Friday, September 5, 2014

I Guess It's Time

I've been having migraines again this week, and while it probably is the weather (my usual trigger), I also keep thinking that it is because I am stressed.

I had friends over to help me can some pears the other day and they asked what I could be stressed about. And a lot of things, really, you know all the usual things: the dishes, the laundry, the bills, the broken lawnmower, whether or not I remembered to feed the kids lunch, you know those types of things, but also I think I have been really stressed lately because I feel like I need to talk about what happened on the way home from the park a few weeks ago, but I really just don't want to.

I think it's time though, and hopefully after I talk about it, this heavy feeling inside will go away and the pain behind my left eyeball will also go away.  So, deep breath, and here goes.

The thing is, I had always said that I felt ok keeping my blog public because I was thought I was just as likely to be followed home by a creep from the park as I was to get a creep stalking my blog online.

And now that it's happened, having someone follow me home from the park, I feel really strange inside, about a lot of things.

I'm not even sure what it is that I want to say about it, because I don't really feel like talking about the details, how scared I was, or how I didn't know what to do, or what to say, or how to act.  I didn't know what he was thinking, or what he was planning.

His house is on the route I run when I go running, and I have mild panic attacks every time that he is outside.  But am I just supposed to stop living my life?  For about a week after it happened I wouldn't let my girls go outside, but they want to go outside and can I make them stop living their lives?

I kept trying to tell myself that it probably wasn't that big of a deal, he didn't actually know where we lived because instead of going home I went to a neighbor's house and so we were probably safe, right?

I asked my mom and my sister and Devin for thoughts on the situation.  My sister is friends with a sheriff, an FBI agent, and the wife of a police officer.  She emailed them about what happened and asked them what they thought I should do.

Here are their responses:

FBI agent: First, it's absolutely NOT nothing. If she knows his name look him up in the local sex offender registry and contact the police precinct that covers where you live. Report it. Report it no matter what. They likely know of him as others have probably called in and reported a creeper at the park. The more people who call the better intel they have to do something. Sounds like she did an awesome job protecting her kids. Tell her to never question her gut instincts.

Sheriff: Wow!  It NEVER hurts to be suspicious. His behavior is very unusual and very inappropriate in public. His motive, or intent, may be innocent if he is mentally challenged, but if that is the case one would think there would be a caretaker who could be made aware of this guy's unusual behavior. If he doesn't know better then his caretaker needs to be more responsible. If he DOES know better then there is even more cause for concern.
Either way your sister should call the police immediately. If it is a mentally challenge person they may already be familiar with him. If they are not familiar with him they can still try to track him down and talk to him or to his caretaker.
If he is no mentally challenged then there is real cause or alarm. She is right to be concerned about her kids playing outside without her there. And she shouldn't brush off anything he says or does as being just because of his mental state. And if something happens that seems weird she should just make a little note about it - what happened, where, time - in case that information is needed later.
We don't want to scar her or the kids, but caution - and a little paranoia - can be healthy!
She is welcome to call me if she'd like.

Police Officer's Wife: I had my husband read this. He said that she should call and report it. If it makes her uncomfortable there is nothing wrong with reporting it. There could always be the chance that he is a registered child sex offender already and then she can know and the police can know what is going on. Also if not it is always a good thing to have on record in case anything ever did happen involving him.  She should call and make a report.

I felt better about filing a report after having three people who work in that area recommend that I do so, but it still made me very uncomfortable.  I typed up my statement, put it in an envelope, and began driving to the police station.  As luck (or fate?) would have it, a police officer turned into my neighborhood just as I was turning out. I slammed on my brakes and just stared at him, stunned at the coincidence.  Of course, he stopped too and rolled down his window. I jumped out of my car and almost crying handed him my envelope and asked him to report it and call me if they needed anything else.

And now, I am mostly just keeping my eyes wide open, and hoping that nothing else will ever happen and that my children will never be hurt by anyone ever.  And maybe now that I've told my story in blog therapy style, I can sleep again at night and not be sick all day anymore.  Either that, or it really was just the weather.

12 comments:

  1. I think you handled it well. And I would have been scared, too.

    I love you.

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  2. I don't know the details, but good on you for being proactive.

    I recommend a self defense class that is NOT based on pain compliance. It will give you the skills and confidence to protect both yourself and your children.

    Love you!

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I won't claim to have read all your posts. But of the ones I have read... this is the most important one. You have braverisms. - peter

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  4. After telling my husband about it, he seems to be a bit stressed over it too. More so than I am. Police friend is pretty sure he knows who it was as there a a few group home in the neighborhood. but the individual has not had previous complaints. Benjie now points out every middle aged man walking in the neighborhood and say, "is that him?" I'd be happy to send Zoe out whenever you want. Judging by how she acted last time she was in your yard, she seems to have adopted your little lambs as her own. - Anita

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  5. So you don't have to answer this but I wonder if this happened after Heather's party? If so I feel bad because I saw him and felt like I should distract him somehow... Though as to how I'm still idea less - Rachel

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  6. follow your gut - Santyna

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  7. I'm glad you reported him. You know, often the best thing to do is acknowledge the person. Let them know you see them.
    I highly recommend taking a women's self defense class. And sign the kids up for martial arts as soon as they are each old enough. In fact, do what I did, and join too!
    I had a similar situation recently in a busy crowded place. Peter was watching the kids while I ran back to the van for the diaper bag. I was alert and aware of my surroundings, and thank goodness I was, because a man on the corner was just looking for a victim. He chose me, but I noticed his choice and refused to become a victim. He followed me half a block. I glanced back... He was intent on following me. So as another woman approached from the other direction I turned around and walked past the creeper. I walked back to the corner and hid just around the corner waiting to see if he would come back looking for me. He did. But I had my arms crossed and a look of "you messed with the wrong person" on my face. He took off, realizing I had him figured out.
    I should have followed him and pointed him out to a cop. - Mindee

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  8. I think that this would be pretty scary to be followed home, especially with 4 little girls with you. - Tina

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  9. I remember seeing him follow you up the road because my little lady was running up the sidewalk. I thought he might be someone you know, otherwise I would have kept right behind you! - Holly

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  10. I'd also invest in some mace and a tazer. - Mindee

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    1. Mace and tazer is a good combo. +! to that. - kelly c

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  11. Take MMA lessons, and firearms training, get your CCW, and carry. - kelly c

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