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Getting a restraining order...

DrezDrez Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I know these kinds of threads have popped up before so I'm looking for some information and advice.

Long story short: A female friend of mine met someone via online dating service. She liked him and gave him her phone number and email number. Before they could even meet in person, he started getting clingy and she got a bad vibe and decided not to meet him. His clingy-ness has grown over the last six weeks to full out obsessiveness. Two or three weeks ago she told me the story. At this point he was (a) texting my friend two or three times a day with stuff that seemed the product of bipolar obsessiveness, (b) emailing my friend four or five times a day in the same manner, (c) pretending to be a female ex-girlfriend of his and emailing my friend as this fictitious girl (though we have no proof of this it's pretty obvious).

I advised her to not respond to him at all. I assessed that any attention would feed his obsessiveness. His emails were of the bargaining kind; He sent one saying "do you have a boyfriend? If you just tell me, I swear I'll leave you alone for good." Yeah, right.

Since then she has mostly followed this advice and he has gotten exponentially worse, going so far as to hack her Facebook page, find the phone number and emails of several of her friends, and email and text them blatant lies about her. He called her ex-boyfriend, in fact, somehow finding his phone number. She doesn't even know how the guy managed this.

It's at the point where she can't take it. I thought he was crazy a couple of weeks ago. This guy is a real lunatic.

He has not, however, threatened violence. And I've bolded that because it is a key factor, I think.

She went to the police twice now. She has no way of proving all these emails are from him because he keeps making new ones to send emails from and keeps pretending to be this non-existent girl. They turn her away each time because he "hasn't threatened violence so there is nothing [they] can do."

Is this true? I know from personal experience that the police will lie to avoid having to do paperwork. Is there some way she can press the police to do something, whether that be to obtain a restraining order or at least warn the guy? He is clearly harassing her, which I think any rudimentary investigation will substantiate.

It's getting to the point where she wants to change her phone number. And move. Because this guy is fucking creepy.

Also, if it is relevant, his obsessive text messaging costs her money as receiving texts costs as much as sending them.


So:


1) Is my advice wrong? I still maintain that she should not respond to him at all. She did tell him that she called the police, but that hasn't deterred him at all.

2) Is there any way for her to get a restraining order, or to get the police to take some kind of action here?

3) If not, what can she do?


Thanks.

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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    It depends on where she lives and the nature of their prior relationship. The laws on getting a restraining order differ from state to state.

    Her best bet is to contact a local resource for abused women. And by "local" I mean "in her county of residence." They can usually help and/or referrals to somebody who can provide help filing a restraining order.

    And, yes, forget the police. Municipal police are no help getting a restraining order or protection order. In the weird chance that she can't find a battered women's resource to help her, the next best thing is to head down to the county court and talk to a court clerk.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    you should have her check with her cell company. There may be a way she can have them block his number from texts or calls or something.

    Other than that, I dont really have more advice for the larger issue at hand....

    lizard eats flies on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    It depends on where she lives and the nature of their prior relationship. The laws on getting a restraining order differ from state to state.

    Her best bet is to contact a local resource for abused women. And by "local" I mean "in her county of residence." They can usually help and/or referrals to somebody who can provide help filing a restraining order.

    And, yes, forget the police. Municipal police are no help getting a restraining order or protection order. In the weird chance that she can't find a battered women's resource to help her, the next best thing is to head down to the county court and talk to a court clerk.

    Would this mark her in any way, shape, or form? I mean going to a battered woman's shelter? I'm assuming not, but I just don't want to willy-nilly suggest something that will somehow put her on a list of abused persons or something.

    Drez on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Drez wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    It depends on where she lives and the nature of their prior relationship. The laws on getting a restraining order differ from state to state.

    Her best bet is to contact a local resource for abused women. And by "local" I mean "in her county of residence." They can usually help and/or referrals to somebody who can provide help filing a restraining order.

    And, yes, forget the police. Municipal police are no help getting a restraining order or protection order. In the weird chance that she can't find a battered women's resource to help her, the next best thing is to head down to the county court and talk to a court clerk.

    Would this mark her in any way, shape, or form? I mean going to a battered woman's shelter? I'm assuming not, but I just don't want to willy-nilly suggest something that will somehow put her on a list of abused persons or something.

    well, first off, she shouldn't need to just drop in at a shelter. By "resources" I don't mean just shelters, there are also hotlines that can provide free legal counsel.

    And, no, this isn't going to put her on a list or mark her or anything like that.

