I have been a mother for twenty years.
I have learned to defend against and battle many things during those years, some of which include ear infections, kidney infections, urinary tract infections, head lice, allergies, crooked teeth, poor fashion judgment, best friends and backstabbers, and boys who break your heart. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, prepared me to defend against someone threatening my daughter’s life.
It was last fall, and Sassy was a high school senior when she finally broke down and confessed about being scared for her life. She was a starting varsity field hockey player, for God’s sake -- a girl who was in as good a physical shape of any other athlete in her school, a strong, outspoken young woman who scared not only her sister and her brother, but often her parents. Scaring her? It was a formidable task.
We spent a harrowing night listening as she poured out her heartache -- the stories that began three years earlier after an innocent trip to the Dairy Queen.
“You know, Mom, when I think back the only reason I went was because he was relentless. He pursued me so much -- and basically I went so he would finally leave me alone.”
What ensued was three years of relentless texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls until it finally escalated to her being followed around town, home from Wal-Mart and a terrifying encounter at her high school. As he had graduated two years earlier after being suspended for weapons violations, this sufficiently horrified her enough to come to us.
The local police, fortunately for us, took her very, very seriously, and after hearing her story and taking her statement took immediate action.
The Erin Andrews case is national news. To us, however, it hits us right in our hearts. We applaud those who realize that these acts of stalking are a life-changer for the victim and her family.
We applaud Erin's strength, and the strength of those who endure this horror every single day.
Sassy’s advice to young women who are just not sure about a relationship?
“If something doesn’t feel right -- you can’t ignore it. It probably isn’t right. There’s a fine line between okay and creepy, and your gut knows where that line ends. Follow your gut, and tell someone. You have to protect yourself.”
We have used this experience and the advice of those around us to help us learn and grow. Sassy is undergoing some counseling to prepare her for college and has taken to heart lessons learned from the amazing book, The Gift of Fear.
Will Sassy ever be the same? No. Will she be able to turn her face to the sun and smile once again? Yes. Have many other stalking victims been so lucky?
But, with the help of victims such as Erin, and those who are listening, there is hope for those who are brave enough to ask someone for help.
Vodkamom blogs at Vodkamom.com.
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