Stalking is not a harmless crime
Some time ago, I publicized my stalking story by Dirk and Martin from violens.org on Facebook. The response was more than the word “overwhelming” can convey. I was simply torn between infinitely liberated-happy and sad-horrified.
At the age of 21, I was the victim of a violent crime. In the late summer of 2011, the hell on earth started for me. At my prime-age, I lived in solitary confinement. I was already a successful model, I was one of the best graduates at school, and studied nutritional sciences at university in Munich. I lived a life that many girls dreamed of: I was completely autonomous, earned my own money, had great friends around me, worked as a model and had brains. But then my whole life was destroyed in just a few weeks.
My future stalker burst into my life. Actually, I did not want any relationship at all because I just had quitted a long-lasting, loving relationship and just enjoyed being alone and focusing on myself. But the guy sticked to his guns and was so charming and cute, and twisted me around his finger. So, I really pitied him and our relationship started. The fact that I didn’t trust my gut changed my whole life.
Borderline: up one minute, down the next
I’ve met a “sunshine”, an always good-humored fitness coach, well-built and always funny. I experienced the hell on earth, a schizophrenic violent criminal. After weeks in solitary confinement with criminal assault, deprivation of liberty, threats, duress, etc. – more detailed on violens.org – I fled in a cloak-and-dagger operation followed by an almost one-year stalking nightmare. Every single day, several hundred (!) calls, SMS, e-mails and letters reached me. Every single day several hundred. Finally, I blocked 69 phone numbers. Either he bought a new SIM card or he told alleged “friends” that I had cheated on him and they should please call me. He even lied to his mother, who was then calling me, how I, false floozie, could have cheated on her son. I had no affair, nor was I a bitch. He had even uploaded a kind of death notice from me at Facebook – with the words “Burn in hell you …”
After months of terror, I had to go to the lawyer and defend myself. So, I got a judicial order for him, it was strictly forbidden to call, text, mail me or to come to my home. But this left him cold. He has violated this judicial order more than 2000 times. Not to mention all his anonymous calls. He also lost his job because he was completely obsessed with me, 24/7. Obsessed of me and making my life hell. In exile at my parents’ I was all alone with my feelings. Persecution mania, anxiety and insomnia were my daily companions for months. He wanted to take my life. If he was not allowed to be with me anymore, nobody should be allowed to. Dirk from violens.org has summed it up quite nicely: “I left him. But he hadn’t left me.”
In response to my post, countless messages reached me. People who experienced something similar. They all had one thing in common: they were victims, too. And they have never talked about it in public.
Nobody has the right to harm someone
Since then, I am very sensitive, especially regarding violent crimes. And one thing always catches my eye: violence is trivialized and often dismissed as a peccadillo. I recently saw a photo on Facebook showing a female participant in a run: running shorts and tank-top. Normal running clothes in our western world. Plus, it was midsummer.
The comments were jaw-dropping. She should get dressed and not be surprised when being raped. I beg your pardon?! Do these people really believe what they write? I’m horrified and deeply shocked, when I see or read something like that. And unfortunately this is not an exception.
This is exactly the problem: perpetrators and violent persons often want to blame the victims for their violent crimes. Again and again, when I speak to victims of a crime I hear that they have been told they have provoked the violence. Usually, simply a bald lie of the perpetrators to get rid of their guilt – they have been provoked and this was their permission to respond by force.
So, even a summer dress or normal sportswear can be provocation, and the victim of rape is responsible because it was too reveiling. Every excuse is right. Probably, Dirk from violens.org was wearing a leather jacket which was too nice. For the perpetrators this was a good enough reason to beat him almost to death.
We have to stop to belittle acts of violence and stalking
My tormentor wanted me to give up my life and to be completely isolated. He wanted the complete control over me, threatened me with killing himself while holding a kitchen knife on his own throat, if I didn’t do what he wanted. He said that I provoked him with my behavior so much, not wanting to give my life up for him. For him, this was the only way out. Thus, he also legitimized illegal restraint, insult, coercion, stalking and assault.
This pattern is often found in the case of violent crimes: the victim is repeatedly blamed in order to free oneself from the guilt as a culprit. But violence is not a peccadillo. Victims often need months or even years to live with their fate – if at all. My life will never be the same again. And I still got off fairly lightly.
Nobody, absolutely no one has the right to harm someone else. And the fewest victims dare to talk about it. Because they are afraid. Afraid of their tormentor and afraid of the social reaction. “Maybe he felt provoked.”
Why do I have to make this public?
I was afraid of making my story public, too. What will people think of me? Often, I had to deal with incomprehension. Often, I realized that people just could not understand that you are helpless in such a situation. I have never been faced with violence in my life before. Subliminally, I got the feeling that I would have one beer short of a six-pack because I was taken in by him.
By and by, I have understood that some things simply happen. Same with a car accident, sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do and you are just the victim of somebody else. Life is not always beautiful, everyone has to carry his package. The important thing is what we learn and how we live with it.
One of the reactions from my friends on Facebook made me smile: “Almost funny, I always thought you are such a lucky child, good jobs, etc.” This shows me that I am on the right track – the story is a part of me, but just history.
I want to use this to spread the message. If I had a wish, I would hope that my message reaches as many victims as possible. They should know that there is always a way out, even if you have already stopped believing. According to Statista, there were 193,542 violent crimes recorded by police in Germany in 2016. The estimated number of unreported cases is way higher. This means that each of us knows at least one victim per year.
Every victim is important
With violens.org, Dirk and Martin have launched a project that raises the issue of violence. Violence happens every day. And people don’t talk about it because it is a taboo issue. For me, this project was the opportunity to set my experience free. To free myself and to break my silence. Hoping it would help someone. Think of your children, nephews, nieces or grandchildren. Everybody can become a victim.
My story is a part of my past and I’m trying to make the best of it. This has made me stronger and made me aware of what is really important in our lives: People who are always there for us, moments that make us happy, and our health. Nothing bad happens without something good. We just have to be ready to see it. <3
Do you have a story that has changed your life? Have you ever fallen victim to somebody or have you been a culprit of a violent crime? Dirk and Martin of violens.org are always looking for stories that are still untold. Feel free to contact them.
Spread the message. Violence has never been a solution nor will it be.