how to deal with a predator from my past?

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Blue Jay
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26 Apr 2012, 8:23 pm

I've always had problems with assertiveness especially when I was young. I used to have thoughts and feelings about a situation but was never sure if they were "right" as I had noticed I always misunderstood social things. In my early 20's with no relationship experience I became the victim of a manipulative predator 20 years my senior. We did everything but have sex all - all against my will - I somehow managed to stop it getting to sex although I was often scared of getting raped. Every time I tried to express that I didn't want to be in the situation and that I was uncomfortable the predator explained to me why everything I thought was invalid. It was all really horrible. Somehow I managed to break free of that person and get on with my life. Over ten years passed and I hadn't come across him again so assumed he must've moved/died.

Then, one day this week I was in a shopping centre coming up the escalators. As I stepped off I noticed the person behind me started to pass really, really close to me. I was trying to ignore them getting in my personal space when I realised they were staring into my face. Then they said my name and I looked up and realised it was the predator. Because I was taken by surprise my mouth just fell open and "hi" fell out - then I realised who it was and I think I gave him a dirty look (but never really sure how my facial expressions look). He looked at me with his usual amused and cruel look on his face. I just walked away, then checked over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't following me.

It's really thrown me and upset me. I hate him and am so angry at him. I can't believe he had the audacity to get into my personal space and act like I'd be happy to see him. If I see him again I want to tell him in no uncertain terms to stay away from me. I want to be assertive with him so he can see that he can't manipulate me anymore. I know what he's like though - he'd try to undermine me - play dumb, demand that I explain myself. But I do not want to get into a conversation with him.

If I see him again I want to be prepared - know exactly what I'm going to say. "F off and stay out of my personal space" comes to mind. I've also thought that if he approaches me again in a public space to make a scene - to yell at him to stay away from me and call him a predator/paedophile. (Paedophile is not technically correct by a couple of year but I feel its correct because it took me a long time to reach maturity mentally and emotionally and he was well aware of that). I used to be scared of him and thought that if I angered him he would somehow get to me and attack me. I now see him as a coward and can't imagine he'd come after me if I stand up for myself. Is it wrong to make that assumption? If I attack/humiliate him in public is it dangerous? Any advice on the best way to handle this? I hope I'll never see him again but if I do I want to be prepared and not leave any ambiguity like I might have this time.



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26 Apr 2012, 8:42 pm

If you say anything at all, he will reply = conversation.
Remove the opportunity for his ego to display itself: see nothing, say nothing.

He wants recognition for the past, he wants to think he conquered you...don't give him any of that.

Personally I would pretend he doesn't exist, but arm myself in preparation for any errant predators generally.
To do this effectively, I would convince myself (as an actor would) that he really doesn't exist.
Then if you see him around, he is merely a remarkable copy of something you vaguely recall -- so ugly, so lifelike ..& best to avoid catching his eye.

If he gets into your face again, treat him like an alien predator: scream for help, zap/spray him with mace or such.
No-one has the right to get into your space without your clear permission.

Then I'd wait patiently for an apocalypse to take him down, because I don't see the world educating these arrogant sleazes with anything other than encouragement.


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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26 Apr 2012, 9:07 pm

Walk toward an area or place of more people. This might sound patently obvious, but not everyone does this.

If he invades personal space , the method of cross-hand to shoulder and push away. "Get away from me.". Keep repeating it louder and people will begin to notice. And then just stay in the area of greater people.

And I kind of agree with the above, ignore him, treat him as a non-entity.

And maybe self-defense lessons offered in your area. Don't expect miracles, but it does give an element of surprise.



questor
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26 Apr 2012, 10:17 pm

I agree with AardvarkGoodSwimmer, especially about martial arts training. Do head for more people if he bothers you in public, and tell him to get away if he gets too close. Do not talk to him except to tell him to get away from you. Do block any calls and emails. Do not open your door if he shows up on your doorstep. If he tries to force his way in call the police. And definitely take martial arts training. Also, consider assertiveness training courses. Do not go out with him again, either, ever.


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27 Apr 2012, 11:46 am

I'd say you gave it away already when he saw fear/pissed offedness in your face on the escalator. I think a better way to handle it is to ignore him, act like you'd never seen him before, and remain cool. Why? Because you are taking back your private space. He means nothing to you. No talk, no touch, no eye contact. It is like the dog whisperer.

I don't know if I am wrong, but think about it.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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27 Apr 2012, 5:35 pm

invisibubble wrote:
. . . As I stepped off I noticed the person behind me started to pass really, really close to me. I was trying to ignore them getting in my personal space when I realised they were staring into my face. Then they said my name and I looked up and realised it was the predator. Because I was taken by surprise my mouth just fell open and "hi" fell out - then I realised who it was and I think I gave him a dirty look (but never really sure how my facial expressions look). He looked at me with his usual amused and cruel look on his face. I just walked away, then checked over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't following me. . .

