James’ story

28 February, 2022

James was the victim of stalking from a former partner, who began repeatedly messaging him and visiting his place of work. Here he talks about the mental impact the stalking has had on not only him, but his close family.

I had begun a new relationship with a woman and things were fairly normal to begin with, with the relationship lasting for about a year. After I ended it, she began to get back into contact with me quite a bit which I continually ignored. I regularly asked her to stop contacting me, and it was around this time her behaviour began to change, and she became evasive and was regularly entering my life in different ways.

She then began to show up in person, attending places where she thought I might be and trying to find me. She was contacting me leaving emotional voicemails and began to contact my family members. She also started to spread malicious rumours and left different items near my family home that they would find.

The impact of this on me was huge. It completely fractured my family unit and resulted in the decline of my mental health. I began suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, eventually leading me to seek support from my GP. I also became homeless as a result of the stalking. I felt incredibly unsafe, and the lies that were being spread by me left me feeling hugely vulnerable.

I got in contact with my stalker and asked her to stop and explained the impact her contact was having on my life and family. Eventually I realized that she would not stop contact with me, no matter how many personal attempts I would make. I then decided to report the incidents to the police.

I had been keeping a record of the contact and submitted it to the police, believing they would take the appropriate action. After the police got in touch with my family, the decision was made to not continue with the investigation.

Following the end of the investigation she then made allegations about me, and I was arrested. At the time, I felt complete confusion and I couldn’t understand what was going on. I was then charged with a crime, with the process taking over 2 and a half years to resolve. It never went to trial, and the charges were dropped.

I believe there was an unconscious bias being a male victim of stalking and trying to report this to the police. It was an extremely difficult process, and my complaint of how it was handled was upheld. My experience was completely different to the person who had stalked me when she made allegations about me.

I believe that many men find it difficult to report stalking and that there is significant under-reporting. I think some of that does relate to thinking they will not be believed.

I would like to see a number of changes with how the police handle stalking incidents that are reported by men. Most significantly, I think it is important to give male victims the reassurance that they will be believed.

I believe there should be more awareness raised to encourage men who are victims of stalking and domestic abuse to come forward and seek support. I also think there needs to be more funding for the services that support male victims of stalking and domestic abuse.

My advice to other men wanting to report domestic abuse or stalking is to keep a record of the incidents with as much detail as possible. I would also recommend contacting support services to help with sharing your story with the police, and someone who can come with you to do this, such as Victim Support Scotland.

Victim support organisations can help to give you a stronger voice and help you to properly articulate what you are going through.

I think reporting it is very important so the police can understand the impact these types of crimes can have on men, as well as women.

Victim Awareness Week is very important to highlight hidden victims. Once people recognize they may be a victim of domestic abuse they can receive important support from organisations which can be hugely beneficial when reporting incidents to the police and when navigating the justice system.