My name is Tina and I sleep with a hammer. How are you?
It’s pretty comforting to roll over in your bed and cuddle with a loved one, stuffed animal or even a pillow. A hammer and industrial size bottle of Mace were never my idea of bed partners until August of 2009. That’s when I started fearing for my safety. Unless someone actually threatens to murder you…it’s nearly impossible to get a restraining order. Stalking is almost impossible to prove.
August 15, 2009: I received a photo text message. It said, “This is where I brought you from” and it was a photo of my former home in the Village of Arroyo Grande. A cute little one-bedroom home where I lived when he and I started dating. It was small but it was peaceful and I loved it. If you’ve ever walked through the Village of Arroyo Grande, you know what a charming little town it is. That was my home– small and quaint. Perfect in so many ways.
His vision of success wasn’t a small house– and he was reminding me “where I came from”.
August 25, 2009: I received more messages. One after another. Beep…beep…beep. I can hear the sound notifying me of the text messages to this day. The sound made me cringe. Messages that told me my looks were the only thing that got me anywhere. Messages that said I was white trash…I was easy. One text message said, “All I care about is making you answer to your conscience”. They went on and on. Some I could shrug off. Some left me on my knees crying.
August 27, 2009: I heard his dog howling in the middle of the night. It was a specific howl that she made when he was home. I found it eerie because he was suppose to be four hours away– in the Bay Area. I couldn’t sleep. I sat straight up- heart pounding and I sat there in the darkness holding a hammer and mace…my bed partners. I knew he was outside. I stayed awake most of the night- terrified.
My daughter had a doctor’s appointment at 9:40am that morning– we left the home for 1 hour and 15 minutes. During that time, he entered the home and took all of my court documents which I had spent two weeks preparing and my laptop computer containing all of my documents and personal information. I called the police…and they tried relentlessly to get my items back. At 4pm that afternoon, he finally dropped my computer off at a neutral location and notified the police where they could find it. My history files showed that he was on my gmail accounts, facebook and other email accounts from 11:40am until 2:55pm. He downloaded my personal photos and erased documents and emails that I could use against him in court. My documents were all gone.
I could no longer be in my home alone. I took my daughters to a safe location– a friend’s home for two nights while I decided what to do next. I emailed him and his family members to let them know that we were leaving the home.
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