    That said, if he's not threatening her, it is usually harder to get a restraining order, but not impossible. It does depend on state law though.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    For instance, a search on "New York abused women" (based on your location, I don't know if she lives near you or not) takes me to a non-profit called Safe Horizons that has an anti-stalker hotline: http://www.safehorizon.org/page.php?nav=sb&page=whatdoifstalked

    A similar Google search in her county of residence should provide similar results. And as I said, if that fails, she should talk to a county court clerk.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    For instance, a search on "New York abused women" (based on your location, I don't know if she lives near you or not) takes me to a non-profit called Safe Horizons that has an anti-stalker hotline: http://www.safehorizon.org/page.php?nav=sb&page=whatdoifstalked

    A similar Google search in her county of residence should provide similar results. And as I said, if that fails, she should talk to a county court clerk.

    Wow, that is perfect. That's exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you.

    Drez on
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    chuck steakchuck steak Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Does this guy know where she lives or works or anything like that? If he only has her e-mail and phone number I would either change her number or get her cell company to block the guy. And then block his emails and ignore anything that looks like it could be him pretending to be somebody else, or get a new email address.

    If he can contact her in person, then I would be a little worried and try and get the restraining order.

    chuck steak on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I just spoke to her about this. She never gave him the address but there's no way a little digging or money couldn't get it for him. He has her last name and all that.

    Drez on
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    ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Drez wrote: »
    I just spoke to her about this. She never gave him the address but there's no way a little digging or money couldn't get it for him. He has her last name and all that.

    She should be careful. If you have someone's first and last name as well as their city/state, you can get their address extremely easy through public websites online. This happened to a friend of mine a few years ago; I never knew anyone could get that much detailed information until then.

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 2008
    First thing is really first: She needs to have his number blocked. Every new email address? Block it. Texts? Block 'em. Instant messengers? Same deal. It's step one.

    ceres on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I would call police non-emergency and explain the situation. They will at least be able to tell you about restraining orders, and might even be willing to pay the dude a visit.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    TrillianTrillian Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Blocking wouldn't be the best answer; it'd keep her from getting more information about the guy and might drive him to show up at her home or work. Keep a log of every message sent, like the site said, but don't respond. She should probably *gasp* delete her Facebook, Myspace and any other site that could possibly contain accessible personal information. If he's not written down the phone numbers of everyone on her Facebook then there's no way he could get them again if it's deleted. She could get her phone number and address unlisted from the white pages and taken off the online directory as well, which might help if he's not been there yet, but he probably has.

    Trillian on

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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Also, maybe she should document this to the online dating service for future victims.

    1ddqd on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    ceres wrote: »
    First thing is really first: She needs to have his number blocked. Every new email address? Block it. Texts? Block 'em. Instant messengers? Same deal. It's step one.

    I spoke to her about this and disagree for one reason: everything he sends is evidence, isn't it?

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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I would call police non-emergency and explain the situation. They will at least be able to tell you about restraining orders, and might even be willing to pay the dude a visit.

    Thanks, but read my OP again...she did this, twice, and claimed they couldn't do anything because he hasn't threatened violence.

    :(

    Drez on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Trillian wrote: »
    Blocking wouldn't be the best answer; it'd keep her from getting more information about the guy and might drive him to show up at her home or work. Keep a log of every message sent, like the site said, but don't respond. She should probably *gasp* delete her Facebook, Myspace and any other site that could possibly contain accessible personal information. If he's not written down the phone numbers of everyone on her Facebook then there's no way he could get them again if it's deleted. She could get her phone number and address unlisted from the white pages and taken off the online directory as well, which might help if he's not been there yet, but he probably has.

    She actually did that, but she resents having to do that, and I agree with her. Why should she have to feel trapped? Yes, that's certainly a temporary solution, but that she felt the need to delete her Facebook at all is a symptom not a cure. But I agree with you, I'm not arguing with you, I'm just frustrated on her behalf.

    Drez on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    1ddqd wrote: »
    Also, maybe she should document this to the online dating service for future victims.

    This. And more:

    Have her write down the times and dates and media of any communications she thinks are from him.

    If you confront this guy, he's going to act extremely bewildered or tell a totally different story so you need to be prepared to dig. You don't need to dig yet, but you need to be prepared to dig.

    JohnnyCache on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm sorry if I didn't read close enough, but has she really spelled out to this person that she wants nothing to do with him? I mean really say "look dude, your nuts and I don't want you to call me again ever (maybe a better choice of words)."

    I'm no police officer but if she did say something to the effect of the above then that would constitute harassment would it not?

    brandotheninjamaster on
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    .kbf?.kbf? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    For God's sake get her to take all of her personal info off her myspace page! This includes any pictures of her residence.

    I've never used facebook so I don't know if this is possible but can the page be set to private so only friends can view it? If so that might a good thing to do for the time being.

    The last thing you need is this guy actually showing up in person.

    .kbf? on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    a) Yes, she has told him in clear terms that she (a) wants nothing to do with him and (b) he should leave her alone.

    b) Yeah, she took down all that stuff.

