Well, here I am again with news of my stalking situation & an update. I know this isn't a fun read, but it's a big part of my life at this point, so here we go ...
The trial, in which my stalker is charged with violating the protective order I have against him, is coming up Thursday. I'm told I might have to testify which makes my stomach do flip flops! I'm hoping & praying he gets convicted, but I'm learning first hand what an unpredictable & unreliable mess our legal/juducial system is. This trial has already been postponed once (from February 11), and I'm told that might happen again, as the court has 100 cases to hear this Thursday. Sounds like some pretty bad management on someone's part, don't you think?
This wicked man works in my church kitchen once a week (he is not a member) -- a venue he has used to spread the most flagrant lies about me and to ingratiate himself to the church members he works with. I had a strong feeling he would do this, and warned our minister & associate minister to be on the lookout for this behavior from him. I also asked that they they please keep information about me private, as I also knew he would use the people he works with to try to get information about me. I'm sad to say that my requests were not taken seriously, and the associate minister & two other people he works with have disclosed personal information about me to him -- e.g. when I would be out of town, etc., hence smoothing the path for him to be able to violate the protective order.
He can be a deceptively charming man (a common attribute of stalkers I've learned) & is an extremely convincing liar, so I'm sure he convinced them that he was innocent of the stalking charges & therefore wooed these ladies into thinking he was just a wrongly accused & poor misunderstood man. Nevertheless, this breach of confidence and failure to protect me as I'd asked, has affected me deeply. I've been crushed by their response, or lack of response to my requests for help in dealing with this terrible man. Of all the people I thought I could trust to help me with this situation, my associate minister & other members of my church are the last ones I thought would betray my confidence & privacy, but they did. It's heartbreaking. When I confronted the associate minister about this breach, she said 'people will talk' & 'well, I can't lie'. I never asked anyone to lie for me, but only to say nothing about me to this man.
After I realized I could not depend on the discretion of certain church members to keep information about me private, and that this man had used the church as a venue to spread lies about me, I told our minister that I didn't think this perverse man should be allowed on our church premises. The response I got from our minister was to tell me the Methodist church is open to people of all creed, race, religion, etc. -- which, as a lifelong Methodist, I already knew. There is obviously no mention of the church's open door to all criminals in that statement, and I responded by showing him excerpts from by laws of other churches which state that church members should be protected from any who commit crimes against members and therefore, be able to worship in an environment that is safe. But, he still refused to take any action against this man. I am so disappointed in my church. Frankly, it has been as hard to deal with the church's reactions as the stalking has been.
I have been a Methodist all my life, but this experience has left me feeling so very betrayed, let down, & angry that I no longer attend the Methodist church, and I'm now looking for another church home. Hopefully, one with more reasonable policies about protecting members from criminals in our midst. It's certainlly not my intention to hurt or embarrass anyone by telling my story. It is my intention to shed light on something I feel is very wrong.
Some quotes from the Department of Justice Office on Crimes Against Women in recognition of National Stalking Awareness Month in January.
"Stalking is more prevalent than many people realize, affecting more than six million people a year."
"Unfortunately, stalking is still not widely recognized as a dangerous crime that is often a precursor for serious violence, including rape and homicide, and a terrifying aspect of domestic violence. The media too often trivializes it – portraying stalking as romantic or comedic ...."
Stay safe Friends!
P. S. Now I think I'm going to go put on my footie jammies, climb into my quilt/card table tent, and watch "Stuart Little" ^v^