And then the talk turned unexpectedly - as it can - to "stalking" by men.
And unsurprisingly all of us had been stalked.
(And coincidentally, I am reading a book about stalking in Northern Ireland called "Milkman". Recommend.....anyway.)
So we shared stalking stories.
And no, they're not funny. They are alarming. And ugly. And terrifying. And can be fatal as we all know.
So one of the younger women shared an experience she had with Cabin John, this guy who had lived in the city and then moved out to live permanently in his cabin. Cabins here are not what you would think they are. They are often better than the houses in the city and quite lavish.
On some pretext he had gotten her cell number and then proceeded to text her suggestive messages. Telling her of dreaming about her, sending her heart emoticons, he couldn't stop thinking about her. This was all around 5 years ago.
So she checked him out on Facebook and lo and behold she found him. And his wife. Happily grinning at each other. So she told him never to contact her again or she'd call the police.
A few of the other women nodded, word had gotten around about Cabin John, pervy, older, short, fat, unattractive, they said.
Why don't I know him? I asked - I used to live in that town!
I saw you having coffee with him a few weeks ago, one said.
What? I asked, you can't be serious!
And then the penny dropped.
My dear friend John. He and his wife are friends of many, many years.
And I felt sick to my stomach. I had seen him only a few days before.
And I was still numb with shock hours later.
I have no interest in ever seeing him again. Ever.
We just never know the dark secrets of others' souls, do we? I feel enormous loss, and anger, and absolute disgust. And fooled. We have shared much over the years and now I question all of that too, his basic dishonesty. One thing about him had alerted me though. He had always protested when men were called out on bad behaviour and bleat "not all men" and I've known deep down that that is a sure sign of predation. All decent men call out predators too and support women. And some of his FB posts were
But I know him now for who he is and it is ugly. And part of me is brokenhearted at my own gullibility and previous bemused tolerance, and the loss of what I thought would be a long term friendship.
Names are changed to protect the guilty.
I won't make myself any friends with this, however what's "older, short, fat, unattractive" got to do with it? Had he been young, tall, slim - in short, an Adonis, would that count as mitigating circumstance as to his infatuation - indeed, taken as flattering?ReplyDelete
And it's not just men who stalk. Some twenty years or so ago I have had the most unfortunate experience of my husband being at the receiving end of it. We are talking serious bunny boiler stuff here - knives and all. Threats towards me and my son, breaking and entering (don't ask), the whole deluded lot of a seriously disturbed mind. And, yes, police was involved from the word go.
Anyway, don't be "brokenhearted". People will get people wrong, and sometimes people get people wrongly "wrong".
Not very attentive there, U. That was their descriptor, not mine and used as a predator identifier among many Johns.Delete
And I am bone tired of #notallmen. I sympathize with your situation and yes, awful, but 99% of predators are MEN.
Agree with Ursula. Stalkers come in all kinds and shapes. But the shock of suddenly seeing another side to a person, you know, that's heart rending. That is some of what I was thinking of with my musings about the nasty uncles and their wives and families.ReplyDelete
But as I said in response, it is mainly men who stalk, they are physically stronger and more intimidating and assault. I was a victim on more than one occasion. And every woman at that table had been stalked - co-workers, bosses, strangers (one of mine was a stranger to me) cops, doctors.Delete
I have not many personal experience with stalkers, but the only two I knew of were women. But I trust you on the male rate, even though digital stalking do not require brute power, and not all stalkers are violent.Delete
I just looked at the Danish statistics. Stalkers are 2 thirds male, but male stalkers more often know their victim, and more often are prone to violence.
... but when that is said I find stalking absolutely horrible and I'm shocked that so many people have experienced it. It's not acceptable.Delete
Your response to Uglemor "every woman round the table had been stalked - co-workers, bosses, strangers, cops, doctors" made me wonder if you mean "pestered/having been paid unwanted attention/propostioned", rather than "stalked". I can't help thinking that the terms "stalker/stalking" are a little bit too loosely employed these days. In fact, not that long ago, and it went down really well with my audience, I had the audacity to say that being able to claim "that you have a stalker hot on your heals" appears to be the fashion accessory of the day.Delete
Sorry, WWW - I suggest we need to keep the garden gnome variety of the odd lecher apart from what amounts to a serious psychological disorder.