    Drez on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Drez wrote: »
    a) Yes, she has told him in clear terms that she (a) wants nothing to do with him and (b) he should leave her alone.

    b) Yeah, she took down all that stuff.

    I think she is going to have wind up playing the waiting game until this blows over. If its any consolation when my wife's ex (guy who has literally tried to kill her in the past) "surprised" her and I at work one night and brought his friend to try to beat me up. We still weren't granted one.

    The waiting game sucks, but this guy has eventually lose interest.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I would call police non-emergency and explain the situation. They will at least be able to tell you about restraining orders, and might even be willing to pay the dude a visit.

    Actually, they probably won't.

    Municipal police departments are notoriously unhelpful when it comes to getting a restraining order or stopping harassment. They'll help enforce a restraining order once issued, but if you don't have one yet they're just going to shrug their shoulders and say "civil matter!"

    County sheriffs will sometimes help, but that's pretty rare.

    As I mentioned above, the sequence is basically: abused women's resource -> county court clerk. If neither of those work, lawyer up.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well, you could flip this around on him couldn't you?

    I'm sure i'll catch some flack for suggesting this, but I am confident it would work.
    Use whatever info she has on him, get his phone number, email, home address, work place and write it all out on a piece of paper.

    Arrange a meet up with him.

    All of your friends, like 10+ people show up (preferably all guys) Except the girl he is interested in. You show him a photocopy of his info on paper and tell him to stop harassing your friend.

    You don't threaten him, he'll get the message simply from your combined physical presence.

    Dman on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Dman wrote: »
    Well, you could flip this around on him couldn't you?

    I'm sure i'll catch some flack for suggesting this, but I am confident it would work.
    Use whatever info she has on him, get his phone number, email, home address, work place and write it all out on a piece of paper.

    Arrange a meet up with him.

    All of your friends, like 10+ people show up (preferably all guys) Except the girl he is interested in. You show him a photocopy of his info on paper and tell him to stop harassing your friend.

    You don't threaten him, he'll get the message simply from your combined physical presence.

    ...You are serious aren't you...

    This is wrong for the following reasons:
    1. Should this ever go beyond harassment, he now has ammo to throw at her (legally).

    2. The lady wants nothing to do with him, by obtaining all his information this guy in current mental state could construe this as interest and stalk her even more.

    3. Its juvenile, and this guy isn't going to "get the message" by a combined group of male friends showing up for what he thinks is a date. She told him she doesn't want to see him; plain as that and this guy still doesn't understand. Also the potential backlash could make crazy guy become violent.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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    SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    You could try contacting the Abuse department for the cell phone company. Harrassment via telephone use is a crime, and can be followed up on. Nothing says 'fuck off' like a friendly chat with a police officer.

    Sarcastro on
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    GirlPantsGirlPants Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    In my opinion this guy just needs a little help realizing that it's not going to happen. If you or she has a male friend or two of the intimidating type, it might be wise to have them pay a visit to this guy. I'm not saying to do anything illegal or to hurt him. But maybe have them call him or go to his house and let him know that if he continues to harass her that he will have to deal with this male figure.

    I know in the past I have had to play the pretend boyfriend for some female friends. I've simply answered her phone when the obsessive ex was calling and let him know that there was someone new in her life that didn't appreciate him calling. Along the lines of "This is 'Girl' new boyfriend, please don't call here anymore."

    GirlPants on
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    stawkstawk Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    GirlPants wrote: »
    In my opinion this guy just needs a little help realizing that it's not going to happen. If you or she has a male friend or two of the intimidating type, it might be wise to have them pay a visit to this guy. I'm not saying to do anything illegal or to hurt him. But maybe have them call him or go to his house and let him know that if he continues to harass her that he will have to deal with this male figure.

    I know in the past I have had to play the pretend boyfriend for some female friends. I've simply answered her phone when the obsessive ex was calling and let him know that there was someone new in her life that didn't appreciate him calling. Along the lines of "This is 'Girl' new boyfriend, please don't call here anymore."

    terrible idea...

    stawk on

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    chaosisorderchaosisorder Cupcake Princess and Pinny Whore OregonRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    A restraining order is more difficult for police to file without an overt act, but she should be able to file a form with the clerk of court requesting an 'Order of Protection.' She falls under the definitions (previous relationship (dating) and harassment or stalking.) A judge can order a temporary one while you wait for a hearing to get a long term one put in place, but the process was actually very easy in Florida (I had an ex once get all kinds of crazy as well.)

    A victim's advocate at a shelter should be able to help out and I'd still make that my first step- they've got the experience.

    chaosisorder on
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    GirlPantsGirlPants Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    stawk wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    In my opinion this guy just needs a little help realizing that it's not going to happen. If you or she has a male friend or two of the intimidating type, it might be wise to have them pay a visit to this guy. I'm not saying to do anything illegal or to hurt him. But maybe have them call him or go to his house and let him know that if he continues to harass her that he will have to deal with this male figure.

