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I Survived a Stalker

And Cyberstalking Too

When I was around 28, I was a heavy Twitter user. I'd log on every day and have long sessions of reading the timeline and interacting with 3k+ followers about any and everything. I was able to meet some very interesting people, some of whom I still communicate with today.

In summer of 2015, I met a guy on the social site. After weeks of retweeting and liking my tweets, he finally decided to "mention" me on the timeline in regard to something (who knows what) I was rambling about at the time. From that moment, we clicked and started to communicate more frequently and sometimes in private messages. He told me that his name was "Eric" and that he was about 10 years my senior. This was fine for me. I considered the fact that a more mature man would probably be a better match. After a few more weeks, I finally decided to meet Eric for lunch at a local restaurant. The date went wonderfully and we began to hang out even more.

About a year into what had now become a relationship between us, he proposed. Three months after that we eloped. Obviously the wedding wasn't anything major, just a short visit to the courthouse. It wasn't the wedding of my dreams but I figured I was already fortunate to marry what seemed to be a very good man. He was always very nice and considerate of me, helped me with whatever I needed, and my mother liked him a lot.

Eric and I had exchanged passwords a short time after we got engaged—because we had nothing to hide. Later I would find that it was only me who had nothing to hide. A month into the marriage, I began to see strange messages in my Twitter inbox. I saw messages from several men asking why I didn't answer the phone, where I went, and if I would send more pictures. I responded to the most recent message and asked the sender what they were talking about. They then sent me a screenshot of a full conversation from my Twitter account between the two of us. This conversation was full of sexual comments and personal pictures of me. Horrified, I immediately apologized and explained that it was not me that this stranger had been interacting with. I was at work that night so after reading through more messages, I called my "husband" and asked him to explain what was going on. I'll never forget how cold and emotionless the tone of his voice was when he answered me. "I thought you were cheating on me and I wanted to make sure." Angered by such a ridiculous excuse, I asked him to leave my house immediately and told him we would have to re-evaluate the status of our marriage.

An hour later I received a call from a close friend of mine. Apparently Eric took it upon himself to log into my Twitter and Facebook and post personal photos of me for all of my colleagues and my family to see. I was so distraught I had to leave work. When I got home, Eric was nowhere to be found and he stayed away from me without contact for a week. Seven days later, he began calling me nonstop, apologizing and begging for another chance. I was so disgusted at this point I had decided I wanted a separation and eventually a divorce.

The calls got worse, and Eric became angry.

Suddenly I was receiving threats of physical harm and blackmail. I no longer recognized the man that I married. This person was calculated, dark, and evil. After the last death rant, I decided to change my number. I also filed a restraining order and alerted family and friends to what was going on.

After two days of peace, Eric showed up at my favorite nail salon while I was being serviced. He stood beside me the whole time I received my manicure only to follow me once I was finished and leaving the shop. When I refused to acknowledge him and got in my car, he tried to pull me out and snatch my keys. I was somehow able to overpower him and push him away so I could drive off.

Several instances like this kept happening and every time I would call the police, Eric would be long gone. All I had for protection was a flimsy piece of paper that basically said to stay away.        

Eric was sent to prison shortly after that for kidnapping another lady and soliciting a prostitute. I truly did not know who my husband was. Today, I am stronger, wiser, and single. I am very cautious about meeting new people online and in the world. People are not always who they seem to be. Let this be a cautionary tale about online dating and moving too fast. One day I will remarry, the right way. Until then, no more Twitter and no hooking up on apps!

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