Stalker Gone Wild

Haley Bunnell, Featured Columnist

     When your mom and dad say “Don’t add strangers on Facebook,” believe them. Trust me; I learned the hard way. One minute you think your friend is innocent and you help teach them English and the next minute they call you every three minutes leaving sappy love songs on your voicemail. You really don’t want that.

     I was reluctant at first to accept his friend request, but his cousin, who was my friend, said he was harmless. So being my trusting self and not listening to my gut, I accepted some guy named Bawan Kadika, who lives in Iraq. Approximately 30 seconds after I clicked “accept”, the chat icon pops up which read, “hilo haly, me is bawan, how is u?” I thought that was odd, but I didn’t want to be rude and leave him hanging, so I responded and kept the conversation going for a couple hours that night. I was excited that I was talking to someone across the world, and thought he wasn’t so bad. But with that mindset, I got into some trouble.

     I became empathetic and too involved with someone I hardly knew, chatting him almost every day and helping him with English. He told me about the horrors of Iraq, seeing loved ones killed in front of him, and how he is scared every day that he is going to die. I felt so bad for him, and felt like maybe just talking to him would make him happier.

     It was after a month of non-stop messaging that I started noticing some extreme warning signs. Telling me he loves me and thinks about me every night before he goes to bed is just something that complete strangers don’t tell each other. Even worse he told me he was planning to commit suicide, giving me his username and password so I can pretend to be him when he’s gone. I didn’t want to know that, nor did I need that pressure. From then on, I tried distancing myself from him, only chatting back once in awhile with one word replies. The once innocent chatting was becoming too intense and sketchy.

     He finally started getting the picture that I was no longer interested, ordering me to delete him so that he wouldn’t “love” me anymore. I automatically pressed delete with not one ounce of regret. It wasn’t even a full 24 hours later when I received a message saying that he was so sorry, and wanted to be friends again. The first thought in my mind was “heck no!”  Then I blocked him completely.

     Unfortunately, Bawan’s complete obsession for me didn’t stop there. I started receiving messages from his family informing me that Bawan needed me back in his life, and how they couldn’t believe I  had ditched him. Every time I received an unknown person’s message I blocked them, but more kept arriving.

     Then, about a month with no sign from my stalker, I got a call from a 12 digit number starting with 9001. I had never seen a number like that before, but answered it anyway thinking it was a wrong number or a sales call. Boy was I wrong. On the other line, I heard a soft voice with a strong accent, “Hi Haley.” I was creeped out, because I had no idea who this person was. I then asked, “Who is this?” With no reply I asked angrily, “Who are you?”

     All I heard on the other end of the line was a small cry. “I am sorry.” Then he hung up. I was so confused, still unclear who this was. But five short minutes later, my questions were answered with the text message that read, “I am Bawan. I luv you, why yo do tis to me. I want talk to you. I look at the picture of you on my wall, and I want to be with you.”

     I couldn’t believe what I just saw before me. I was stunned, scared, and unsure how he even got my number. Aware that itt was his number, I answered not one of his calls; not one out of the five everyday for a month. However, I did listen to about 20 interesting and creepy voicemails. My ultimate favorite, him singing the titanic theme song and crying afterwards.

     After attempting to block international calls, my dad then had enough. With the words, “ This is Haley’s father, you are being inappropriate and Haley is not interested. Stop calling,” Bawan never called again. I do, however, get random messages every so often saying “Happy Birthday” and “Merry Christmas” from Bawan, but I just ignore them.