by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
There is a fine line between serendipity and stalking. ~ David Coleman
What Is Stalking
The reason the David Coleman quote above resonates with me is that a woman who appeared to be stalking a man called it serendipitous when she wound up in a club a half mile from his home, where he was known to frequent, on the same night he did. She said to me, “It’s serendipity!” and I said, “No, it’s stalking.” I don’t know when the quote above was made by its source, but I had this conversation 14 years ago. Another quote that came to mind, is “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” She kept thinking that their “accidental” run-ins meant they were destined to be together. It didn’t and they weren’t. Thankfully she moved on, and no one died.
Stalkers Who Turn Into Murderers
It has long been known that female stalking victims have been killed by their stalker. Laws to protect people have been put into effect after stalking turns to murder. Rebecca Shaefer’s murder in 1989 led to stronger laws in California to hide addresses of public figures. It’s not a small thing and it’s not unusual. What is unusual is the small amount of attention paid to female stalkers as murderers and their victims. While we may pay attention to the murder trials, we have done little to educate everyone about how men can protect themselves if they have a stalking ex-girlfriend or obsessive girlfriend they can’t seem to get to go away.
The Murders of Travis Alexander and Ryan Poston
I examined Alexander’s killer, Jodi Arias, and her stalking behavior in Part 1 of this series. I have drafts about Poston’s killer, Shayna Hubers, but as she is getting a new trial, I’ve kept most in drafts. I have written my own harrowing accounts with real live stalkers (Local), internet stalkers, being harassed, being a DV victim and being an advocate for victims of domestic violence victims. I have counseled people for over 25 years and know about obsessive love both as a victim and as a counselor of many. I hope to write more on this subject of male stalking victims. If you have questions or comments, email me and I will answer in upcoming articles or videos. To subscribe to our mailing list go HERE.
This is to help anyone who thinks they are being stalked or a friend or family member of someone being stalked and that person is a man.
No one who was friends with Alexander or Poston should feel guilty that they didn’t urge either person to take stronger precautions. This information is simply not known by most. But now that there are at least two men – in the prime of their lives – murdered by their stalker – this issue should become better known.
Yes, there are others and there are even other high visibility cases. For now, this is to draw parallels between these two murder victims and any man who may be in danger and not know it.
Men As Victims of Stalkers
It is important that everyone know the following about men as stalking victims:
- About a third of stalking victims are men. There are enough of them so that there is NO excuse for any “expert” to not have studied the differences in behavior and reporting of male and female stalking victims. In the Arias case, expert Alice LaViolette used a broad brush to paint Travis Alexander’s “lack of fear” as proof that there was no stalking. As I write in Part 1, I listened to this testimony over and over again to the point where I wanted to slam my head into the desk due to its inaccuracies and false information. I tried, as I talk about in Part 1, to give Ms. LaViolette the benefit of the doubt in deference to her work in this field, but at the end of the day her testimony in the Arias case was biased, misinformed and unbelievable and – at the end of the day – that is NOT OKAY.
- No one should ever analyze an absence of demonstrated fear to mean the absence of fear. Many people – male and female – minimize fear in order to function. It’s a deep reaction. It’s hard to demonstrate how fearful you are of anything. Even females have trouble, sometimes, showing that they are fearful. But, you never should use the same lens that you would use to look at a female stalking victim on a male victim. You should not hold yourself out as an expert if you fail to study the differences in male and female stalking victims.
- Most men – stalking victims or not stalking victims – do not exhibit fear the same way that women exhibit fear. Most male stalking victims don’t even know if they should even feel the fear, let alone show it. Society doesn’t typically allow men to talk about their fears or show their fears most of the time. Most male stalking victims don’t even talk about it. They don’t think they will be taken serious by anyone – let alone the police. Oh big manly man like you are afraid of a widdle girl??? Boo hoo!
- Trying to be friends with an obsessive ex is a losing game. If an ex or a girlfriend you’re trying to get away from is sending you countless texts or calls, recognize that as “not normal.” My book and program GPYB recommends no contact with ALL exes after a breakup. It recommends blocking them and getting on with life. The main reason is you need to separate for healing. If you are to ever be friends, it’s NOT NOW. It’s even less productive, and may even be dangerous, if your ex has a hard time letting go or is obsessive. Don’t do it.
