- 61 percent of female victims and 44 percent of male victims were stalking by a current or former intimate partner
- An estimated 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men have been a victim of stalking during their lifetimes
- 7.5 million people were stalked in one year in the U.S.
One day, while walking out of Wal-Mart, I stopped at the Redbox to pick up a movie. A guy walked up behind me and began telling me that he found me attractive. He then asked me if we’d ever met before because he recalled seeing my face, and I told him that we hadn’t (later, I would remember that he approached me in the parking lot of a different Wal-Mart not far from this one).
As usual, I tried as many deflection techniques I could think of. All failed. It was as if his brain couldn’t process the word “No.” Even the Redbox machine betrayed me as it took its sweet time thinking between selections. I pulled out the movie and tried to put some distance between me and the guy, but he wouldn’t stop pursuing. Finally, I said, “Look…no. I’m sorry. I’m really, really, really not interested.”
He smiled and then replied, “Okay then, Ms. Walker. I’ll see you around.”
It wasn’t until I’d gotten all the way back to my apartment, roughly a half hour away, that I realized I never told him my name. Neither first nor last.
Unfortunately, I did exactly what most women do in situations like this: I ignored it. I figured that it was just a fluke and made excuses (and terrible ones, at that). Somehow, it was worse to me to be seen by law enforcement as a histrionic, crazy woman than take something like that seriously.
I moved shortly after this happened and haven’t been back to either location ever since. However, as writers usually do, I wondered about the women who didn’t take it seriously. The ones who did something as simple as go check if they’d left their phone in their cars in the middle of the night just to never return.
Tayler and Gage’s story was born. Romance with a dark twist. Working title: Angels and Assassins.