    I know in the past I have had to play the pretend boyfriend for some female friends. I've simply answered her phone when the obsessive ex was calling and let him know that there was someone new in her life that didn't appreciate him calling. Along the lines of "This is 'Girl' new boyfriend, please don't call here anymore."

    terrible idea...

    Why is this terrible exactly?

    GirlPants on
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    .kbf?.kbf? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    GirlPants wrote: »
    stawk wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    In my opinion this guy just needs a little help realizing that it's not going to happen. If you or she has a male friend or two of the intimidating type, it might be wise to have them pay a visit to this guy. I'm not saying to do anything illegal or to hurt him. But maybe have them call him or go to his house and let him know that if he continues to harass her that he will have to deal with this male figure.

    I know in the past I have had to play the pretend boyfriend for some female friends. I've simply answered her phone when the obsessive ex was calling and let him know that there was someone new in her life that didn't appreciate him calling. Along the lines of "This is 'Girl' new boyfriend, please don't call here anymore."

    terrible idea...

    Why is this terrible exactly?

    If he's the "jealous" type...

    .kbf? on
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    GirlPantsGirlPants Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    .kbf? wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    stawk wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    In my opinion this guy just needs a little help realizing that it's not going to happen. If you or she has a male friend or two of the intimidating type, it might be wise to have them pay a visit to this guy. I'm not saying to do anything illegal or to hurt him. But maybe have them call him or go to his house and let him know that if he continues to harass her that he will have to deal with this male figure.

    I know in the past I have had to play the pretend boyfriend for some female friends. I've simply answered her phone when the obsessive ex was calling and let him know that there was someone new in her life that didn't appreciate him calling. Along the lines of "This is 'Girl' new boyfriend, please don't call here anymore."

    terrible idea...

    Why is this terrible exactly?

    If he's the "jealous" type...

    Basically all I'm saying is that if she has a guy friend, a brother, or friend, whatever, get them to call the guy and ask him to stop harassing her. I know if I was creepily harassing some chick a call from her very serious brother telling me to stop calling or emailing would definitely put a damper on things.

    GirlPants on
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    Drew_9999Drew_9999 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    GirlPants wrote: »
    .kbf? wrote: »
    I know if I was creepily harassing some chick a call from her very serious brother telling me to stop calling or emailing would definitely put a damper on things.

    That's because you don't have mental problems.

    Drew_9999 on
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    KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Drew_9999 wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    .kbf? wrote: »
    I know if I was creepily harassing some chick a call from her very serious brother telling me to stop calling or emailing would definitely put a damper on things.

    That's because you don't have mental problems.

    Seriously, this guy could have any number of weapons. It's easy to feel strong against a creep like this, but he seems like the exact type of person to pull a knife or some shit.

    Kenninator on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    GirlPants wrote: »
    Basically all I'm saying is that if she has a guy friend, a brother, or friend, whatever, get them to call the guy and ask him to stop harassing her. I know if I was creepily harassing some chick a call from her very serious brother telling me to stop calling or emailing would definitely put a damper on things.

    Or maybe he interprets it as the men in her life are possessive and domineering and what she really needs is a nice guy like him to come save her from them.

    There's only one way to handle a stalker. Tell them clearly, firmly, and unmistakably do not contact me or come near me ever again, I want to have nothing to do with you (which it sounds like she has done) and if the contact continues, seek legal assistance.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Or maybe he interprets it as the men in her life are possessive and domineering and what she really needs is a nice guy like him to come save her from them.

    Or he interprets having a couple big burley men come to have a chat with him as a threat and goes to the police first. If the law has to get involved, you want the situation to be as clear cut as possible.

    Hevach on
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    kingmetalkingmetal Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    Basically all I'm saying is that if she has a guy friend, a brother, or friend, whatever, get them to call the guy and ask him to stop harassing her. I know if I was creepily harassing some chick a call from her very serious brother telling me to stop calling or emailing would definitely put a damper on things.

    Or maybe he interprets it as the men in her life are possessive and domineering and what she really needs is a nice guy like him to come save her from them.

    There's only one way to handle a stalker. Tell them clearly, firmly, and unmistakably do not contact me or come near me ever again, I want to have nothing to do with you (which it sounds like she has done) and if the contact continues, seek legal assistance.

    This is such excellent advice!

    Being a fairly confrontational person I can tell you from experience that direct intervention in creepy-guy situations will only occasionally be successful with dealing with creeps at bars - and even then it's an epically stupid idea. The very real possibility of something going wrong in the worst of ways should not be underestimated and far outweighs the chance for success. Like they taught you in grade-school: use your words, then go get an adult.

    kingmetal on
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