January is National Stalking Awareness Month — which I had actually no idea about until just now since it was started the year that I left the U.S.! But I’m happy to see that this has been implemented, and I hope that this kind of awareness will extend internationally.
I was stalked when I was 18-19 years old in 1990-1991. At that time there was no awareness about stalking and no laws against it in Minnesota.
I’ve been asked many times if the stalking that I wrote about in Language of Blood was real. Yes, it was. I have never revealed the name of the perpetrator publicly before. Maybe that’s because I have harbored some shame about the stalking, thinking it was in a way my fault. I think I have also harbored some ill feelings about talking more about it because I think to say you are a “crime victim” is using the word “victim,” which I guess among certain circles is not attractive, because the thinking seems to be that you shouldn’t be a “victim” with victim mentality, but a “survivor.” Also, the reaction I tend to get from people a lot of the time is that they just don’t believe me (this was my experience in the U.S.) or in Korea, if I talk about stalking, they think it’s funny or romantic.
But I am much heartened to see that there is now such a thing as National Stalking Awareness Month. So, please believe me. It’s true. This “woman” in this paragraph is me, and you can click here to see the rest of this document online.
In 1991, M discharged a firearm after being discovered sitting in a car in front of the home of a woman he had harassed and stalked. A rope and duct tape were found in the car, and M admitted during a subsequent mental health examination that he broke into the woman’s home with a handgun intending to kidnap, rape, and kill her.
I have had a lot of PTSD symptoms since the stalking, some in the form of existential crisis, but mostly in the form of recurrent nightmares. Living in Korea has helped a lot with that. I would say I haven’t had the nightmare for about a year. But I guess that does mean that I had the nightmare for 17 years and had to live in a “foreign” country for 3 years before it stopped.
I just want to express my gratitude that on a large scale people are starting to wake up to the reality of this kind of violence. Maybe one day people will wake up about the kind of violence in the system of adoption that exists today, too.
I have been thinking about what I am going to actually accomplish on my book tour this coming fall, since reading from more own work actually bores me to death. Since Fugitive Visions is a lot about the stalking, and of course adoption and the U.S. military, etc. maybe I should just riff on these kinds of violence experienced on the personal level and how they are tied to violence on a structural level, and how writing can play a role in healing and erasing shame for the victim, and also bringing an awareness to society about the difference between these perception and reality of these acts — which some people perceive as funny, romantic, charitable or God’s will — but are in reality much different when you take a closer look at the larger structural violence at work or listen to the victims, as we are doing through TRACK.
I hope that at the end of my life, I will be able to look back at the rough start believe that there was some meaning and purpose to all that.