Monday, May 15, 2006

Stalker, part 5: Locked in and Threatened at Knife-point

Since our previous installment here, my new roommate Sh- arrived from the U.S.

Monday, Jan. 11 - Saturday, Jan. 16, 1999

Unfortunately, St- continued to cause trouble. First of all, we noticed that we couldn't cook anything because there was no gas flowing to our stove. I called the gas company from work, and they verified that it had indeed been turned on, so we should look for blockages at our end. At first Sh- and I were being polite and friendly with St- when he would come over to our apartment uninvited, so on one occasion we mentioned our gas stove problem to him, and he helpfully located the gas pipe knob that had somehow mysteriously been turned off. This knob was unfortunately placed outside of our apartment (in the hallway of the building), so we later discovered that every time St- stopped by and we refused to let him in the gas would again be turned off.

From the time I moved out of his apartment, St- insisted that we maintain phone contact, and I went along with it because I was worried about how he was doing. His employer (the R.A.T.P.) had wisely put him on some sort of sick leave and was sending him to a psychiatrist, which I was heartily in favor of. I was dismayed, however, that he refused to take the medication that the psychiatrist had prescribed for him.

He told me that he was getting better and learning to accept the situation, but that he was still blocked by how terrible the circumstances of my final departure were. He harped on this last point endlessly and kept insisting that if only I would come over and have dinner with him one time and then leave calmly and peacefully, then everything would be better and he could get on with his life. I wasn't too keen on his plan, but I foolishly agreed to it, hoping that it would have the effect that he promised.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 1999

On the night of my dinner with St-, I made arrangements with Sh- to meet her afterwards at a particular time. In retrospect, I should have given her precise instructions that if I failed to call or meet her at a particular time she should call the police. (Actually, in retrospect I never should have gone at all, but since I still hoped to help St-, I should at least have taken some reasonable precautions.)

The dinner itself passed uneventfully enough, and, as any idiot might have easily predicted, I ran into trouble the instant I tried to leave. At the time that I had planned to leave to meet Sh-, St- decided that I hadn't stayed long enough, and that, what's more, he expected me to have sex with him before I go.

I categorically refused, telling him that I had held up my end of the deal by coming over to have dinner with him, and that it was now time for me to finish the deal by peacefully leaving. He said that I had agreed to have a nice evening with him, which clearly meant that he had expected the evening to end with sex. I was furious that he would make such a claim. I had most certainly not agreed to have sex with him, and if I had had even the slightest hint from him that he expected that as part of the deal, I never would have set foot in Montrouge.

The next couple of hours were a blur of one horrible incident after another. I tried several times to go to the door to get out, and each time he would physically block me and throw me back into the apartment. At one point he was restraining me by holding my arm behind my back as if to break it. He ripped my coat off me and threw it into the closet saying that he was keeping it (knowing that my passport, wallet, and all of my identification were zipped in the pocket), and told me that if I wanted to leave, I would have to leave naked.

I wanted to call the police, but he pulled the phone cord out of the wall. I started yelling at the top of my lungs (in French) that he had me locked in the apartment, that he wouldn't let me go, and won't someone please call the police. You would normally think that in a drastic emergency in an apartment building you always have one last line of defense in that if you start screaming for help, the neighbors will call the police. It is terribly frightening to discover first-hand how unreliable this defense is.

I yelled for hours, and I know they heard me. On the day that I had arrived in September, St- and I were playing some music a little too loudly, and for that the woman upstairs came down to yell at us and threatened to call the police. Now that I was pleading with her to call to police to save me from mortal danger, that rotten bitch didn't lift a finger. I managed to slip off into the kitchen to try to call the police on my cell phone, but the damn thing wouldn't work inside St-'s apartment.

I did everything I could to try to get past him, but he just became more violent. At least once he held a knife against my throat, threatening to kill me. I then screamed that he's threatening to kill me with a knife, and please, anyone, call the police. This didn't phase the neighbors any more than my earlier pleas had. St- seemed almost amused that he had managed to elicit such an extreme reaction from me. With no one to come to my aid, I managed to talk him into putting the knife down, and I took it and threw it out the window. I also gathered up all of the razor blades I could find in the apartment and threw them out the window too.

I can't say in precisely what order the above events occurred because I was practically delirious from fear and stress. I recall vividly, however, that he had locked the door, and even from the inside it could only be opened with the key. In the end, I was gripping my key tightly in my hand, and in a fit of furious rage I started bashing him in the head with it. He was momentarily stunned by the shock of seeing so much of his blood, and that gave me the instant I needed to fly out the door and out of the building.

I ran straight to the police station to report the crime. I was still dazed, and the calm of the police officers was momentarily startling.

The fact that I entered the building wild-eyed and holding up my hands that were covered with blood inspired them to take care of me right away. The police officer who took my deposition did what he could to calm me and set me at ease. I told him all about what had happened and about the fact that St- had been terrorizing me for some time. I didn't press charges, though, because, crazily enough, I was still concerned about him losing his job. What I really wanted was a restraining order, but I didn't know how to ask for one or even whether or not restraining orders exist in France.

Two police officers went back to St-'s apartment with me to try to talk to him, but he wasn't there. The police then told me that if I didn't press charges and he didn't have any of my things in his apartment, the only thing they could do for me was give me a number I could call in case he showed up again. Then they drove me to the border of Montrouge and dropped me off. (Since they didn't have jurisdiction outside of Montrouge, they couldn't drive me across the city boundary back to my apartment in Paris.)

When I got back to my apartment, I found that St- was there and that Sh- had let him in. He was showing her the bloody wound on his head (which, for maximum effect, he had not washed or even wiped in the slightest) and was attempting to get sympathy. I was so furious to see him there that I told him in no uncertain terms to get out immediately, and I grabbed him by the shoulders, shoved him out the door, and locked it behind him. Since he was playing the victim role and not the aggressor at that moment, he didn't fight back. I told Sh- all about what had happened.

After that day, he continued to come around to our apartment in the evenings, and look in the windows and beg to be let in. We quickly discovered, to our chagrin, that when we would call the police, they would respond by escorting him a few blocks away and letting him go. Then he would come back, and we would have to start over again.

to be continued...


Rebecca said...

OH. MY. GOD. I got jumpy just READING this.

C. L. Hanson said...

It was really horrifying at the time!!! Yet -- since I lived and all -- it's weirdly exciting to recount the tale.

I'm like one of those old guys with his war stories... ;-)

Except that instead of repeating it verbally all the time, I can just give people the link... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, this just gets worse and worse! I can't wait until you post the next installment.

Anonymous said...

You try to make him the villain and you the "protagonist," but the poor guy was getting all kinds of mixed signals from you. Dinner? Really? You can't really remember what happened in the apartment? Bullshit. Not going into a locker area, but going to his apartment...alone? You're an idiot and I find myself rooting for HIM against your illness.