For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Survivor Not A Statistic--Part 1

As I sit here at my computer I have so many thoughts going through my head and I'm wondering if I can really go through with this.  Am I ready to share a very personal story about myself, to make myself as vulnerable to anyone that may stumble upon this specific entry.  Then I tell myself, yes!  Be the voice of those ladies who don't speak; who think they can't, who have been silenced by fear or even worse, death.  My stomach is all tied up in knots.  I have the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in London playing in the living room and I step out of the study long enough to catch Team USA waving their flags, taking pictures, and smiling.  I see Lebron James from the Dream Team get captured on camera and then I see Jordyn Wieber (gymnast) waving.  They are happy to be representing America at the Olympics.  I go back to the study and lo and behold, I hear Candy Hemphill Christmas and David Phelps singing Jesus Saves and that is exactly what He did for me 11 years ago today!

Friday, July 27th, 2001, did not start off as an ordinary day for began as a race to the finish line hoping I would really make it through what was predicted as a terrible weekend to come.  Rewind 3 1/2 years earlier, January 1998. I remember because I was shopping after having received some gift cards for Christmas.  A gentelman approaches me at Walmart to get some advice on a cordless phone.  He seems like a nice guy and I feel safe because there is an employee with me while he is asking all sorts of questions, which I am able to answer.  Nothing strange or alarming about that.  But then he proceeds to follow me around the store and I begin to get anxious so decide to forgo any further shopping to get out of there.  I am obviously more nervous than I think because at checkout I drop my wallet and who helps me pick up everything, but none other than that man!  As I'm leaving he calls me by name and says he'll be seeing me later.  I'm a bit confused because I never told him who I was.  Then he holds up what is my business card and he leaves. I never carry business cards on me but I had one card in my wallet so that I could call my family and give them the new number to the private office I moved to.  The number was new to me so I had written it on a business card and I remember writing my home number down because I wanted to remind my dad to make sure he had all numbers in his address book.

That evening was the beginning of a 3 1/2 year nightmare.  This man began to stalk me professionally.  From that business card he had access to my office address (physical and mailing), and home and office numbers and my life became a living hell.  Everywhere I went he went.  At that time I was leading a very busy life.  I was working on my doctorate, on a dance team that practiced three times a week and performed in local and university productions AND I was a full-time employee, actively involved in the singles ministry and choir at my church.  There was no where I could go to get away from "Johnny."  That's what he said his name was when he introduced himself to me but detectives said he probably didn't give me his real name.

First it started with phone calls.  Johnny would call and let me know if he saw me at a show, the mall, on campus, etc.  I knew he was there because he always told me what I was wearing, where I may have been, etc.  Then he started calling my house late at night and when I would answer he would hang up.  I didn't understand what was going on until the detectives told me that he was trying to see if I was home.  If  I answered the phone he knew I was there.  Still it was all just about the phone calls so no one could do anything because he was basically just harrassing me but not causing physical harm.

This went on for several months and 30-50 calls were logged with law enforcement.  Then one night the first major incident happened.  We had a bad storm in the area and a major power outage.  I called the power company to report loss of power.  About an hour later I heard a knock on the door and believing it was someone from the power company I opened the door.  It all happened so fast...a guy barged in and threw me into the bar and started hitting me and yelling at me, "Why don't you take my calls?"  At that moment I knew it was Johnny.  During the course of this struggle the lights came on and out the door he went.  I called my family who told me to get out of the house and to the Sheriff's Department.  When I filed a report I was told the guy didn't trespass because when I opened the door I gave him access to my home.  I later found out that the power company doesn't come to your house.  After power is restored they call your house to make sure you have power again.  Hard lesson learned.

Well, Johnny was now braver than ever...once he attempted to cut my phone line but he accidentally cut my power line and got electrocuted.  The next week he cut my phone line but I wasn't home so I didn't know that happened for a few days.  As the stalking got more severe he would force my car off the road, show up at more and more of the events I was in, etc.  He was even brave enough to come to my church and called to let me know he heard me perform in the Christmas Cantata and Patriotic Program.  It was getting to where I didn't feel safe but I wasn't going to let Satan win this victory.  I had to keep going or I would kill myself in the end.   

After 3 years we had tracked down the office where he was placing most of his calls (almost 1000!) and that agency's security was given the description of my stalker so as to try to catch him.

