On small town politics.

The neighbor’s boy is stalking me. I’m 17, and I live in a small, religious town. I dated this guy when I was 15, and since we went to the same church I told him that Jesus wanted me to be single.

Now he’s following me to work, school, church, pretty much anywhere I go. I went for a drive in the country and he followed me for two hours straight. My parents think it’s cute, and his dad is the chief of police.

It was tolerable (horrid, but tolerable), but now I have an intelligent, older boyfriend from a nearby city. And he’s getting creepier. He’s talking to me about the things he sees me do and how Jesus wouldn’t like it (bong hits) but I don’t have any way out of this rat-trap town other than moving in with my boyfriend. My 21-year-old, college-educated boyfriend who just so happens to love a 17-year-old girl from a pop. 900 town.

I’m country, not stupid. How the fuck do I get safe or get out?

A town of 900 people has a police force? You mean three guys who share a shotgun and rusty crown vic, right? Seriously, don’t be intimidated by your town’s chief of police. There are mall cops with more jurisdictional authority than him.

If I were you, my first step would be to type this boy a letter expressing your concerns. Explain in no uncertain terms that he is making you feel uncomfortable and unsafe, and that you consider him to be a stalker.

Cite every specific example of his inappropriate behavior that you can remember, and formally express your desire for him to leave you alone. Make it clear, you wish there to be no further contact between the two of you.

Cc both your parents and the boy’s father on the letter. They each get a copy. Give the letter to your parents first, and let them know that you intend to hand deliver the boy’s copy and his father’s copy directly to the father in his capacity as chief of police.

At this point, your parents will probably freak out and have an opinion on the matter. Be strong. It’s time for them to take you seriously. You’re sick of being followed around, and you feel unsafe. This shit isn’t cute, and they either help protect you in their own way or allow you to deal with it yourself. If your father is half a man, he’ll go down to the police station with you.

Assuming your parents don’t have any better ideas, drive on down to the police station and ask for ten minutes of the chief’s time. Hand over the letters. Be respectful. Be firm. Explain that as both the chief of police and the boy’s father, he’s getting a copy. Ask him to deliver the letter to his son and thank him for taking care of the matter.

That’s really all you need to do. The letter is a powerful thing. You’ve started a paper trail. It’s tangible. It’s a record of events. It’s evidence. It will force a conversation between father and son, and I can almost guarantee that it will be enough to change things in your favor all on its own.

In a small town, something like this is better than a restraining order. After all, small town personal politics runs on embarrassment, and as chief of police, he’ll understand that this is a warning shot.

He’ll see that you’re the type who documents things, and he won’t want the next round of letters going to the church or the town council.

(Oh, and if you end up writing this thing, I’ll be happy to look it over for you.)


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