Stalking includes cyber stalking and any unwanted and continual harassment.Delete
I think you're missing many points here, U. And I didn't want to spell it out: This friend was using me as a stooge, calling me his best friend, saying women were his friends - look who my BF is. You are attempting a derail.
I was in pain over this and you have made little of it.
I don't care for that behaviour. It's called gaslighting. Look it up.
I most certainly didn't want to add to your distress. However, I am afraid I don't follow, am genuinely baffled at your assertion of my "missing many points". Maybe; if I have missed many points then it's probably because I don't see them. I am "attempting a derail"? I haven't got a clue what you mean and why would I do such a thing? I am "gaslighting"? Wow. Is there no end to my talents? Sorry,WWW, you have lost me.Delete
If there were anything to apologize for I would. What the hell, I apologize. Regardless. Never let it be said that sincerity will stand in my way when its evil twin, insincerity, makes the other person feel better. Presumably there is a "label" for that too?
It's more common than you think. I agree with you. He is disgusting, living a lie.ReplyDelete
Yes Gigi, it's staggering hearing the stories around this. And frightening.Delete
I am still sickened today by it.
I know I have been stalked, but able to say fuck off. I believe in no such thing as a garden gnome old lecher; he is the sort who begins the preying on little girls, enticing them with a sucker and rewarding himself with a pinch. Give respect a chance. How demoralizing, the sense of betrayal at recognizing your "friend" for the menace he is, and his wife as an enabler, willing or not.ReplyDelete
Me neither, Joanne. And I know what I have been told has been just the surfacing of one such incident. Predators I have known do it over and over again. The excitement of the chase and intimidation of the victim turning them on.Delete
I am still heartbroken, he was like a brother to me.
Wow is about all I can say. As you say, you never know what is going on inside someone's head. And we are always aware of the signs afterwards.ReplyDelete
Well said Andrew, it is always in the afterword our eyes are opened as we review the tickles of apprehension that we dismissed.Delete
I'm so sad for your broken heart and how it happened. So often it is "too late" by the time we see them for who they really are.ReplyDelete
Thank you River, yes many years of late night talks and his "reverence" of women and then more disturbing little scenes surface in my mind, "advice" when another woman "came after" him and he admitted her to his home when his wife was away, etc.Delete
Wow! What a story. I have heard similar ones here where some respectable local gent turns out to be a totally different persona. One neighbour was recently arrested for stalking a girl young enough to be his granddaughter.ReplyDelete
Oh that is so disgusting Ramana, poor girl, I am glad it was reported. These incidents need to be reported always. Though it is very difficult as women are made feel like accused.Delete
It must be a little scary, as well as heart-breakingly sad, to find out that someone you had long trusted as a friend is not who you thought they were. More especially for someone as perceptive as you are WWW! I also wonder if his wife has the faintest idea who "John" really is.ReplyDelete
I too am wondering about that T. We are never in the dark about such "hidden" predations and I often felt she was "acting" in her happy wife role and wondered about that.Delete
I ignored a lot of tiny signs and some red flag stuff like threatening his wife, ha-ha a major one. Loving husbands do not spout such awful stuff even "in jest".
Live and learn.
Thank you for your support as always.
It must have been quite a shock to discover that this guy who seemed just a good, longstanding friend was not as nice as you thought and was privately an unpleasant predator. Nothing to feel guilty about, men are very clever at presenting a fake facade and how were you to know what was carefully concealed? How fortunate that you had that conversation with your women friends and stumbled on the truth.ReplyDelete
Usually my alert buttons for predators are on high Nick but I deliberately, it seems to me, ignored a lot of warning signs. I am friends also with his entire family which really, really complicates things. I didn't get into all of that. I feel so adrift as I like other family members very much and they would be appalled I am sure at what he has done.ReplyDelete
Wowza. How disorienting and upsetting that must have been to discover the true character of your friend.ReplyDelete
You know, I know (of course) that some men have been stalked/harassed assaulted and that some stalkers/harassers/assaulters are women. But that's not the majority. And the fact is, women are at a great disadvantage. And you're right - the good men call out the creeps on their misogyny.
I'm still quite shocked SAW and hope to explore the matter further.ReplyDelete
Yes I'm quite aware of female stalkers also but they certainly are in the minority.