- Don’t let an ex manipulate you with crying or threats. Alexander told friends he was afraid that Arias would kill herself, as she had threatened, if he broke it off completely. He tried to remain friends with her. Poston told Hubers herself that he stopped trying to break it off because he would fold in the face of her tears. Gentlemen, if a woman gets teary or threatens suicide, please don’t own this. This is her thing to deal with, not yours. Both Alexander and Poston became victims of their own compassion. Sorry to say but the best thing to do is ignore threats or crying. You must build the wall, and if crazy ex-girlfriend kills herself or cries herself into oblivion, that’s not your fault or your problem. If you’re a compassionate man, good for you, but please spread it to other places and not crazy ex girlfriends. You must must must wall yourself off from her suicide threats or crying to keep YOU safe. Experts should not examine, “Well he continued to have contact with her…” as evidence of a lack of fear. It might be that he is being manipulated into continued contact that will, one day, become his demise.
- Don’t let them know about future plans, especially if they involve another woman. Experts tell DV victims that the most dangerous time is when you are leaving or have just left. What most people fail to make known and impress upon male stalking victims is that if you are breaking things off and turning your attention to another woman, this is a very dangerous time. Jodi Arias murdered Travis Alexander when he was taking a female friend to Cancun. Shayna Hubers murdered Ryan Poston on the very night he had a date with Miss Ohio. (at some point I may write more about Hubers).
- Report obsessive and stalking behavior. In his closing argument at the Arias trial, prosecutor Juan Martinez recounted much of Arias’ behavior and asked, “Who does that?” over and over again. When Hubers was arrested she made the famous comment, “I gave him the nose job he always wanted.” The arresting officer could not believe what he was hearing. These stalkers do not think as non-disordered humans do. If someone’s behavior defies believability, chances are you have a stalker. Take it seriously if a male friend reports countless texts or random events (like slashed tires) from a girlfriend or ex-girlfriend. Try to convince him that it is a sign of stalking behavior and he needs to take action.
- If you are being stalked, the crazy is very real. Ryan Poston was a gun enthusiast, and he was shot to death with his own weapon. His guard was probably down as he had faith that his gun collection would save him. Arias showed up at Alexander’s house at 4 a.m. He was still awake, but I’m sure his guard was down. He was into MMA and worked out with a heavy bag. He was in good shape and bigger than Arias. Getting into the shower probably did not seem to be a triggering activity to him. His guard was way down. If you are a family member or friend of a man who reports fear of some crazy ex or possessive ex, tell him to get a restraining order, change the locks if you think she has a key or the code to the garage and close off the doggie door. Don’t let him rely on weapons he owns or his own belief in defending himself. History shows it’s not going to keep a crazy ex from killing him.
- If you have an ex who is creeping your house or even your FB page and you are feeling uncomfortable, tell friends, tell the police and get a restraining order. Hundreds of texts in the style of Shayna Hubers and crawling through the doggie door in the style of Arias is NOT normal behavior. Even if the police try to minimize whatever it is the ex is doing, ignore them and insist on documentation. Unwanted contact is not okay under the law. Tell them what your suspicions are.
- Don’t feel the need to justify your fear. You don’t want some jacked up so-called expert to explain that you didn’t exhibit fear during the trial of the person who kills you. Tell other people your fears and protect yourself from harm. Not with an arsenal of weapons or belief in your martial arts skills, but with a restraining order and vigilant approach to keeping the crazy ex away from you.
It is very important for those who are victims of stalking to understand that the crazy is real and you need to protect yourself. If you are a friend or family member, please let them know.
I have written on my experience with abuse, stalking and obsession. I have been a victim of a stalker who reached out and managed to find someone who could find his or her way to me…for over 20 years.
If you have questions or comments, email me and I will answer in upcoming articles or videos or podcasts. To join our closed Facebook breakup support group go HERE. To subscribe to our mailing list go HERE.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, take these things to heart and know that every one is true. For more information on leaving the abusive relationship or the aftermath of an abusive relationship, please join us on Facebook. For more on my experience as a DV victim, please listen to these episodes of the Mean Lady Talking podcast (there are more, this is just a sampling.) See episodes 1, 14, 25, 33 and 36 A B and C!
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When in a domestically abusive situation use precautions and assume anyone has the propensity for violence. Call the NATIONAL ABUSE HOTLINE. In the US it is 800-799-SAFE please memorize this number. In the UK it is 0808 2000 247. They will help you develop a safety plan to leave.
Copyright 2018 Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
“I Teach What I Know. I Have The Degrees, but I Have The EXPERIENCE and I don’t ask anyone to do anything I have not done.”
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