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Always Checking The Rearview: The Reality of Being Stalked

 stalked

When a relationship ends no matter the cause or reason there is a period of adjustment. That is to be expected of course. But the adjustment or even mourning period usually lasts an amount of time that correlates to the length of time of the relationship and respects the boundaries of the other party involved. When one party chooses to not respect those boundaries and ignore social norms, ignoring the fact that the relationship that once was is no longer and never will be, then it can become unhealthy and start verging on the edge of stalking. Sometimes it even crosses over.

I started this blog as an outlet, it only took a month for my ex to find it and start commenting on it. I had to take a break to decide if I even wanted to go forward with it, but this is something I have wanted to do for a long time. This is mine, and I’m a little tired of feeling like I can’t write something without having to make it private, or block numbers on my phone. I’m a little tired of the text messages and voice mails that say ‘oh I saw you today’, ‘I passed you today’, ‘I was behind you today’, ‘I saw your sister today’. I’m tire of pinning something on my Pinterest page, for example Friends quotes, and getting a text remembering how much I love Friends. I’m tired of getting picture texts. I’m tired of the phone calls, I have never answered and I never will. I’m tired of erasing three-minute long voice mails. I’m tired of my friends saying they saw him and tried to avoid him because he’s so damn awkward. I’m tired of texts telling me how awesome my kids are, that’s creepy.

Actually all of this is creepy. I’m sure people wonder why I haven’t gone to the police. I live in a state where domestic violence and assault and death by a partner or former partner are the norm not the exception. South Carolina ranks No 1. in deaths against women by a current or former partner. Unfortunately, too many of these come after the woman has sought protection. In South Carolina when a woman goes to the police to seek help in a domestic situation the accused is entitled to the accusers address and workplace. If you do not want that person to know, don’t go to the police. Also in South Carolina, no matter how long you have been out of the relationship, it’s still considered a Domestic Situation and an Order of Protection is issued instead of a Restraining Order. Order of Protections are basically a piece of paper saying leave him/her alone or we are going to fine you, probably, maybe, but only if the judge takes the victims word. Sometimes the judge just says its he said she said even after you had to have police escort into the courtroom because of the harassment from the moment the car door opened. So the court takes the accused persons money, they get a record, maybe a thirty-day sentence if called in enough and they build up a lot of anger towards a person who they already saw as beneath them to begin with. I’m sure you can see where this is putting a match to a stick of dynamite.

This is a very real problem the South Carolina Legislature needs to address. This is the year 2016 and Criminal Domestic Violence is so much a part of the culture in South Carolina that I have met more people who have been abused in some way and discounted it as just the norm than I would care to ever admit. After all its how their moms and grandmas had happy marriages. The Bible tells us to honor our husbands, this is the way of the South. Seriously, in the South when it rains while it’s sunny we joke that the Devil is beating his wife, like that’s somehow funny. This is how South Carolina Legislature addresses Domestic Violence, while nationally there is a lifetime firearms ban on individuals that have been convicted of CDV, in South Carolina there is a three-year ban, ten for more serious crimes. That’s right, nationally a woman’s whole life matters while in South Carolina her life is worth three years. It’s no wonder we rank No. 1.

You may wonder why I don’t change my phone number. This relationship ended three years ago and I have only responded to one text message, saying do not ever text or call me again. Other than that the texts still come, the calls still filter through, the long messages that I simply erase. I block the numbers I know every time I get a new phone, but I keep my number simply because it is my number. It is how old friends know to get in touch with me. It is how my children, and their school and family get in touch with me. This fly on the wall doesn’t have that much power over me. I block the number and move on. It’s the other things, like commenting on my blog that unsettle me. But this is mine too. He’s still a fly, and he still doesn’t have any power.

There may come a time when I have to go to the police station and file a report. Add this broken relationship to the ever-growing statistical mess of CDV that makes up South Carolina’s Criminal Court system. But what really concerns me is, what is it about our state that the women here accept this lifestyle as normal rather than the exception? Why do so many men in this state feel like women are pawns and property to be controlled, manipulated, used and abused? There is a truly insidious problem here beneath our lovely sunsets and Spanish moss. It’s terrifying to think the rest of the country is moving forward while we are just standing still, holding on to Bible verses that tell us to obey, but at what cost? And passing those same ideals down to our daughters with black eyes and broken smiles.

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