Tell Someone and Get a Restraining Order

I have a story. A friend of mine came to me recently and told me she thinks she’s being stalked by someone. This guy, it turns out, isn’t exactly an ex-boyfriend. They were acquaintances, and he took her out two or three times for some semi-romantic outings. They went to the movies, dinner, had a few chats. She told me she called it off after only a couple of dates.

Well, he’s been after her ever since. At first, it was friendly messages on Facebook and Twitter, asking to get together, and after she made it clear that wasn’t going to happen, just random chats with occasional bits of begging to give him another chance.

My friend is pretty cute, and she’s funny and easy to fall in love with, so this wasn’t that unusual for her. She has a “let them down slowly and easily” policy where she tries to slowly cut off guys who just don’t get the hint.

Well, this guy got the hint, and then he got angry about it. He started sending her angry messages about how she led him on, how he broke up with a girlfriend (never before mentioned), and how she owes him another chance. It got pretty ugly, I guess, and so she unfriended him and blocked him on all accounts.

Unfortunately, it’s still going on now. He has her address, so he’s shown up a few times. He hasn’t been aggressive or angry, but he has tried to come into her place more than once. He’s asked for more dates. He even sent her flowers at work.

I was shocked to hear all of this, obviously. You see these sorts of things in movies, but I had no idea it was happening to my friend and for so long. I consider myself a pretty support guy when it comes to my female friends. I listen to their problems, and I try to help however I can. The fact my friend thought I “just wouldn’t care” hurts, but also makes me examine exactly what messages I’m sending out to her to make her think that.

In order to support her better, I’ve been doing some research on restraining orders. Apparently, this issue is far more prevalent than I thought.

So, I want to send out a few words of advice to my female friends. If you are having a problem with somebody like this, speak up. Tell people. A lot of them are going to be more supportive than you might think. Also, go to the police or a lawyer and find out how to make this person quit. They may just seem pathetic at first, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of much worse.

I’m glad our society is starting to take these issues more seriously, and I think all of us can do more to make sure these problems go away. My friend deserves to be able to go home without worrying about someone she doesn’t want being there. All women do. We have to make this stuff stop.

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