Survivors

After the Obsession: Collette Dwyer

posted: 03/11/14
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Collette Dwyer
DCI

How has your life changed since your experience?

Since everything has happened, my life has changed drastically. I am not the happy-go-lucky person I once was. I used to believe that treating others the way I wanted to be treated would solve a lot of problems. Through this experience, I learned that not everything is as it seems and niceness can be mistaken for romantic feelings, etc. I became defensive against dominant men, which affected my job and everyday encounters. I began to put on weight and eventually became obese because, subconsciously, I believed it would prevent me from getting unwanted attention. I've become a very secluded person and have lost a lot of trust in people and society.

Why did you decide to tell your story?

I decided to tell my story because I believe it is what God has called me to do. I want to let people know that no matter what happens to you, if you lose faith in man, God is always there to help you through it. I want people to believe in themselves and trust their instincts (God's way of speaking to you) even when no one else does. I would like people to learn from my story and to realize that we can blame man for bad situations in life, but the real reason bad things happen to us are so we can use them as stepping stones to build our relationship and faith in God and learn not to rely on or blame man for our problems. This helped me in my search for answers, and I want to share the story and how I learned from it to give others a different perspective of their own trials and tribulations in life. The main lesson I learned that I want to share is to help people realize that situations in life are not tragedies, but life lessons in building your faith with God or a higher power.

Any big life events you'd like to tell us about?

Since everything has occurred, I have gotten married to a wonderful man who believed in me through everything. My two children, who were also involved in the incident, have grown up happy with no repercussions and strong faith, which I am very thankful for. I adopted twins who challenge me every day and keep me on my toes. Lastly, I am still searching for ways to use my experiences to help others cope with their own problems each and every day.

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

There were no organizations that helped me during/after the events that occurred. I believe this to be the case because what happened to me wasn't viewed as tragically as the deaths that occurred were viewed. I feel that because I survived, people judged me, and didn't take my story seriously. I guess they thought since I survived I shouldn't need the help that others did. Every organization was more interested in using the survivors for help in getting justice for those who were killed, but didn't want to offer the survivors any help themselves.

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

If someone were going through a similar situation as to what I went through, I would tell him/her to speak up until someone listens. Doing this, and know that that person did everything in his/her power to help will, in turn, reduce any survivors guilt he/she may have in the end. I would also tell him/her to not let anyone make him/her feel any less important than the deceased.

What are your plans and hopes for the future?

My plans and hopes for the future are that my story will help those in a similar situation in coping with what happened to him/her. I also hope that organizations have learned to treat every person, living or deceased, involved in a stalking/serial killing case as equals and know that the trauma endured is the same for all persons involved.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Lastly, I would like to see future occurrences be taken more seriously than mine and for every victim's story to not be judged based on race, sex, or social status. I would like to see every victim being heard and treated as equals. Since I had major issues with reward money, I would like to know that in the future it will not be used as a ploy to get victims to speak out, and then have them not be rewarded for it. Instead, I would like to see it given to victims as an incentive for speaking out so that their story is heard, for being brave in a tough situation, and to help them move on with their lives. I hate to see reward money being promised under false pretenses and then have the media/organizations make the victims look like the perpetrator when they are using it as a means to be heard and to prevent them from being denied a voice. I would also like to see reward money being used to change laws pertaining to stalking and serial killing cases. Money won't bring back lives, ease the trauma a victim goes through, or prevent the victim from being judged by society; however, it can make moving on easier for the victims and families of the victims involved in horrific crimes.

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