Teressa Morris is a part-time bookkeeper and part-time blogger. She is married to her highschool sweetheart and has two sons and two dogs. She is the owner and primary blogger at Window on the World, where she writes her observations on life from a Christian perspective.
Our son, Bud, is 17 and a senior in high school. Last summer he had a very scary experience with a cyberbully.
Here’s Our Story:
Some of Bud’s friends from junior high had taken a wrong turn in high school and started taking Methamphetamine’s. Bud had no use for that and stopped hanging out with them, although they all parted on good terms. The problem was that G, the younger brother of one of these boys, had looked up to Bud as a protector and was very resentful when Bud stopped hanging out with G’s brother and friends.
G is a troubled child – he struggles with mental health and weight issues and his brother’s friends would tease him and make him the butt of their jokes. Bud had always stuck up for G, and G looked at Bud’s absence as a betrayal. G developed an obsession with Bud. He started texting Bud, demanding that they meet to fight. Bud refused and ignored the texts, until one night in April, G texted Bud and told him to meet to fight that night or G would show up at our house and cause trouble. Bud was understandably scared as G is considerably larger than him, and because of G’s emotional instability. My husband, Art, agreed to sit up all night in case G tried to break in, and Bud was finally able to get some sleep. G never showed.
We convinced Bud that G was making idle threats and he calmed down for a little while.
By Now It Was Summer
One morning Bud and his 3 closest friends got a text from G, with lots of cursing and name-calling, demanding that they all come fight him at once. We all laughed it off. That night, Art & I went out with friends and Bud had his 3 friends over to play video games. About 10 p.m., G and 7 other boys showed up at our house, all dressed in black, and started pounding on the exterior walls and windows of our house screaming for Bud to come out and fight. Fortunately, Bud had the presence of mind to call the police and yell outside that he had done so. G and his friends ran away before the police got there. The police took an “informational report.”
After the night-time incident Bud became understandably paranoid. He would no longer leave the house unless we drove him to his destination, even if it was just around the corner. He and his friends used to walk all over town and now he was getting so little sunshine that he was eventually diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency.
During the week that followed, one of Bud’s friends texted him and told him to check out G’s Facebook wall. G had a public and completely open Facebook page – anyone could see it whether or not they were his friend. Bud called me over to see what G had posted. Right there on G’s wall, was an invitation – ” bud morris, come over to my house… I have a bottle of beer and a freshly dug grave in my backyard for you…” “I want to grow my hair long so I can strangle bud with it.” Art, and I told Bud he needed to get a restraining order against G.
We went to the courthouse and got the paperwork, but Bud was terrified there would be retribution from G’s brother and friends if he followed through. So we put it on hold.
Then, on July 1st, Bud saw this message on G’s Facebook wall, “anyone down to get torches and pitch forks and begin an angry mob and go over to bud’s house and drag him outside by the throat and beat him til he’s dead in the street?” Bud went to his room and refused to come out. When I tried to talk to him he was actually shaking, he was so angry and scared.
I called a friend of ours who I knew Bud would listen to because he works closely with the police department. C told Bud the only way he would get through this was if he trusted us as his parents to protect him and the only way we could do that was by filing another police report and getting a restraining order. Bud finally agreed.
We printed all the pages from G’s Facebook wall from the past week and called the police. This time, partially due to the printed evidence and partly because G was a known troublemaker in the neighborhood, Bud was taken seriously. The police went to his house that night and arrested him for felony stalking as well as multiple counts of theft from other people which he had also confessed to on his Facebook wall. He spent a month in juvenile hall and received a year probation with a no-contact order on Bud. We also received a 3 year civil restraining order against G.
It has been more than six months since the arrest, and Bud is finally starting to feel some peace. He looked over his shoulder for a long time afterwards and still wanted to be driven everywhere. For awhile G’s brother and his friends would drive by our house and yell curses and insults at us. But I think Bud finally sees that they took him seriously and that they understand that retribution would just land them in the same trouble as G. At least I hope that’s what they’re thinking.
Thank you Teressa for sharing your son’s story. Be sure to check out all the great information Teressa has on Cyberstalking and helpful tips for those going through it!
Here’s Part 1 of the Cyberstalking Series!