A Decade Long Stalking Nightmare

The following is an except from my book: NOT-ME! Self-Defense and the Martial Arts for and by People with SCI/D.
This true story was written by TIFFANY CARLSON.

I have been hesitant about sharing my story regarding my stalker, scared he’ll read this. Why do I care? Because that’s the power that stalkers have over you: Fear. But since it’s been a year since he came to my home unannounced, I’m a bit less scared than I once was.

I want to fight back. I need to stop caring that he’s still out there and always will be until he dies. He lingers everywhere I am online.

I first made my presence known to my stalker back in the mid ’90s. At that time, I had no idea who Devotees (wheelchair fetishists) or Pretenders (people who pretend to use a wheelchair, on or offline) were. Of course, now I know that online rooms are full of them. The creepiest of them all was a guy by the name of D.T. At the time he was pretending to be a pretty, long-haired burnette from L.A who was a graphic designer for Pixar.

His persona privately messaged me, and from there on out, we carried on a one year long online friendship. We chatted every day and shared our paralyzed war stories. It was pretty intense.

One day, I was bored and popped into the AOL disability chat room. I was talking about my friend, and instantly, people in the room were telling me that she was a Pretender and actually a crazy forty something white male from California. I was shocked and appalled. I knew these people wouldn’t lie about something like that. I felt sickened and betrayed.

D.T. figured out that I knew about his game. He wrote me a long email apologizing for his transgressions, saying he’d take me to Disney World to make it up to me.

His assumptions freaked me out even more, so I blocked his email. Years went past and he continued to use dozens of fake personas to try to trick me again. He used Yahoo IM, emails under new addresses, everything. His main goal was to know intimate details about me so he could masturbate to them.

I’ve been running my site www.beautyability.com for several years. He would visit every day. I figured out that the California IP that came to my site each morning was him. He would post comments on my blog under a few different pseudonyms, but he never varied his grammar or speech patterns so I always knew it was him. But since the guy seemed “sorta” harmless at the time, I decided to stop deleting his comments and let them stay. That proved to be a bad idea. He took that action by me as a sign that I was actually receptive towards him.

After reading in a blog somewhere that I was single again, he decided to pack-up and move to Minnesota to find me in person. I’m unlisted. He didn’t have my address. He printed out some pictures of my neighborhood that I had put in one of my blogs. He walked around downtown Minneapolis until he found the buildings that were in the pictures. He visited all of those buildings until he found the one that had my name in the foyer. That was at 10:30am, August 7th, 2008.

He rang my unit, telling me that he was some guy that was here to “warn me” about this crazy guy from California who’s been stalking me. He was just lying again. It was he who was the crazy guy. I told him to go away, that I was busy, and to email me whatever his story was.

He did. I read his email later in the day and realized it was HIM, even though he never said so. His grammar though, as I said before, never wavered. It was easy to figure out. He was also seen frequently in my neighborhood wandering around the next few days.

I obtained a restraining order the afternoon of the day he first came to my house. Not only was it quite easy to get the restraining order, the police found the hotel he was staying at to serve him. They went there, served him and demanded he leave me alone. They told him to leave the state.

The police said D.T. was shaking in his boots when they served him. It seemed to work. He ended up not being able to find a job and moved to Arizona. It’s been a year since all of this went down. He has only tried to comment on my blog twice.

Even through, I haven’t heard from him now in awhile. I still get scared when I’m in bed at night and hear weird noises. I’m worried in the back of my mind that he might come back to Minneapolis, desperate to finally meet me in-person, and break into my place.

Because of this decade-long ill journey with this stalker, I RARELY if ever talk to people I don’t know in-person online anymore. It’s the only way I can protect myself from this happening again.

I hope my story helps people to be more vigilant about who they trust online, and to show them that Devotees and Pretenders are NOTHING to take lightly.