BOASTS OF A STALKER
Woman In Hiding
A True Tale of Backdoor Abuse, Dark Secrets & Other Evil Deeds
By Kathleen Hoy Foley
I stare into a handwritten epistle glutted with pleadings and professions of love. From a stranger. From, it feels like, the rapist himself. The rapist. This new stranger comes armed with distant, familiar assertions…In her words, I hear again his threats that promise me I will never get away.
She knows I did not mean it when I said no contact. When I get to know her, I will see how much I love her, how much she loves me…she announces I can come to live with her anytime I want. ...to prove her love for me, she tracked down my wedding portrait published in a newspaper. And in her ramblings, she insists I recently visited the drive-thru of a fast-food chain near her house…(and) chased me through streets I have never been on, hunting down my car, pursuing me like prey.
* * *
Catatonic. No other word fits…I have just returned from the post office, and I hold in my hands another letter from the…stalker. …I slowly open the envelope and pull out the letter. WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME? the stalker screeches in bold capital letters. I DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER.
It is him all over again, alive in the stalker’s DNA. I hear him in her noise. The threats. The demands. The entitlement. The refusal to listen to no. One day he was not in my life. The next day he was and refused to leave. It is all happening again.
I dash out a short, desperate note. No Contact. Honor what you have, not what you don’t have. Your children love you…
* * *
Not Kathy! Not Kathy! Phil says, telling me the response to what she—the second-generation predator—sent in a recent letter bragging about contacting all the relatives of mine she could find. “Not Kathy! Not Kathy”—the shocked outcry of an unidentified older relative—to whom she blithely spilled my secret. Her relatives, she boasts. They deserve to know me, and I deserve to know them.
…months since the original explosion. …it does not end. She continues contact—pleading, coy, angry—employing whatever emotions consume her…to once again crusade for her self-proclaimed entitlements. Each communication is an ambush…that drags with it a flashback. The smell. The filth. The sights. And I am exhausted from crying, from the fear of being pursued and trapped once again beneath the rapist…(fear) of this person who will not stop her cruelty, her brutal mission to incite my attention and flaunt my shame.
* * *
We engage an attorney who writes her a stern letter stating terms: stop all contact with the Foleys; cease contacting the relatives of Mrs. Foley. …she fires back with a pages-long, irate epistle of accusations and attacks. “I don’t know how to respond to this,” our attorney says of the jumble of howling, petulant tantrums. Grudgingly she agrees to stop contacting me—a promise she won’t keep—but furiously maintains she will find and contact every one of my relative she can…
* * *
A newspaper wants Phil and me to tell our story. …I compose the piece, revealing…—my own adoption, abuse, sexual assault that ended in pregnancy, and stalking by the adoptee. I ask for compassion for myself and for other women who are terrified of being exposed. I ask that mutual consent for contact be required.
I am unprepared for the backlash. Instantaneous and lethal. She, the second-generation predator, has read the article and launches her attack. “Mrs. Foley is a liar,” she states, bragging that she is the one who knows the truth. “Mrs. Foley is imprisoned by her husband,” she claims, “and because she is so afraid of him, she has to lie about the past. Mrs. Foley was not raped. It was a love story.” Her parents forced Mrs. Foley to give her up. Everyone she’s contacted says so. It wasn’t rape. It was love. It was a love story.
* * *
Our lawyer, King George the Delusional, forwards e-mails from the predator. “Look,” Phil cautions, “…You need to be angry. …She’s spreading our address around the Internet, apparently asking every low life she knows to send us some kind of evil. And she’s e-mailed out a rant trying to dig up one of her adoptee buddies to get me to shut up…she told George to warn me not to show up at the next (legislative) hearing. ‘Tell him I don’t want to see him there,’ she said.”
I know I am not now fifteen years old, wavering at the bottom of a dark set of stairs with its curtain of swamp odors, gamy sweat rising sour from damp wood, the stench of an unflushed toilet drifting downward as I am being steered upward. Plump meat. Up the stairs, holding my breath through the stink, my clean white sneakers touching, touching the human slough and peelings colonized along the risers beside moldering leavings and something sticky that latches on to the rubber sole of my shoe. Juicy meat. In the slow-motion climb that is too quick. Rushed into the bedroom. Tender meat. To the mattress with its contagions and broad stains of secreted waste.
* * *
(Phil says) “It’s about your mother. Somehow the predator got hold of information from your file at Catholic Charities. Evidently your mother said you were partially responsible for what happened to you. And the predator is circulating this around the Internet as proof that you weren’t raped.”
“She (also) has a note you wrote to the nun where you thanked her for all her help. It was in the file, and somehow she got it. …she’s circulating that around, too. Calling it proof that you were in love. Saying you’re a liar. That the note proves you were never raped like you say.”
“There’s more,” Phil warns. “She’s really been digging around in your past. Evidently she located some of your old friends. They told her that you were in love with this guy. They called him a real catch. They told her the pregnancy was common knowledge. And that you even named her after your best friend.”
I cannot choke down dinner. Or fall asleep in the grip of this woman’s malice. Or pull my mind away from the girl I was at the hands of the rapist. Then, living under the threat of Sister Social Worker, who had the power to restore my freedom or withdraw its promise at the stroke of a whim.
…I imagine Saint Nancy, the Social Worker at Catholic Charities responsible for rooting out all the sins of the flesh, ransacking my confidential file, stealing its contents: Sister Social Worker’s intake entries, my mother’s accusation, my groveling self-betrayal written in my own hand…agonizing details of me whimpering, clinging to my mother…echoes of indescribable pain…(that) Saint Nancy, the Social Worker…swipes and awards it all to a grinning stranger.
* * *
Note from the author:
Stalking is a brutal physical and psychologically invasive crime.