Bystander Intervention actually works!!!

Several months ago I posted a story about my rapist always turning up when I am out to lunch or the grocery store or anywhere really. Back in 2001 or 2002 we had dated for a few months, and he had raped me as I was trying to break up with him. At the time, I wrote him a letter detailing what he had done and telling him that he needed to stay away from me, that I wouldn't be returning any communications from him, and that he was to stay away from certain places I needed to go as well as leave any place where he ran into me. But in the months after the assault, it was as if my list of demands had just become his recipe for the best way to terrorize me. He stalked me. He showed up where I was any time he could and made intimidating body language, facial expressions, and comments. I had to move out of state to get away from him but got homesick and moved back only to have it all start all over again. When I got back I found out that he had done this to multiple other women while I was away. The sight of him jolted me with a surge of violent rage every time I ran into him for over a decade. I was wracked with guilt for not reporting it, allowing him to go unpunished and continue to hurt more people. I didn't tell anyone. I kept it to myself for as long as possible, because I was completely mortified to have anyone know that I had gotten myself into such a predicament. I refused to admit to even myself that I had been raped. It's only been within the last year or two that I have called it rape. It has only been within the last year or two that I have told anyone about what happened, and it hasn't been mortifying. It has been anxietizing for sure, but it's been worth it. I have told a lot of trusted people, and now a lot of trusted people have my back. We have been able to have conversation about what helps and what doesn't. Now when he walks into the coffee shop that I am at and my back is to the door, whomever I am with, they will warn me and give him a glare with a different kind of warning. And it's working! It took me over a decade to start telling people, but once I did, it only took a few months for him to realize that a lot of people have my back and that he is not going to be able to get away with terrorizing me anymore. And lately, he has begun to respect my demands. A few days ago, this exact scenario happened, and he left! I know he is not doing this because he has finally acknowledged that what he did was wrong or because he suddenly cares about my comfort when I am in public. He is doing this because bystander intervention works! Because he has gotten the message over and over again that what he is doing will not be allowed to continue. I feel relieved. I feel supported. I feel like I am in control of my own experiences.

Happened on September 11, 2014

Incident reported by target

Bystander Action? Yes

Harassment Types: Sexual