Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Signal Boost: Stop a Stalker in New Zealand

Trigger warnings for stalking, violence, and anti-Semitic language in the post below; also rage. Sorry. 

My friend Melissa Anelli is an awesome person, for many, many reasons. She runs the Harry Potter megasite the Leaky Cauldron and its spinoff, LeakyNews. She wrote the definitive guide to the Harry Potter phenomenon, Harry, A History, a wonderful read (in which I am a supporting character) that taught ME new things about Harry Potter. She co-created LeakyCon, an amazing fan convention, with over 4,000 attendees and counting. She hosted my bachelorette party last year and took some of the best pictures of my wedding. She is a great aunt, sister, daughter, and friend, and her warmth, passion, creativity, and energy inspire me every day.

And for the past FIVE AND A HALF years, she has been stalked online and through the mail by a crazy woman in New Zealand, who sends her messages like this:

Someone forgets I pay attention, sweetheart. As I've said a few times before, you're going to have to wait until July for anything further. If NZ does extradite Dotcom, they can do the same to me when and if the Feds ask. Too bad they've had to wait two and a half years, kike bitch. 
That is very, very far from the worst of it. Maureen Johnson has more context in her excellent Tumblr post here. The general theory with regard to stalkers seems to be that you should not acknowledge them directly, because they get off on being acknowledged directly, on that demonstration of their power over you, and if they can't get that recognition, eventually they will go away. That has not worked with this crazy woman, to the extent that Melissa still gets multiple messages a day, frequently violent or sexual in nature. The FBI and New Zealand law enforcement have been involved for years as well, and the woman still hasn't given up, or been incarcerated for good. Melissa went public with her Tumblr post today to bring attention to the length of time this has been going on, and to ask for help in getting the situation resolved.

I don't hate many people. I hate this woman. I want her to be stopped. I want her to get help most of all, to be treated and recover from whatever mental illness she has that has fixated her on my friend; but if that's not possible -- and this stalker has checked herself out of treatment centers before -- I want her in jail, away from phones and computers and with no chance of getting out of the country, where she can entertain her twisted thoughts in her own sick mind and nowhere else. But the law hasn't yet caught up with all of the ramifications of our new online worlds and forms of communication, and New Zealand law enforcement seems to think that online stalking isn't as serious and insidious as in-person stalking could be. It is, and it should be prosecuted on an equal basis, so this woman can be put away.

If you are on Tumblr, please reblog Maureen's or Melissa's posts. If you know someone in New Zealand, particularly someone in authority, please pass those posts on to them and say "HEY. Would you do something here already?" If you know someone who is being stalked, point them to the stories on Melissa's Tumblr so they know they aren't the only ones in that situation and they aren't just imagining things, and listen, support, be there for them as much as you can.

And if you are the stalker and you're reading this: You are sick. You know it. I hate you, it's true; but it's possible for you to be forgiven if you end this -- if you say you want help, you get it, and you give this up. You don't have to be so miserable; you don't have to make other people miserable. Please get the help or restraints you need, and stop.


  1. Cheryl,

    I've had help on and off since I was diagnosed with both high functioning autism and OCD back in 1998.
    Melissa is not the first to feel my wrath either, there have been others since possibly kindergarten. I've even been expelled from high school twice because the respective schools didn't know how to deal with me.
    I suspect the law has treated me the same way and I would get help again but I find it somewhat pointless because I'd just find someone else to fixate on. Thats why I've stuck with Melissa for so long, so no one else recieves the same treatment.
    Anyway jail won't solve anything, I'd come out more determined than ever to tear her a new one and really I don't want to do that, nor would trial by media make anything better.
    If there was a really good reason to seek help, I would and only Melissa can give me one. If not, too bloody bad.

    1. Which reason could Melissa give you?

    2. I dunno, LeakyCon is outta the question. She can come up with something.

  2. There something seriously not right if you think only Melissa can help you. You have obviously had problems since you were a small child. Why fixate on her? What has she done to deserve your "wrath"?
    Also, why involve her family? I don't even think I can understand that. It's a very selfish way to act. Is there nothing else in your life? If not, I feel very sad for you. Here in the UK restraining orders are put on people who stalk - both in person and online. I think that needs to happen, but it seems that New Zealand authorities just don't give a damn. Shame, I thought New Zealand was a good place. Seems I was wrong.

  3. I agree with you completely, Anonymous at 9:40, and I made the same arguments to this crazy woman when she first contacted me five years ago. She's had restraining orders put on her since; she violates them. Melissa and a New Zealander chime in on the legal context here: http://tumblr.penbitten.com/post/77131643830/someone-forgets-i-pay-attention-sweetheart-as-ive She herself admits she knows this is wrong and that she has a mental illness, and she's unable or unwilling to stop, so finding some actual restraint to stop her from hurting Melissa seems like the best option.

    1. Ummm, there have been no restraining orders that even I know of and I don't think they can be imposed internationally. Sure, I've been told to lay off her but that doesn't amount to what you think. Melissa has kinda conflated things a bit, her memory is somewhat wonky.
      By the by, NZ does not consider me a threat. It was the opinion of the detective constable working the case too. If you really knew and actually met me, you'd think the same.
      That is what I want Melissa to do, that is the reason. Sadly she disagrees.

    2. You have threatened to rape or kill her multiple times. That's damage enough, and threat enough, that you should be locked up, for your own good as well as hers.

      I am closing comments on this post henceforth.