I think you did pretty well. We're not stone statues. We're real people. Okay, so you said "hi" a moment before you realized who it was, then your face shut down. That may actually be good. He gets the point. You don't like him and you know he was a predator. Then he covers up with a grin or meaness or whatever the hell he's into. That's his problem. And if there's any question about whether he's changed, nope, he's still the same disrespecting and abusing person.

You also did good matter-of-factly checking to make sure you were safe after the immediate surprise of the incident was over.

Okay,

a good martial arts instructor can teach you how to break grips and free yourself if someone attempts to grab you. A good marital arts instructor can teach you how to block blows if someone attempts to hit you. A good instructor can also teach you how to give blows, like to the rib cage, but don't expect miracles. If the person is a lot bigger than you, they still have some advantages in a fight even if you know some skills. The point is almost to buy time as you loudly say "Get Away From Me" or whatever else you choose to say.

I do much better with individual lessons than group lessons, including martial arts.

This was also true when I took tennis and skiing lessons. With group lessons I'm often frequently wondering if I'm doing it right. With individual lessons, I have a lot more confidence. And really, for me, two individual lessons, and then practicing on my own, I feel I can learn a lot. And then I can go back and take more individual lessons if I so choose.

It's a little like insurance, the point of martial arts to give confidence and then you hope you don't need to use it. You probably won't need it, but nice to be prepared.



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30 Apr 2012, 2:49 am

Thank you everyone who has replied - its given me a lot of good information to think about especially in terms of looking out for my safety. This is the first time I have really told anyone about him and what he did to me and it makes me feel just a little bit stronger - a little bit more like he can't get to me anymore. Does anyone know what its called if someone kisses you when you don't want to be kissed and takes your clothes off when you don't want to be sexual with them? Is it sexual assault or something? I never reported him to the police in the past although now I think I should have - of course I wouldn't have known what to call it but the main thing was I wanted him to stay away and he wouldn't. But the reason I didn't report it or tell anyone at the time is because I was so deeply humiliated, ashamed and scared. I realise if he's going to try to re-establish himself in my life I have to face those feelings head-on and report him to the police.

This brings me to another thought. Some have said if I see him again I should say nothing and it's certainly tempting because I have a behaviour of avoidance of conflict. However, how could I report to the police that he's harassing me if I hadn't told him at least once that I wanted him to stay away from me?

I haven't seen him again since and when I went out today I was careful to stand tall with my shoulders back and my head up (I usually slouch and slink around) and kept an eye on everything around me. I'm know I'm going to be watching my back like this for a long time now because I feel really spooked. I've moved since the whole ordeal but I want to be sure he doesn't see me in a public place and follow me home. I wish I could take self defense classes and get assertiveness training but I can't afford any of these "extras" at the moment.



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02 May 2012, 11:36 am

Hi,

I was robbed at knife point at a bus stop at a college campus back in 1994. Fortunately I was not actually injuried. It was pretty bad and shook me up for quite a while. The bus stop was not technically university property, so I mainly dealt with the Metro [transit authority] police and the city police. Neither police was not interested in the description of the knife nor in the bicycle the guy was riding. The metro police showed me six photographs (all at once, which I've since read is not good police work) and pushed me to be more sure than I was. Same for city police, and they showed me different photographs! Apparently, the guy had committed two additional bus stop robberies the next day (probably on drug binge) and had been caught. Well, why couldn't they build my description of the knife and bicycle into a broader case? The police seem to want an easy case that 'wins' for the jury in a superficial way. In this sense they are lazy.

There is one method with potential. You see, if a person walks into a police department by themselves, the officer may subtly or not so subtly try and discourage them from making the complaint in order to reduce case load, avoiding criticism from other police officers for taking on an awkward case, etc. But, if you walk in with an advocate, that's off the table. You are there to make a complaint. There's a good chance the officer will then be polite and professional.

Maybe an organization which runs a local center for battered woman might be able to recommend a good advocate?

This person hopefully will understand the dynamics of abuse, and you're not going to spend a lot of time trying to bring them up to speed. And instead, the two of you can spend time strategizing. For example, I just don't know if someone has to verbally say, Leave me alone. Or whether simply walking away---and towards more people---on several occasions is the same, and it will count as harassment if the person then continues to approach you. But hopefully a local advocate will know (and maybe a restraining order?). And the women's center might also know of free or reduced-price martial arts lessons.

Best wishes with all this. :D Please continue to think of WP as one more resource available to you.



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02 May 2012, 11:53 am

It's so weird when I see cruel people for the first time in a while and they pretend nothing has happened. It's much more disconcerting and frightening than if they were just mean. 8O I have no idea how to behave in those situations..


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lilbetta
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02 May 2012, 3:52 pm

martial arts is great also some mace wouldnt hurt, andif u are to make a sceen make sure its in public with lots of people but also lock your oors at night



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02 May 2012, 4:04 pm

lilbetta wrote:
some mace wouldnt hurt


This is illegal in almost all of Australia (but is surprisingly legal in Western Australia).



