After the first 24 hours, the auction for Stepsister Scheme is up to $103.50. That means whoever wins, you'll be getting at least one bonus prize in addition to the ARC. Thank you everyone who bid, and/or who spread the word about the auction. I obviously hope that price will continue to climb, but even if it doesn't, we've still raised over $100 for NCADV.
Which, in a weird way, transitions into what I wanted to write about today. Originally I was going to post a photo of our house with its nice new roof, with no rusting basketball hoop, no crumbling shingles ... it's very exciting*.
Except that I can't. For the same reason we pay the phone company an extra fee every month to remain unlisted. Because my family
It's weird. I don't want to call him a stalker. As soon as the word was down, I wanted to start explaining how it wasn't that bad, and he wasn't a real stalker, not as dangerous as he could have been. I'm absolutely certain he wouldn't consider what he did to be stalking. And it's true, on the grand scale of things, this wasn't as bad as it could have been. When we refused to invite him over, he'd show up anyway, staking out a spot in the driveway and waiting. If we didn't come home after a while, he'd head over to my wife's parents' place.
There are other issues as well, things I won't talk about here**. However much I want to minimize it though, the fact is that when we moved four years ago, we did start paying the extra monthly fee to make sure he couldn't find us. When we went through the court system, we asked them to remove our address from all of the official paperwork. And I still feel uncomfortable posting a photo of my house on a public blog, because it's easy enough to find my hometown, and that photo could be enough for him to find my family.
I wonder if he's shown up at my parents' house yet. My father's name is also Jim and they live in the same town, so if this guy checks the phonebook for Jim Hines, he's going to end up at their place. If so, he didn't stick around long enough for my parents to notice***.
It's annoying. We ended up in court several times, and the judge basically handed him his own ass on a platter. We haven't seen the man in several years. He is an insecure, paranoid, spoiled, and clueless little child of a man, and we've done just about everything to take away any power he might have had. Yet I still worry.
For a long time, our justice system didn't recognize stalking as a crime. "So he followed you around. He didn't actually hurt you, right? Go away and come back after he beats you. Then (maybe) we'll press charges." That's changed some over time, with the advent of stalking laws and personal protection orders and such. But even a PPO can't guarantee your safety. It might guarantee consequences for the stalker if he chooses to continue, but those are still after-the-fact consequences.
It's about power. It's about the stalker planting that idea in your head, making you lie awake at night thinking, Sure, he hasn't done anything yet, but.... So much about domestic violence is mental and emotional rather than physical. Messing with your brain. Physical violence is only one tactic. Those tactics can be economic, emotional, physical, or in most cases, a combination. The goal is power and control over another human being. They don't necessarily have to hurt you; they just need to make you realize that they could, that the threat, however small it might have been in our case, is still real.
In our case, after several years, this man is an irritant. We've fought our battles, and he lost in every way that matters. Even so, the tactic works. He's still got that one hook in my brain. I may not waste a lot of time thinking about him, but every once in a while he still has the power to affect my choices. Even writing this blog entry, a part of me wonders if he's going to read it. If he's going to take it as a victory.
This is one of the reasons I chose NCADV to be the beneficiary for the Stepsister auction. I think we've made progress in how we deal with stalking and DV and such, but it's still not something we talk about as much as we should. Heck, I'm still fighting the urge to scrub this entry because I know this isn't as bad as it could have been, and maybe it's not a big deal anymore, and maybe I've been overreacting, and....
But maybe that's just more reason to post it.
*Well, it's exciting to me. I suspect a lot of you might have been bored stiff. So maybe it's better that I didn't go that route.
**A few of you probably know who I'm talking about, and how complicated it got. Obviously, I'd prefer those details not be brought up here. Thanks!
***My parents also have big, loud dogs who like to bark at visitors :-)