Every Saturday for more than three months like clock work at some point the phone would ring. The person on the other end was calling for me. It was a voice I didn’t know, but one that some how knew me or was told about me. It was my tenth grade year of high school and I was dating a senior who I had been introduced to through my best friends. This person who would call knew who I was dating, he said his name. He knew a lot and it terrified me.
I felt frightened of this person, alone and scared of who they were, where they were and what their intentions toward me might have been. Each time the male would call I would plead with them to tell me who they were. I was only 15 years old, I didn’t know how best to handle such an ordeal. I only knew that I was being hounded by a person who sounded much older than me and whose intentions were clearly not pure.
I begged the person to tell me who they were, because I was scared. I didn’t know if this was serious at first or a prank. The male on the other end of the line would tell me to come to Haysi if I wanted to know who they were. Each time I would tell them I would not do that. They would talk about the way I looked and how my boyfriend must really like certain parts of my body. I hung up on them time and time again. I told them NOT to call back. I was growing increasingly frightened with each call.
I felt I had no one to turn to inside my home to help me. It was just me and Mamaw and she really didn’t have a clue or care about what was going on with me as a person, so I knew I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t go to her as a child when I was being tormented by an individual who was allowed freely into our home, so why should I try now? I was so terribly alone. At some point I found a number in the phone book that could be dialed as soon as an unwanted caller phoned. It would send the number to law enforcement. It was just a matter of dialing the number fast enough.
We didn’t have push button phones in the house at Papaw and Mamaw’s. We only had the older rotary style phones. I knew my time was limited for reporting these obscene and harassing calls after I hung up on the guy calling.
With trembling hands, as soon as I would answer with “hello” then hear the familiar, yet unknown voice on the other end I would immediately hang up. I felt as though I would vomit and at times pass out, as I felt light headed and dizzy with fear. After a month of the calls I knew I had to find help! It took two of the three months of the nuisance calls for them to stop. Each time I would hang up then use the old rotary phone to dial in the number to report it as quickly as my scared body would allow. Eventually the calls did cease.
Did they stop, because of my reporting or because I had mentioned this to a “friend.” You see I long had my suspicions as to who gave my number to this caller. I had a bully from 8th to 10th grade. She was cruel and dangerous, she tried to coax me into a fight more than once. If she saw me in the halls she would scream at me calling me a “whore,” or “slut.” She hated me I would learn, because I dated her ex-boyfriend for only a few months in 8th grade. I was forced to be around her as we had more than one class together, though she was a year older than me. Was it she who coerced this person to calling me?
These calls scared me so badly that I was terrified to be outside of my home, near the windows or to even sleep alone. I began having nightmares that would wake me in the middle of the night and I would run to get in bed with Mamaw, leaving all the bedroom lights on as I fled my room. I would bury myself as far underneath the covers as I could get and still be able to breathe, hiding away I hoped from the fear of a stalker. I didn’t know if this person calling knew where I lived and just how far they might go. I didn’t know if the girl that I suspected of putting him up to this would push him to harm me or if he would of his own fruition. I just didn’t know anything, but the fact that I was being harassed by an unknown male and I felt I couldn’t trust the girls around me made my anxiety far worse.
I was always accepting, I didn’t stand up for myself. I did refuse to fight this bully of a girl, but that didn’t stop her from tormenting me. She would corner me behind the bleachers at football games when I was in marching band. She would corner me by the girls locker room on the basement floor of the high school. She would eventually even turn friends against me. It was heartbreaking, all over a boy I didn’t know she even cared for. How was I to know? I was just entering 8th grade at the time, I didn’t know all the relationships that had gone on before my time at the high school. This girl harbored hate for me for years, even after high school and I believe still. I think if she could hurt me now she would.
It’s scary to know that of no fault of my own that there is a person out there that has wished me harm and pain, but was she behind this ordeal with the harassing calls? Was this person harassing me a true stalker? Were they watching me at home, at school, in places I felt safe?
My anxiety was through the roof. I had no one to turn to and I had no idea that I was having anxiety, I just knew the nightmares were increasing and my ability to sleep alone was almost non-existent. I would stay awake at night for hours, wishing I could sleep, listening to every creak in the floor or thump outside. I simply didn’t know if I was safe and that’s something I was already struggling with, but didn’t know it. I wouldn’t understand much of my inner turmoil until I went to therapy. Then the answers began to come and understanding.
Sadly, still to this day I wonder if that person who called me is still out there. If he knows I’m back home, if he would come after me. I just want to know who he was and why he did this. If he was put up to it to scare me that’s one thing, but if he was just out there, doing this of his own accord, well that’s another.
My personal fears are still there. This ordeal just added one more fear to my life that I’ve always had. Can you imagine over 25 years after this episode I still watch to see if someone is following my car too closely? I watch men in stores and if I see them too many times or they follow too nearby I dart away. I have left my purchases behind on shelves. I don’t like to sit with my back to the door in a restaurant. All of these fears because of the calls from this person. I don’t know how to release this, not without knowing the truth of who that person was and what was going on.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS FACING BULLYING IN SCHOOL, PLEASE REACH OUT TO FIND HELP. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO WILL BELIEVE YOU, I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE AND I AM HERE TO HELP, ALWAYS.
Stop Bullying Government Website: https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now