When Her Stalker Kicked Her Door In At 1 AM, She Was Forced To Take Extreme Measures
Would you be prepared if this happened?
Six months ago, a 22-year-old Las Vegas woman was thrust into a nightmare.
A man she dated for just one month began stalking her in a six-month ordeal that she chronicled on Reddit under the username ItsMissesStealYoCat.
She was courageous enough to share her story with us. In the interest of protecting her identity, we are declining to name her and will refer to her throughout the article as "Cat."
"We met online, dated for about a month this past January," she told us. "(The dating) ended in February everything ended fine, but he began stalking me at the end of March."
It began with 45-50 phone calls and scores of text messages a day.
"He initially became really obsessive. Calling back to back. If I didn't answer he would have his friends or sometimes complete strangers call and pretend they got a wrong number just to see if I'd pick up. When I cut it off he was initially fine with it. "
When she started dating someone else, however, her stalker's behavior became threatening.
"When I asked him to please leave me alone he simply replied, 'No.' He tried making deals with me like 'if you talk to me on the phone for a few minutes, I'll leave you alone for two weeks, I promise.'"
But there was no reasoning with him.
He brazenly took pictures of her home, showing that he knew where she lived.
The stalker's behavior continued to escalate.
"He began sending me pictures of my house, and threatening to knock my teeth out for not giving him another chance. Then he began sending maps of my mothers house.(who lives in CA), then the threats turned to my boyfriend."
She was forced to move and took out a restraining order.
But that didn't work either.
She described the ordeal on Reddit:
"After about 2 months of that I was evicted from my apartment building due to my neighbors no longer feeling safe because of his looming presence. I then applied for and was granted a TPO (Temporary Protective Order -ed.). A few days afterwards I received a picture message of the note the Sheriff Civil had left on the door of my stalkers then-residence with a message taunting me...'What you are trying to do was stupid and a restraining order is just a piece of paper.'"
He even stalked her as she gave reports to the police.
"He would laugh at the police effort," she told us, "and send pictures of myself speaking to the police about him with messages like 'all they had to do was look up and they would've seen me.' Messages stating he'd kill me and get away with it, move to Mexico or Canada. Once I moved he vowed to find me, and that hopefully I'd kill myself."
She changed her phone number and blocked him across social media.
That did nothing to discourage him. Instead, he increased his efforts, turning to email and phony social media accounts.
"Each and every time I blocked one he simply created a new one and proceed to contact me as if nothing had happened," Cat told Reddit. "12 different reddit accounts, 9 different tumblrs, 10 different instagrams, 3 meetup accounts, 4 facebooks (with which he changed his location to that of my hometown and proceeded to add nearly everyone from my graduating class in high school) and even 3 Duolingo accounts and MySpace."
Finally, he began coming to her apartment.
"His messages began to escalate towards the end of August," Cat told us, "and he showed up outside of my new apartment as if I had given him the address and proceeded to bang on the door and ring the bell, and that's when I started sleeping with the chair lodged against the door."
During one such incident, she even caught him on tape. But the police seemed to have their hands tied.
"I proceeded to recorded him on video while I was on the phone with the police," she wrote on Reddit. "He fled on foot once again and I was hit with the same hoopla from law enforcement 'Well we can't really do much because technically at this point he's not doing anything wrong.'"
Because of a family tragedy, she never liked guns.
Her father was left paralyzed in a shooting just two months before she was born and although she had received a pistol as a gift last October, she paid no attention to it. As her stalker became more unpredictable, she began to change her mind about weapons.
"When my stalker lied and conned a detective who had called him in regards to stalking me, and ended up tricking the detective into thinking he was a victim and actually had his statement taken, I knew I was in a different ball game. I felt like this man would murder me and get away with it."
She obtained a license to carry a concealed weapon and began to train rigorously with her pistol.
"I knew I had my gun but I wasn't prepared at all," she wrote to us. "I started to study and visit the range. I wanted my firearm to be an extension of me, I wanted to be entirely comfortable with it. I wanted to be accustomed to the weight, The sound, the recoil, any malfunction that could take place and how to correct them, I wanted to know everything About my firearm so if it came down to defending my life it wouldn't be as if I was just a bumbling idiot using a foreign object to defend myself and be more like a ready to go, ingrained in my muscle memory type deal. "
At the range, she regained some sense of control.
"(At the range) I gained knowledge that ensured me being a responsible gun owner but it also empowered me beyond belief. I didn't have to lay down and take this. I could even the playing field. And so I practiced as often as I could afford to. I would dry practice around my home as well. It looked silly on the outside, ducking behind my refrigerator and crouching in corners of my living room in the dark but it's what prepared me."
She kept her gun with her at all times, even when she showered.
Finally, the thing she feared most happened.
At 1:15 am on September 26th, Cat was awakened by the sound of her door being kicked in. Her stalker was forcing her way into her apartment. She grabbed her pistol and, standing at the top of her stairs, fired two shots, striking him once in the chest.
He screamed and fled, only to be apprehended soon after by a police K-9 unit. He was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and charged with home invasion and aggravated stalking. At the time of this writing, he remains in custody.
We asked her about the aftermath.
Although her stalker is in custody, she still suffers from the trauma of being stalked relentlessly for six months.
"I'd love to tell you that it feels amazing being free and happy, with sunshine and rainbows," she writes. "Quite frankly, it's a lot more difficult to break out of the "stalked" mindset than I originally thought, my stomach still drops when I hear my door bell or a knock or loud noises. I have nightmares where my stalker kicks the door open and there is no chair holding the door and I have no weapon to protect me."
Cat has advice for others who are being stalked.
"You have done nothing wrong, you don't deserve any of it so don't be embarrassed, document every single incident no matter how minute and finally, take your stalker seriously, never underestimate them or think their threats are jokes or just venting. Your defense needs to match their level of offense, ALWAYS. You have a divine right to be on this earth and no one has the right to take it from you. You don't have to lay down and wait for something to happen to you, be proactive. You're so much stronger than you believe."
6.6 million Americans are stalked every year.
According to the Stalking Resource Center, 3 out of 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. The largest demographic for stalking victims are those aged 18-24. The CDC reports that half of female stalking victims were stalked before age 25.
If you're being stalked, please contact your local law enforcement. Tell someone. Take threats seriously. If you're in imminent danger, call 911.
For more information on stalking, please visit the Center for Disease Control, The Stalking Resource Center and the Stalking Victims Sanctuary.
For firearms training, visit the National Rifle Association's training website.
Some images, including cover, via weheartit.com.
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