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02 May 2012, 4:17 pm

invisibubble wrote:
Thank you everyone who has replied - its given me a lot of good information to think about especially in terms of looking out for my safety. This is the first time I have really told anyone about him and what he did to me and it makes me feel just a little bit stronger - a little bit more like he can't get to me anymore. Does anyone know what its called if someone kisses you when you don't want to be kissed and takes your clothes off when you don't want to be sexual with them? Is it sexual assault or something? I never reported him to the police in the past although now I think I should have - of course I wouldn't have known what to call it but the main thing was I wanted him to stay away and he wouldn't. But the reason I didn't report it or tell anyone at the time is because I was so deeply humiliated, ashamed and scared. I realise if he's going to try to re-establish himself in my life I have to face those feelings head-on and report him to the police.

This brings me to another thought. Some have said if I see him again I should say nothing and it's certainly tempting because I have a behaviour of avoidance of conflict. However, how could I report to the police that he's harassing me if I hadn't told him at least once that I wanted him to stay away from me?

I haven't seen him again since and when I went out today I was careful to stand tall with my shoulders back and my head up (I usually slouch and slink around) and kept an eye on everything around me. I'm know I'm going to be watching my back like this for a long time now because I feel really spooked. I've moved since the whole ordeal but I want to be sure he doesn't see me in a public place and follow me home. I wish I could take self defense classes and get assertiveness training but I can't afford any of these "extras" at the moment.


Yes, what he did was sexual assault.
As others said do avoid getting into a conversation with him and get into a public place, if he doesn't leak you alone make a scene being very clear that you want him away from you - don't humiliate, just make it clear to him and others around you that you don't want him near you. If he does start to harass you then you can talk to the police, however whether anything can be done is another matter - if you have a social worker or someone else supporting you then tell them so they can help and talk to police on your behalf, otherwise if he does start harassing you as well as the police look for a local support group that deal with harassment.

I had a similar situation with a neighbour - he wasn't nasty with it and I was a child, but he explained things away and made me feel like what we were doing was a normal way to show affection, that what I was doing was my choice. I haven't seen that neighbour for years, but when I visited my mother I used to see him so had to smile and call him 'Uncle ....' like I used to as a kid, it creeped me out. You sound panicked, I understand the feeling, keep safe and don't be scared to ask for help from anyone you can if you start seeing him more often.


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05 May 2012, 3:05 pm

Keep in mind that this is a little, little man, regardless of his physical size.

You can't predict exactly what might happen if you run into him again, but you can practice being strong within yourself. You might get flustered again if you run into him, but that's okay because it's simply your first response, which can't be controlled. What you need to be prepared for is understanding that he already knows he can get to you. Standing tall is a very good thing regardless, as it will also keep other potential attackers at a wary distance, but this guy is probably arrogant enough to think that this fluffing of your feathers is just for show and will probably antagonize him even more. Once you get over that initial moment of being flustered, take a deep breath and definitely tell him to f**k off and leave you alone if you ever run into him again. Tell him you don't want to have anything to do with him. Whatever you do, don't issue any idle threats as some people are prone to do as part of their standing up for themselves. Don't say, "or else," and if he asks, "or else what are you gonna do," don't respond to that, but just repeat your demand of leaving you alone. Keep repeating it as necessary, never budging from your stance. Find a friend with whom you can practice this on, including that initial moment of being flustered. If you practice it, then you will feel comfortable knowing that you have an answer to running into him again, so if you do run into him again, your mind will kick into auto mode and you'll react without having to think about it. Thinking about what to say and how to say it is an enemy for people like us, so you want to avoid it at all costs by developing and practicing your stance ahead of time. You're not planning an attack, and your not planning your exact words - don't look at it like that. What you are practicing is your stance - that he is not welcome anywhere near you. At that point he'll either leave you alone for good (he may still try to poke a little looking for holes in your stance, and trying to get you flustered again, but will ultimately give up once you don't give him any indication that you are backing down), or he'll consider it a cat and mouse challenge and will fall back on his physical ability versus his mental/verbal ability. This is where self-defense classes come in handy, because being able to mentally stand up to someone is always a great first step, but that might not be enough to keep them from continuing with their physical attack.

I've been in a self-defense class for a year now. I have knowledge of what to do if someone enters my personal space unwanted or tries to grab me, contain me, or assault me. I am prepared to be a little surprised at first, but my training allows the lessons I've practiced to kick in so that I can properly defend and counter-attack as necessary. I'm no longer afraid of showing what I am capable of doing to someone who chooses to enter my personal space against my will. That being said, I ABSOLUTELY SUCK at verbal conflict. I have just enough gumption to tell someone to back off, but if they continue with a verbal attack I really start going brain fog. I have to keep in mind that someone who is verbally attacking is a little person who doesn't really want to get into a physical conflict with me, but who still wants to cause me to be intimidated by them. Another secret I've figured out - Other people don't have the power to intimidate me - I have the power to control if I will let them intimidate me or not. Practice realizing that the only way the other person can intimidate you is if you let them.

Good luck, and I really hope you never have to deal with this guy again.