Wednesday, March 25, 2009
"Stalked to Death"
There was a front-page article on stalking. The title was “Stalked to Death”. It was written Friday January 9. I am the one referred to as “Marianne”. You will also learn that although I have been divorced from the abuser, he continues to harass me by stalking me at times. Although he lives 200 miles away, he still drives over here. His photo has been snapped on my friend’s cell phone camera and I have seen him on four different occasions.
I have been remarried to the most amazing man on the planet for almost three years now. Why he expends so much energy to harass and try to track me down, I do not know. I can tell you that continually looking over my shoulder is extremely stressful.
The article in its entirety is below. Due to it being a short piece, there were many facets of domestic assault that were not explored in the article.
For 20 years of her marriage, Marianne slept in bed each night with one foot planted on the floor. She lived, and slept, in constant fear of her abusive husband. “I would get hit, kicked or knocked out of bed almost every night,” she said. When Marianne (not her real name) gathered the courage to leave her 25-year marriage, she made what she thought would be a clean break, living in a shelter and quickly filing for divorce.
“He eventually moved to the other side of the state, which made me feel like I would be somewhat safe,” said Marianne, who divorced in 2005. “Then I found out he had been driving around our area.”
After leaving her husband, much of Marianne’s behavior had to change as her ex continued to stalk her — even now, when she has since remarried. She has spotted his vehicle at least four times since their split. A friend captured a photo on her cell phone of his car passing through the area, she said.
“He believes that God hates divorce,” she said. “To him I will always be his wife, and anyone else is an intruder.”
One in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked sometime in their lives, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, which defines stalking as a course of conduct directed at a specific person to cause fear.
It can include phone calls, following, vandalism and even threats or harm directed at the person’s family or pets.
Marianne’s ex-husband once attached a GPS tracking device to her vehicle.
As part of January’s Stalking Awareness Month, the Women's Resource Center will host a Jan. 27 ceremony for victims of domestic violence and stalking who have died in the past year.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, a memorial and candlelight vigil will take for Lori DeKleine, who was murdered in one of the most high-profile cases of domestic abuse in recent years.
Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in her home on Calvin Avenue on Jan. 10, 2008.
Her husband, a then police officer Ken DeKleine, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her murder.
Testimony during a jury trial in July showed that Lori planned to attend a stalking seminar before her murder.
Lori DeKleine filed a restraining order against Ken DeKleine in January 2007, about a year before her murder. In it, she wrote, her husband was a “sexual and emotional bully” who stalked her by putting recording devices in her backpack and bedroom. He once broke into her locked bedroom through a window at night, leaving shattered glass and blood, she wrote.
In the past four months, two other local women were murdered by former boyfriends with histories of stalking them. Of all women killed by their intimate partners, 76 percent were stalked by that partner before they were killed, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Danica Flournoy, 23, was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend, Robert Echols, 29, in a 16th Street apartment complex. Echols killed himself two hours later in Grand Rapids, on Oct. 27.
Echols was searching for Flournoy before he shot her, Flournoy’s mother, Penny McCoy, said at the time. Flournoy had moved into her mother’s boyfriend’s apartment just hours before she was found and murdered.
Esmeralda Aguilera, 31, was shot and killed by her former boyfriend, Reyes Renteria, 31, who also took his own life, on Dec. 7. She filed a restraining order against Renteria six days before her murder.
In the court files, Aguilera described Renteria showing up uninvited at her home, workplace and at a Rod & Gun Club dance.
On Dec. 1, Aguilera wrote that she was seeking the restraining order because “Ray will not stop looking for me we broke off our relationship and he wants me to ‘give him another chance.’ I’ve told him no but he will not stop.”
Marianne said she was too fearful to file again for a personal protection order against her ex-husband.
“The reason we don't want to do anything now is that you have to go to court for that,” she said. “I don't want him knowing my last name.”
One thing the Women's Resource Center crisis intervention advocate Anna DeHaan wants stalking victims to know is that taking the issue to court does not have to mean revealing your location.
“The victim is going to know their situation best, but there is an option to keep your address confidential (on a restraining order form),” she said. “However, the person will know your jurisdiction.”
I want to let you know that it was a fractured eye-socket and broken jaw that finally got me out of that situation...plus a quick thinking neighbor that had heard me screaming. One thing I've learned is that when we think all is well...it may not be. I've found this out since my "ex" is still considered by the police as "unpredictiable".
There have been no posts written in so long. Most of you know I'm dealing with significant physical challenges. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a chore and my sleep is distrubed at night due to pain.
I still wish there were a way I could reach out and hug each and every one of you. Whether I write regularly or not....you are always being prayed for.
PS. One of the women that was murdered, I'd gotten to know while living in the safe-house.