I have quite a few blogs in the works…partly finished but sitting on hold. Here’s what you have to look forward to: Marriage after Religion, A Letter to my Brother, What it Means to be A Secular Humanist and I’m Ashamed to be an Arizonan.
I don’t know when I will find the motivation to complete those entries as I’ve currently been dealing with a heavy burden. A few years ago I was lying in my bed when Mark walked in to our room and calmly told me to discreetly pick up my phone and call 911. He said there is a man in our backyard and he’s got his face up against the window watching you. So I calmly dialed 911 all the while the man stayed put thinking he had not been noticed. Sadly, once he realized his hiding had been compromised he got away and had the freedom to continue harassing women in the neighborhood. Three weeks later he was caught again in a young woman’s backyard watching her through her living room window. She chased him off her property with a knife and then knocked on our door a few nights later. She was shocked to learn of me as the police had told her she was the first and only target and it probably wouldn’t happen again. They had told me that the man was likely targeting just me…maybe a little obsession so I needed to stop running alone in the morning and I needed to change clothes in my closet, I also needed to warn my boys’ schools in case it is one of them he is targeting and I simply just needed to be hyperaware of my surroundings. I felt imprisoned and scared and now here is this girl who has just experienced the same thing. Relief. Sadness.
Needless to say a lot of things got escalated quickly. Accusations, restraining orders, etc. I knocked on a lot of doors to keep the neighborhood aware and was one day surprised to be walking with my dad near my house when a white sedan passed me with his windows down and flashed me the creepiest, knowing smile I had ever seen. Even my dad who rarely says much of anything said “wow, that smile was creepy.” As the car passed he stepped on his brakes to which I was immediately alerted to the taillight being out. On the night the man was in my window we felt he was talking with some one else and a few minutes after he figured out he had been seen he fled out the back of our walled yard. We immediately called the neighbors to step out of their houses and keep watch. Our closest neighbor saw a car leave our tiny culd-e-sac that was an older white sedan with a burned out taillight. Once I recovered from the gut punch of feeling creeped out and then seeing the broken taillight I watched where the car turned and then I ran home and got Mark. We jumped in our car and followed the road that the perp’s car had taken and found it in the driveway of a house just a few blocks north of us. I took down the license plate number and then we knocked on the door. The owners of the house let us in and the driver of the car as well as a few other boys and the parents of those boys all gathered around and we let them know what had happened at our house and to just be aware. None of the boys in that house matched the man who we had seen in our window that night but the car did so we immediately called the deputy working our case. I described the driver of the car and the deputy told me this man works with teams of men watching women in their homes. We did it! Case solved! But after that phone call I never received another return call from that deputy and the perpetrators were never pursued. I got so discouraged that I just gave up.
I knew they hadn’t stopped watching and I knew that other women (including myself) were likely still being silently observed and violated. But I had nowhere to go with it. Police were not concerned and honestly were quite dismissive and the neighbor’s were all aware so I figured I had done the best that I could.
I still see this car on occasion when I’m out running and immediately my stomach sinks. It’s the worst feeling to still have that fear.
We moved out of that house about 6 months after that incident but still owned it because I honestly loved that home and wanted to get old and die in that home but it never felt the same knowing that my private moments were not actually my own. I never knew when and if I was being watched. Clearly it had been happening long enough for the guy to feel comfortable enough to scale my block wall and get in between the small space of my bushes and master bedroom window. He had been doing this awhile.
|This is the street I was walking when I saw the man in the car|
Yesterday I am driving by the neighborhood (which is only a mile from my current house) and there were scores of police units and crime unit vehicles on our old street. I immediately called a friend who lives across the street and she informed me that 3 little girls ages 6,8,10 were visiting their grandparents (who are extremely friendly, good neighbors) when a young man in his 20s (which is the age my perp would be) broke in to their house and sexually assaulted all three girls. She let me know that the police were interested in talking with me and would likely be calling soon. I seriously hung up the phone and fell on the ground in painful tears. I started vomiting. I felt scared out of my mind that this happened because they never pursued my case or the other woman’s case. In fact, the female deputy that visited me yesterday was shocked that she had never heard of these previous reports. So I have spent the last 24 hours reliving incidents I have wanted to move on from. I have been interviewed by police. I have submitted everything I know including pictures, deputy names, and documents. But it doesn’t feel like enough.
Last night they released a composite sketch of the intruder and while I don’t fully recognize him (he definitely is not the man who was in the window) there is such an eery familiarity to him that is haunting me. His eyes and his mouth have this same smirky, arrogance that I felt when I looked in the eyes of the man driving that white sedan. And no matter how much the media and PD are saying this is random I can’t buy in to that. One paper stated that my ‘case was closed’ but oddly today that sentence is missing from the article. Odd? There are multiple reports stating that this neighborhood has not received any concerning reports prior to this incident. Those statements bother me! How can they say that?
Truth is this neighborhood should be a safe neighborhood. Truth is someone(s) has been violating women for quite some time in this neighborhood. Truth is they were viewed as non-threatening incidents. Nothing more than observers of people’s private moments. Truth is this is some scary shit we are dealing with. Truth is this guy knew the neighborhood and knew exactly what he was doing. Truth is these girls had not been at the house very long (they don’t live there) so he was watching and he knew what he wanted. Truth is police better be paying attention now.
Truth is that everything in my being questions how this man is not related to the other incidents in the same little tiny neighborhood. Can it really be random? I don’t think so.
Truth is I feel helpless. I feel guilty. I feel angry. I feel skeptical. I feel fearful and I feel sick.
My hope is that this didn’t happen because police saw my complaints and other complaints as harmless. My hope is that dismissing the information we had given them two years ago did not allow for this man to escalate to invasion and sexual assault of three young girls!
My hope is that somehow this is completely random.
My hope is that this bastard is caught and all answers are provided.
Until then I’m quite distracted and quite saddened.
When things begin to settle I’ll get back to the big blogs. Until then it’ll just be little blurbs like this one.
Be safe and be aware.