing without devolving into behavior like this.

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9 Comments:

At July 10, 2008, Blogger Trixie Fontaine said...

That is fuuuuuuuuuuucked. And if he has already contacted you three or more times since you told him not to, it might not be a bad idea to call the cops already.

Sex writing might be part of what's fueled his plan to stalk you, but just plain delusional thought is where it starts and there's no behavior of yours that can change the kind of rationale that thinks having simply seen your myspace page constitutes the forging of a real "friendship".

With movies, etc. continuing to teach people that certain behaviors are not stalking, it's endearing persistence that leads to marriage, having the cops warn him off might let him know he's not going to break down your resistance to what he thinks are his charms, but will lead to a restraining order and possible jail time.

 
At July 10, 2008, Anonymous jessica said...

that is some crazy shit - and good call trixie, on movies romanticizing this kind of behavior.

it's amazing what people think they can get away with when addressing and/or dealing with women who do what they want with their own sexuality. hateful comments, badgering comments, waaaaaay over-the-line comments...fuck this guy, and it took balls (ovaries?) for you to post about it instead of just letting it fester.

 
At July 10, 2008, Anonymous MeiLin Miranda said...

We deal with this at Casa de Miranda by being armed. Seriously.

I'm going for my concealed carry permit soon, and Sir already has one. I gots a 12-gauge shotgun named Zoe and a .22 rifle named Martha, and I'm getting a larger caliber Sig Sauer handgun to carry. Sir has his own .38 special named Wash.

Women are not as strong as men. Projection of force evens the odds, and I have zero qualms about shooting a stalker or anyone else who's trying to hurt me or my children.

We're not scary people; we have never drawn on anyone, we store our guns properly, and Sir is a better shot than most cops (I'm working on it). If we ever do draw it will be because we really think we need to shoot someone to save our lives. But we find that people just knowing we're armed cuts down on the bullshit dramatically.

 
At July 11, 2008, Anonymous eric said...

This is a troubling story. I think that the way you confronted this psycho and his disturbing behavior was exactly right though. Hopefully he will have enough sense to back off now, but if not you might want to consider contacting his employer and giving them the whole story on this nut who works for them. Also, I think it would be quite appropriate for you to publicize his identity on the internet for all to see, if he doesn't shape up. He needs to know that he will be getting himself into some deep, deep shit if he persists in this kind of antisocial behavior.

 
At July 11, 2008, Anonymous A.S.S. said...

Really stinks that this happened. You'd think it would take more of an initial connection for this sort of thing to happen. But, there is just no explaining bat-shit crazy. Sounds like you're on top of it though... and that you're not just brushing it off as no big deal. That seems to be a mistake that occurs far too often.

Todd & Suzy

 
At July 13, 2008, Blogger Trixie Fontaine said...

I'm sure Rachel knows this/won't do these things, but contacting his employer and/or potentially putting him in danger by outing his personal information (which is also breaking the law) are pretty bad ideas. Because they're illegal. Because they're ineffectual, unfair things that could set him off and/or be perceived as justification for continuing the "relationship" he imagines, like it's just a bad breakup. Really doing things the legal way getting things documented herself, like she's doing, and with the cops then leading to a restraining order if necessary are the best ways to do it without opening herself up to litigation.

But yeah, being ready to shoot to kill is also an option I love. I can't imagine Rachel doing it, but yeah -- shoot to KILL so he can never testify against you in court. That's my motto.

 
At July 14, 2008, Blogger PJ said...

Aside from all the commentary about ‘shooting to kill’ (and I have to wonder how much of this attitude springs forth from otherwise self-avowed liberals), what you describe is without a doubt creepy.

There is a marked difference between being ‘cute’ and being creepy and here we are well past that line. A perfect stranger contacting you through your cell feels extremely invasive.

It has the same effect of physically cornering a person and leaning over them. It’s not a way to engender friendship in any case.

Aside from the immediate ballistic solution offered up by some, a good idea would be to go to your local precinct and bring along the voicemail messages and speak to a detective.

Why?

Well, first off while it may go no further than it already has (and I hope that is the case), our system can move at an imperceptibly slow pace. Especially when the groundwork hasn’t already been laid to enable the authorities to act quickly.

Uma Thurman’s recent troubles are a great illustration of how common this behavior can be and how deeply in denial the person acting out can be as well.

You shouldn’t walk around in fear though - probably easier said than done - but, you should take the steps necessary to keep this person away from you.

You need to lay the groundwork so that if your very direct ‘no’ isn’t acknowledged you can take things to the next level by getting a restraining order.

Speaking as a guy, I find it unfortunate (to put it mildly) that candidness on the topic of sexuality can somehow be confused with (how shall we put this?) low standards.

The other thing that works really well is a visit from several large male friends making it all to apparent that continued instances of this kind of behavior would have unhealthy repercussions. I find when dealing with the kind of crazy you are describing it helps to be just a little more crazy and direct about how the solution will be dealt with and no firearms need be involved.

Actually come to think, just such a visit by a single or several large males with the directive to lose your number may well be the most effective way to put a stop to thise should it continue.

In any event try not to let it get to you.

 
At July 17, 2008, Blogger Trixie Fontaine said...

After the big guys beat him up, she's still just as vulnerable of a target as a woman as she was before unless said big guys are walking around with her 24/7, only now the guy has an additional reason to really hate and resent her and try to feel big and strong and forcibly desirable (if that's the kind of guy he is).

As someone who said (among other things) "shoot to kill" (in response to something someone else said, I didn't bring it up initially) who is also a self-avowed liberal, I stand by it: if you're going to shoot someone who is trying to hurt you (I don't think anyone is saying she should go hunt him down right now and pop a cap in his ass at this point) it will just be much cleaner to end his ability to fuck with you at all, ever again.

I don't know why you would think beating the shit out of him NOW is an option worth championing to "send him a message" and is the liberal thing to do but that shooting him if he steps up his stalking and actually threatens her is not.

Reading the comments quickly, so maybe I missed something/misinterpreted things. . . I did say the shoot to kill thing off the cuff (and twice on accident, or maybe for the sheer pleasure of it).

 
At July 17, 2008, Blogger Trixie Fontaine said...

Oh, my mistake. Your advice is to simply THREATEN him right now with bodily harm. Big swinging dicks instead of a concealed weapon.

 

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