Stalking Awareness Week w/c 25 April 2022

Philippa Fleming sitting in a Wheelchair in her back garden

I was 10 years old when i first knew what stalking was although i didn’t know it was called stalking at the time. I had a boy of 18 sexually assult me after befriending me. After this happened he started following me around. I told him in no uncertain terms to leave me alone and he did. But i had another incident happen to me that made me forget that this assult had even taken place. So as far as I was concerned the first time I was stalked was when I was aged 21 around christmas 1991.

I was working not as a waitress in a cocktail bar but as a bar person in a community pub. I had already been working here for about 18 months and a new bar person started as the assistant manager. He had his sights on me before I even knew he existed or had a job at the pub i was working at.

I got a phone call out of the blue one day to ask me out on a date. Which i responded with a no. All my friends had been taken in by whatever behaviour this person was showing to them and they were saying to me oh he’s great you should go out with him. I decided to give it a go and he took me to a footbal club christmas do where we ended up at a club afterwards. Things at the club were getting very uncomfortable so i decided to get a taxi home. He jumped in beside me and tried to get the taxi driver to drop us of at Mowsbury Park in Bedford but i insisted that the driver take me to the address i had provided. Luckily the taxi driver followed my instructions to take me home. But i am convinced that if he hadn’t i would have been raped that evening.

I can’t remember if it was christmas eve that i was working but we had been scheduled to work together for one evening. This person kept inappropriately brushing up against me pretending that there was not enough room to pass without squashing me against the beer pumps. Now it was a narrow bar but up until this point i had worked comfortabley with both men and women behind this bar without having to touch anyone and certainly not without saying excuse me. But this person obviously felt entitled to do whatever he liked. He would put his hands on my hips and brush his intimate parts up against me from behind. I felt physically sick during the whole shift but felt there was nothing i could do.

After this particular shift I handed in my notice but was still socialing at this venue as I lived a couple of streets away from the pub so only took me a couple of minutes to get home. However, due to this persons behaviour i had to get someone to walk me home and if i didn’t have anyone to do that I would run so it only took me 30 seconds to get home. Of course i should never of had to do that at all. I also felt that i shouldn’t let him drive me out of the pub completely as it was like a second home to me at the time and all my friends drank there.

I think it was about February 1992 I was invited to a friends house warming party but so was he. It was a couple of nights after this party and I was just getting to know another guy and we were both interested in wach other. I went off to the bathroom came back and this guy told me that the stalker had called me a slag because he had noticed me and this other guy getting friendly. I had also heard that he was upsetting other people (my friends) & they really didn’t like him. So i decided to go and have a word with the manager of the pub. I was told that this guy was stealing the large bottles of spirits from the stockd but the manager felt that he had no one to replace this person. I told the manager I had handed in my notice because of the behaviour of this person and if he got rid I would go back to work.

I wentback to work that very moment and he was sacked and barred from the pub.

Where to get help if you are being stalked?

Here is a paper from June 2000 about stalking from the national institute of health library.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust dedicated to training organisations about stalking and how to recognised it and support those who have been stalked.

UK government information on stalking Report a Stalker

UK Says No More – Stalking – is a website dedicated to many different forms of abuse.

Women’s Aid – Also has some information about stalking

The best advice i can give you is to trust yourself. Trust the way the perportrator makes you feel and document any activity, with dates, times and as much detail as possible even if you think it is insignificant. As always these types of behaviours are difficult to quantify and not everyone can read human behaviours. But the best tool that anyone can have is education. Educate yourself about all behaviours that way you have tools in your kit to help you not feel so distressed and helpless by other people’s unacceptable behaviours who often have no boundaries.

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