Stalking in the Name of God

Tell me how to distinguish between the stalker and the harmless, nutty neighbor.

For the past year and a half, a born-again Christian who lives down the road has gone out of his way to see me whenever I walk. His slowing down to say hello or to wave did not distinguish him from any of my other neighbors. His stopping, backing up the hill several yards, and pausing for, oh, 10 minutes during which time he ignored all social signals that enough was enough, did. So did his waiting for me under a tree one rainy autumn evening and talking and talking, though I told him my husband and daughter were waiting for me. Or finding me in the swamp while I was trying desperately to photograph some red-winged blackbirds on a Sunday morning when his evangelical soul should have been in church and singing to the Big Guy. Or phoning to ask where I'd been since he hadn't been able to find me at the times he expected me to be.

Or telling me he was out walking and waiting at 5 a.m., so where was I? Or darting around the grocery market where he works on the pretense of returning a grocery cart to the stands so that he could talk to me about how he intended to walk with me every day to rehabilitate his knees. Or of stopping to whistle and drive on, to compliment my clothes, to let me know he has stopped and is leering. Or creeping behind me in his car and coming so close I had to step up on the curb and visibly showing how much he enjoyed this amusement. Or his emailing me, accusing me of pretending to take cell phone calls when he comes by and of scowling all the time. What could I be thinking since he is almost 60 and I must be a mere 35--and, anyway, he is a store clerk and I am an English teacher?

This guy stopped me in the grocery store a year and a half ago when I was there with my daughter so he could introduce himself and say he noticed me walking a lot. I didn't think anything of it at the time because all my neighbors think of me as the lamppost they know so well. The difference between them and him is he saw me as some form of personal property, some simple little thing tossed in his path to be saved spiritually. When he accosted me at the market, he was quick to inform me that he was born again, en route to the Promised Land without any stops, praise God.

I wonder now if the several pastors at his megachurch would approve of his licentious behavior toward a married woman.


But hey, maybe I'm paranoid. I talked to two clergy about this guy. One said, "He's after you," laughed, and walked away from me. The other told me to go to the police ASAP and to take care of myself. I talked to two other adults. One said she has known him for 20 years and his obsessive behavior is completely normal and he's just like that. The other called him a stalker, suggested I call the cops, but advised me that if I went to Andy and Barney here in town, he might act out in a destructive way. Which made it clear to me why so few women report stalking. Though 1.4 million men and women in the US are stalked annually, only about half of these cases are reported, and only a quarter of these receive a restraining order, according to statistics supplied by the National Institute of Justice, the National Violence Against Women survey conducted by the Center for Policy Research, and the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Stalking is a crime. It can be committed against anyone regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or geographic location. The majority of stalkers have been in relationships with their victims, but a significant percentage either never met their victims, or were just acquaintances – neighbors, friends, or co-workers. What's more, 79 percent of women know their stalkers; 50 percent were in an intimate relationship with their stalker; 80 percent of these relationships were abusive.

The stalker infuriates me for being so quick to say he's a Christian. In reality, he's an angry, controlling and psychotic nutcase who wants assurances. He wants to be sure God placed me in his path--even if he has to set his clock on a Sunday morning to hunt me down--to save my soul, to lead me in the paths of righteousness defined and outlined by his church, to control and dominate me because that's what stalkers do. He wants God to be an old man in a chair and offering him pats on his greasy head for doing right by ramming another sheep into the fold.

I become angry--furious--that so-called Christians of this variety behave in a way that kills the name of a faith that opens up the magnificent Truth of love and beauty and light. He is among those waspy right-wingers who have reduced Christianity to a pathology. Silly, peace-loving me, I want to wring his sick friggin' neck--and not for what he has done to me but for what he and his kind do to undermine a common understanding of Christianity as a source of genuine love. God, forgive me. Please.

Comments

  1. Anonymous5:43 AM

    Hi Sandy,

    I'm sure God will forgive you....even if you do wring this jerks neck!!
    Stalking is more proof that there are more loons in society then there are locked up....how many of these go on to commit crime? many people will say they are harmless, but when it goes pear shaped they are also quick to defend them with'such a nice person. and 'can't imagine them doing anything like that'.

    That doesn't make it right for them to be a pain in the butt, yet the do-gooders of our 'modern' society have allowed this to happen as being acceptable and normal!! Yeah right....acceptable? NO, normal? NO.

    There are also too many cyber-stalkers, and it's about time they got rid of the lot for the good of mankind and in the name of peace, justice and God.

    Many of these will go to church simply to provide a cover for themselves as God fearing citizens who must be good because they pray.....what a load od twaddle!!

    The only thing they do is instil fear into others and bring Christianity down to the gutter.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree, Colin. Thanks for adding your thoughts. In the reading I've done, I've found that these kinds of people are very good at being normal, good at convincing everyone they're harmless.

    Cyberstalking is even creepier in some ways. Even the fact that someone can find out if you're online just because they're curious blows my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    Abraham Lincoln
    Brookville Daily Photo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sandy, I would say he is stalking you. Google his name and see if he shows up on any blogs or websites (like sex offender).

    I would call a PI and have a background check run on him. Or call the cops and let them do it.

    I used to have 2 big German Shepherds that I would lend to my friends in cases like this, but now I just have a fluffy little dog.

    What does hubby say?

    Do you know anyone with a taser? LOL

    When he drives up or walks up, just start screaming at him. It will scare the bejezers out of him and will make you feel better!

    DO NOT IGNORE HIM. Stalkers do more than stalk. They can kill.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous2:30 PM

    He is NOT harmless, nor merely a little nutty. His behavior is not ok. Report him.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for stopping by, Cybercelt and Terri. This guy sent an email of telling me he wasn't paying any attention to me anymore. I hope this is so, that he is one of these passive-aggressive cretins who disappears back down his hole when he realizes he's about to get nailed.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hope it comes to pass that he has dropped you. I would like to believe that he would not latch onto someone else, but I fear that wouldn't be the case. I'm sorry for you and his next victims.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for being here.