{09/06/2012}   PLEASE READ: advice and thoughts sought on a true and ongoing example of harassment

For a variety of reasons, the people involved in this will not be named.  I am writing this because it is something that is troubling me hugely and because I would appreciate any opinions or advice.

What follows will be an abridged version of events as they stand and a few minor alterations for the purposes of discretion.

A bit of background:  it is unexpectedly announced by Z that a building of historical interest which is used by a small rural community is to be closed in two weeks.  The only people who know about this are those who happen to be present on that day, collectively Y.  There are some locals who pay a direct debit to help keep that building going, they are not told that their direct debit will be going to a different building until those who happened to hear the news of the building’s imminent closure asked them if they knew.  They were, unsurprisingly, very angry.

Within Y a few decide to get a petition together to prove there is support for the building and that it is used more than Z implied.  There is no blame, the petition is merely to keep the building open, both for its guaranteed upkeep and for those who use it.

There is a lot of support for the petition.  However, Z has a lot of loyal “friends” and it transpires that some are a little scared to, as they see it, go behind Z so some people refuse to sign, though verbally offer their support for the building’s upkeep.

Z then starts bad mouthing some of Y to his “friends”, even publically naming and accusing one of them of spreading lies.

Now comes X, someone who was part of Y and who helped with the petition.  It is her situation that has upset me and caused me to write here.  It is a very long and detailed story and I am missing out a lot.  X is a female who lives on her own, maybe 15 years older than Z, a married man.

The petition was for Z’s boss, to prove the use and support for the building.  Z’s boss was not happy as it seemed that Z had told him otherwise.  Z’s boss seems to be progressing the case for saving the building, so there should be a happy ending.  However, Z is very angry about people having gone to his boss and he has, in a rage, gone round to the houses of at least two others from Y, both women living on their own.  Neither woman has opened the door to him and on those grounds one of them was shouted at through her door and told that not opening the door was tantamount to her not being open to discussion.  She didn’t open the door because she was scared to have an uninvited angry man banging at her door to come in.

Meanwhile, the local press got wind of the possible closure of this building.  Z was interviewed, saying how much he supported the building and how he hoped it would be kept open.  Members of Y and others who used the building were interviewed and photographed outside the building, X included.  Many of these people also wrote to the local paper.  Only X’s piece was published.  It did not mention Z, it was just about saving the building, though Z would have known it was because of his actions that the article was written.

Z does not know X’s phone number.  So Z phoned and left a message on the answer machine of friends of X’s who live approximately a two-minute walk up the same road.  X’s friends were shocked by the message, as was X who went over to listen to the message.  It was aggressive and angry and accused X of running a campaign against him, about which he demanded to know more.  X was very upset.  There is no campaign against any individual, there is just a petition out to save the building and keep it open.

Z, however, knows where X lives.  On a daily basis for the past few days, Z has been banging on X’s door.  X is frightened, particularly in light of what happened to people she knew from Y and other things X has heard about Z.  It came to a bit of a head the other day as X was outside in her garden when she heard the front door bell.  Then the back gate bell.  Then the front door bell.  Then the back gate bell.  And so on.  For a long time.  X had only got home shortly before this started, likewise when Z had rung round before, X had not long been home.  X was scared so stayed in the garden for quite a long time.  Previously Z had driven round and parked on X’s drive but now it seems that Z is walking round.

A short time later, around 7.30pm, X was inside her home.  The front door and back gate ringing started again.  X was scared so hid.  It continued so she phoned the neighbours up the road who had received the answer phone message.  X’s friend said she would come round immediately (bearing in mind Z had been at the house ringing for quite some time before X called her friend and it takes up to two minutes to walk between their houses).  X meanwhile was left in her own home, terrified.  Some time later there was heavy banging on X’s front door.  Then silence.  X still didn’t move, unsure if and when Z had gone.  Then X’s phone rang, her friend was ringing to tell her that she had gone round to X’s front door and spotted Z balancing very precariously on X’s front door step, leaning onto the window ledge of X’s living room, quite a way away, trying to see in.  X’s friend had addressed a very shocked and flustered Z by name, it was X’s friend who had banged on the door, she’d then announced to Z that X obviously wasn’t in and had walked with him up the road and was ringing X to tell her that she had escorted Z part of his way home.

Although X’s friend had believed X about how scared, etc, she was and how harassed she felt by Z, X’s friend hadn’t quite grasped how determined and completely out of order Z was being.  X has reluctantly told Z’s boss and asked neighbours she knows to be alert for her (at least two are now a phone call away).  X is also reluctant to tell the police but I hope will, especially as it transpires that other people have complained to the police about Z’s behaviour before.  The unfortunate thing, and part of the reason X is so uncomfortable about seeking the support and protection she has every right to expect is that Z appears to have been bad mouthing X and Y, so much so that at a street Jubilee party on Tuesday X was blanked by two of Z’s “friends”, people with whom X had previously been neighbourhood friends with.  We have no idea what Z has been saying about X and Y.  X is now ill (not seriously), which she can only put down to the stress and fear of Z confronting her unawares while she is at home or out in the local area.

Oh, and the other reason X is so worried about talking to Z’s boss and the police and why Z has so many friends is – and does this change what you think about all this so far – because the building is an old Norman church and Z is a vicar.

*I wrote the above yesterday.  Since then, Z went to X’s again, the same persistent back to front door ringing.  X called the local police and an officer came round to take an informal statement.  X was told that for harassment to be a crime, X must tell Z that his behaviour must stop and if it persists, it will then be investigated as harassment.  So, under the advice and help of the police, X wrote down a message that she later read to the answer phone of Z saying that there was no campaign, just the petition to show support for the building, and that X had nothing more to say and requested that Z did not call around again and left her alone.  I would like to think that will be the end of it, but I am not at all convinced, even if it’s “only” that X’s neighbours, the strong contingent of supporters of Z, continue to blank her.  Horrible, bullying school playground stuff

**I have worried about posting this.  Because of Z’s “social standing”, not that I’ve given any names or locations.  Why on earth should I feel bad about writing what’s been happening to X?  It begs another issue, doesn’t it, how people with power and influence can get away with things.  This whole situation is making me very angry and disappointed in certain people.


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