Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

I was stalked and my male friend either condoned it or denied it.

This incident took place over a 6 month period from February to August of 2012. I was in my final year of university and I had a boyfriend when I met a young man whom we'll call Jasper. Jasper is not his real name obviously.

So I met Jasper out one night when I'd be drinking with friends and I gave him my number when he asked because A) I wasn't good at refusing men and B) I honestly thought no harm would come of it.

Jasper would text occasionally. I would sometimes answer. From the way he'd talk, it was clear he didn't have a lot of friends and was socially awkward. However, I decided enough was enough about 2 months after giving him my number and asked him politely to stop contacting me. I did this because over the course of those two months, Jasper had gone from a few texts a week to sending me up to 30 texts in per night. I'd wake up to these messages, most of which were desperate pleas to reply and asking why I was silent.

When I asked him politely to stop, not only did he keep texting me, but he followed me out to night clubs one several occasions. I had one particular dive bar that I frequented often and on at least 2 separate occasions, I was chatting innocuously with a friend when, suddenly, Jasper would be standing right next to my shoulder, staring right at me. I walked away and he never followed but he would be conspicuously stand alone and stare at me from across the smoking area for the rest of the night; it was clear he was only at the bar because I was.

After he followed me out, I remembered I was friends with him on Facebook and promptly blocked him. Within 12 hours he had sent huge long paragraphs to my friends via FB mail, demanding to know why I'd blocked him and how to get in touch with me. He was still texting as well, but I'd gone from aggressively telling him to leave me the Hell alone to straight up ignoring him, since telling him off hadn't worked.

I maintained that silence for a whopping 4 months. 4 months of absolute silence from me, which did absolutely nothing to deter his continuous texting.

In the meantime, my friends realised Jasper had set up a public figure Facebook profile so that he could add me as I wouldn't realise it was him. When he did that, I mailed the page in question and called him out. When I did so, the pressure I put on him caused him to fumble his story and led me to discover that he had at least 12 profiles created to keep tabs on me. He had the foresight to add random friends of mine on FB for each profile before adding me so as not to tip me off as to his real identity. And it worked. I found all his profiles and removed them.

During this time as well, my university house was broken into and robbed. The thief stole one thing; my 4 year old, ancient laptop. I believe it was Jasper as the housemates I was living with at the time had very expensive electronics and equipment, much of which could have been easily stolen, that the thief must have walked right past to steal my laptop that was worthless by comparison. At this time, Jasper had progressed to constantly texting me disgusting questions concerning my sex life.

I eventually had to file a restraining order but what absolutely kills me was the victim blaming I suffered.

I was victim blamed one to my face and many times behind my back during those 6 months. The reason I'm sure I was blamed for my own behind my back on more than one occasion is because I walked in on my male house mate (Who I'd been living with for a year and a half and who I considered to be one of my best friends up until that point) telling our other house mates that I was a liar. I could hear him from the hallway when he thought I wasn't home saying "Yeah... she thinks she's being stalked now too. As if she's so awesome that anyone would ever go to such trouble! She needs to get over herse-...". He trailed off when he realised I was standing right behind him. At this point, he knew all about the constant texts and Jasper following me out etc. He still told people I was a liar and now to take me seriously cos I'd done it to myself by imagining someone was stalking me.

The second time was more direct. My other male friend, who I also would have considered to be a very close friend, asked me who I was texting one say. I told him I was texting Jasper to tell him to leave me the fuck alone. My friend went CRAZY at me. He went on a very long tirade about how I was bringing on myself by responding and therefore, I must secretly love the attention and I wasn't being stalked or harassed at all. This friend knew all that my Jasper had done to me at this point and, when I asked him how replying encouraged Jasper when 4 months of silence didn't deter him, he didn't apologise.

Both these men whom I would have considered to be close friends at one point also asked me on several occasions how I can justify my "whining" when I had willingly given Jasper my number in the first place.

Even after I was granted a restraining order from Jasper, neither of my victim blaming "friends" acknowledged that I had been stalked and had actually suffered. As far as they were concerned, my "whining" at a situation that they considered to be my fault had gotten a poor young man in trouble.

As you can imagine, we're not friends anymore.

 

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