I was in my 30s, a single mother of a seven-year-old son, when recommended to a similar-age widower with a son, five, and daughter, nine-months.
He used to live in a trailer. After we bought a house he was violent to me and my son, who was removed from us by the authorities.
My son was returned, my now-ex was violent again, so he ran far away to his father.
I moved out, and another woman moved in with him. He broke into my apartment and took all my good things. I didn't call police because I feared for my life.
I hired a lawyer. After six years I got a fraction of what the house was worth.
I could only purchase a one-bedroom apartment with a mortgage. My sister reported that my ex bought a suburban house and a work shop from the house money, then lost much of it. He moved overseas.
Now, after 23 years, someone keeps contacting me asking where he is. I don't know and wish I’d never met him.
I wrote so many letters asking who’s harassing me, whether it’s my last work-place or my ex, but no answers.
Meantime, I got cancer (hysterectomy) and suffered a heart attack. I’ve called private investigators and they don't work with these kinds of cases. The police can’t help me. I joined women’s activist groups. No luck yet.
My blood pressure’s always high and I need medication to help me sleep.
What can I do to stop the haters who are harming me?
Harassed and Stressed
You’ve faced some extreme pressures over the years, and they’ve taken a toll on your health.
Fortunately, you’ve had the strength of mind to know when to leave, cut your losses, find work and accommodation, get medical attention and seek support from various sources.
Though your finances are limited, your lawyer may be able, for a minimal fee, to send a warning letter to whomever you suspect is harassing you, IF the source can be traced.
Readers of this column may know of investigative methods to recommend.
Staying connected to your sister, any other close people, and being involved with women’s groups are all supports that can help you through this difficult period.
Meanwhile, if you cannot find the source and ignore all communication (unless it is threatening), the harassment may cease.
BUT, if threats are clear or implied, return to the police to check out anyone you suspect, e.g. including someone from your former workplace since you mentioned it as a possible source.
FEEDBACK More responses regarding the ill woman who isn’t helped by husband/kids with a dog that requires lots of exercise (August 30):
Reader #1 – “Maybe something a bit more equitable would be to suggest the kids (10 and 12) should take the dog for a run in the morning and right after school.
“The husband should make this request of the kids, as what they must contribute for the dog to stay in the family.”
Reader #2 – “It seems the dog would be better off in another home, since neither adult sounds emotionally invested in the dog.
“If they're not financially able to hire dog-walkers or dog daycare, a reputable breeder will usually take back his or her dogs.
“If the breeder refuses, they should put the dog through a reputable dog rescue, one that does home inspections and ensures the best possible match for the dog.”
Reader #3 – “Did this family do any research regarding the dog breed they got regarding its, temperament, behaviour with other dogs or people? Is it a large breed? Does it pull on its leash making exercise a struggle?
“As a Registered Veterinary Technician, I see this issue often. Depending on the breed (large dogs with these energy needs) there aren’t easily available homes or day-care arrangements for this dog.
“Most people already have all the pets they can handle, or they have allergies, or grandchildren who aren't good with dogs, etc.
“It’s not the dog's fault that this family has lost interest in its care. Everyone’s responsible. Who has time to exercise a dog for two and a half hours a day? Does it really need this much exercise? Most can do with less or play with Kong toys, etc.
“There are other strategies they can look into. There are also bona fide canine behaviourists who can help.”
Tip of the day:
Anyone harassed/threatened should alert police of potential sources. If workplace is involved, contact your former employer/ union or labour department.