During the wee hours of the morning, Thursday, July 26th, my phone rang.  Well, when you're dead to the world and the phone rings you don't really bother to look at Caller ID.  You, or at least I do, assume it's a family emergency and you jump for the receiver.  That is exactly what I did and I will never forget, though I have prayed often I could, what I heard on the other end.  Johnny told me, "You better watch your back.  You'll never make it to that birthday party on Sunday" and click, the phone went dead.  Well, I was freaking out to say the least.  I called some friends from church that live the closest to my house and asked them to please come and get me because I didn't think I was going to be safe.  Well, the husband and wife came so that we could take my car to their house.  Once to my home away from home we started pondering at 3 a.m. what Johnny's statement meant.  Was he going to kill me?  And how did he know about my nephew's birthday on Sunday?

I got to work and there on my calendar was a memo to myself to shop for my nephew's birthday after work on Friday.  That calendar was the only place I had my nephew's birthday written down so we realized Johnny had been in my office.  My supervisor sent me and a coworker over to the Sheriff's Department to file a report.  Basically I was told that unless I could give enough lead information for them to apprehend him or if he was caught inflicting physical harm on me or my body then they couldn't do anything.  Yep, in my state the stalker basically has more rights than the victim.  I work with my best friend who is also like a mother to me.  So the plan was for me to go home with her on Friday and stay the weekend with her.  That way if Johnny made his move I would be safe.

Friday, July 27th comes and I head to work. Everything seems okay until I find out my best friend isn't there and I wonder if this will change the plans.  After work I decide to go run some errands, get my nails done and then go jogging.  My best friend is home sick so I figure I can get some things done without bothering her.  There's about a 2 hour lapse between leaving work, errands, and arriving at the outdoor concourse to jog.  As I'm leaving the restroom I hear someone call my name and before I know it Johnny attacks, literally.

First he throws me to the ground and begins to beat on me and drag me across the asphalt.  Somehow I make it to my feet but he then throws me into a tree and when my head hits I all but blackout but I knew that would be the end of me so I will myself to stay conscious.  I can feel something trickling down my arms, legs and face.  I have a problem with my sweat glands so I can't perspire unless under extremely hot conditions so I knew it wasn't sweat.  Then I began to see and taste the blood.  It was everywhere!  When I hit the tree I took a pretty hard blow to the head so I was struggling to stay coherent.  Before I knew it I was on the ground and Johnny was on top of me with a switchblade in his hand.  I felt it go up the hem of my shorts and penetrate my left thigh.  At this point I'm thinking, "Oh my God, he's going to rape me" and it was then that I tried to scream but because he was on top of me I couldn't get enough air in me to yell.  When I finally let out a soft cry for God to help me Johnny leaned into my face and told me, "Scream and I'll kill you."  And at that moment I had a peace that I was ready to die but I didn't want to live if he raped me.  I was scared to death but somehow I knew God was with me.

Then the miraculous happened.  Some dogs started barking and Johnny got off  of me.  I guess he thought someone was coming.  As he stood I just laid there wondering what next.  He told me, "I'm not finished with you..." and he walked away.  I was beaten badly and I didn't even know if he actually left or if he was just waiting for me to stand up or try to walk away.  I knew he intended to kill me so I wondered if he was going to carry through with the promise that I would never make it to that birthday party on Sunday.  That wasn't the end of my nightmare.

*I am posting a part 2 to describe the legal ordeal I went through and how I arrived to where I am today.


  1. Gigi, I know I met you after all this happened...I only wish I could have been there for you but I'm glad that you were trusting God. I'm going to skip on over to the part you!!

    1. God placed you in my life at just the right helped me overcome cancer and we became good friends. What more could a girl ask for. I'll always cherish all the times we have shared and I know you're always there for me as I hope you believe the same about me. I love you too!

  2. Hey, Gigi! I haven't read all of this yet but I just wanted you to know I was here. I would love to read your future posts but unfortunately, if they don't come to my inbox, I don't get a chance to read them. I don't use RSS feeds. I'd love it if you had an email subscription. I'm so glad you're back. Love you, sweetie! <3

  3. On the right sidebar is an option to "Subscribe via Email." Sorry I didn't know to embed the hotmail code so it was there but not enabled. I have fixed it so I am now able to take subscriptions! Wow :+) Thanks for reading!!