After the Obsession: Amy Neises

posted: 02/19/14
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Amy Neises

How has your life changed since your experience?

My stalker's arrest and my gaining a stalking order against her should given me closure. But it didn't. Instead, I had to deal with the awfulness of realizing someone tried to destroy me simply because I lived too close to her.

It motivated me to build something out of the destruction. So, I started blogging about the experience on Stalked Blog: A Survivors Tale. My intent is to provide a resource for stalking victims. As well, to help educate people who are in positions to help victims.

Why did you decide to tell your story?

I want to contribute to raising awareness about the crime. Stalking is hard to identify and combat. There isn't much information for identifying the signs: most of the signs are subtle and can be easily ignored.

As well, there is little information about the different forms of stalking. After my stalker's arrest, I learned that the stalking I experienced--from one neighbor to another--was actually common. Having that piece of information earlier would have helped me immensely as I frantically tried to get help. So, in light of that, by sharing my story, my hope is someone in a similar situation will find a reference point for getting help.

Are there any organizations that helped you after/during your experience?

I am grateful for the police officer who identified that I was being stalked, and helped me through the process of getting my stalker arrested.

My county also has an excellent victims' support program. Being assigned a caseworker to guide me through the complicated, confusing legal system alleviated so many burdens.

What did you learn that you would like to pass along?

Stalking is a hard crime to identify. Your first indicators that something very bad is happening can also easily be written off as misunderstandings. You're not crazy. Trust your instincts.

Document everything that's off-kilter and that causes you alarm ... even if you think you're being ridiculous. Be sure to include a date and time. (There is now a smartphone app, called Stop a Stalker, that aids you with recording this information.) After a while, little random instances start falling into patterns. You need this history, to prove that something horrible is happening to you.

Above all, choose your friends and allies carefully: being stalked is such a mind-bending ordeal, that you need a strong support network that isn't contributing to the pain.

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