Have you ever walked into a hardware store – something like a Home Depot or Lowes, and as you walk down one of their aisles a motion detector alarm sounds? I know they use them to get people’s attention so they might become interested in purchasing them. But if you have ever survived a stalking, or if you are ever in the midst of an ongoing stalking, and you had or have motion detector alarms you understand the sudden momentary fear your body feels when you hear that sound. It still happens…you can’t forget it.
Small things like this bring back chilling memories. When we first installed the motion detectors and motion lights we would get a surge of adrenaline when we heard them go off. Our protection protocol would kick in, and Steve would run out the door of the house armed with whatever we he had decided to use at the time, and I would run to the cameras to see if I could “see” the stalker(s) on the camera. Then if these sounds came in conjunction with tapping or banging on our windows, or actually seeing someone through the window, or even images on the camera, we would call it in to the sheriffs. Then ~ 30 to 45 minutes later patrol officers would show up to search and interview us…the lack of sleep was taking it’s toll.
After Morgan’s murder whenever I would hear the sound of those alarms I would instinctively react to them. I am flooded with all the same horrible feelings of anger, worry, fear, and foreboding…the same feelings that I felt during Morgan’s stalking – all those feelings come flooding back. I hope someday I no longer instinctively react to this sound, but for now I try to avoid places where I may hear it.
I know this is just one small little thing…hearing a motion alarm, but all the small little things that have no meaning to others that have never been a victim of stalking are really big things to a victim of stalking.
Stalking is serious. Stalking takes an emotional toll on it’s victims. Still, stalking is the most under-reported crime currently, just one-third to one-half of stalking cases are reported to authorities because victims are often afraid of angering their stalkers and making the situation worse – I know this was a fear that both Morgan and I both expressed at varying times during her stalking. Victims also tend to believe that the police are unable to help, because an estimated 40 percent of all restraining orders are violated and this is something that so many victims have written in to tell me.
Stalking: A Handbook for Vicitms by Emily Spence-Diehl offers a lot of good information for victims.