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Stalkers: Welcome to life as a girl on the internet

I think people sometimes underestimate the weirdness that one faces by being a semi-public online woman.  The following is a story about extreme creepiness and stalkerdom.  I was asked by another stalkee to publish the stalker’s name — I felt justified in doing so on my own, but probably wouldn’t have, but since she has requested it: his name is Mauricio Martinez, he is from Ontario, and he is a creepy ass liar who uses the internet to try to hurt people.

Prologue: Once upon a time (2 years ago) in Canada, there was a Girl and there was a boy, MM. MM was married, with a pregnant wife. Girl was polite to MM, and so, barely knowing her and right after they met, he asked her out.  Girl was not interested, for many reasons, including because he had a wife and children, and so she said no, thinking that was the end of it.  Very soon after this, MM proposed to Girl.  Girl, unsurprisingly, said no to this as well.

In response to the proposal rejection, MM ragequit his job.  He sent Girl a message and was dismayed to find that she didn’t particularly care.  There were some fleeting attempts at contact, and then Girl blocked him.  And so two years passed without her thinking about him.  Occasionally, the pass one another in same public spaces, but do no interact other than to avoid one another.  She had no idea he still thought of her, and now is afraid because he knows where she lives…

Last winter, Girl and I became Facebook friends because we both enjoyed the same sort of threads and arguments.  We weren’t terribly close or anything, just friendly acquaintances on the internet.

Beginning in April, I got several Facebook messages from this guy, MM.  In the first, he complimented me on my choice of FB picture, but then he followed with some basic questions about atheism.  Basic meaning many paragraphs long about him, but questions like “does calling religion stupid help atheists”, which I answered in a short reply, and he followed with a lengthy essay to which I gave an even shorter reply.

I did not reply to his many further attempts at contact.  I don’t know him, have no friends in common with him, and did not friend him.  He seemed creepy and weird, but hadn’t done anything particularly Alarm worthy.  Just weird messages like this that I didn’t respond to:

I was wandering around the internet (quite innocently) the past few weeks when suddenly someone decided to pull out the fucking ACME Handbook of Online Seduction and Emotional Manipulation (believe me I am familiar with every page of it, don’t get me started) and they clearly also bought the expansion pack with 50 per cent more passive aggression. Being well-versed in its conventions I naturally spotted it and shut it down pretty quickly, but you know, sometimes with a sports team, you like the team but you hate the playbook; sometimes with a movie you like the actor but don’t like the script. And sometimes, with an individual, you can like them just fine but their methods are pretty fucking disgusting. They really followed the handbook with a kind of dogmatic fervor, down to the implied suicide threat.

Doesn’t bother me too much really; it does bring out a ruthlessness in me that I must admit I kind of enjoy. It’s just that a surplus of profit soon brings an embarrassment of riches. It’s funny, kind of, in that I’m sure IRL this person is somewhat of a prize. Wasting their time on bullshit doesn’t seem like a good use of time and resources. But you never know, maybe it’s influences of environment or people they hang out with. Too bad. It’s a game really, with the ending always decided in advance. The game always ends with a block.

Anyway, it’s not the first time it’s happened. If there’s any real annoyance involved it’s that if I really start attracting that many psychos I guess I’m gonna have to take a second look at the cologne I’m wearing.

A couple of weeks ago, I guess he got called out on lurking by somebody when he commented on some post about rape culture, and I got another very long message from him, but this one was significantly weirder.  As far as I can tell, he started stalking me on Facebook so he could convince Girl that he and I were “soul mates”. For unrelated reasons, around the time he started following me, she deleted her FB account and started a new one under a pseudonym, but he interpreted this as a sign of success of his plan to drive her away, despite the fact that he had not been in contact with Girl for years.

I would like to reiterate that I do not know this guy at all.  He has apparently constructed in his mind that his assholery has cost him something with me — like I was interested in him before he sent his confession e-mail rather than someone who ignored the five previous long e-mails he’d sent.  I don’t know, the whole thing is super weird and I don’t know what to make of it.  Other than I feel 1. stalked 2. like someone intentionally tried to make someone hate me for twisted, fucked up reasons and 3. like someone is stalking my internet friend hardcore and trying to transfer his weird stalker obsession onto me.

August 21

Hey,

Sorry for speaking out of turn or whatnot but I felt I had to make that point as I’m really interested in rape culture and this whole harassment situation has really angered me and that anger needed an outlet.

I think your friend there kind of called me out for lurking and rightly so – I have been lurking, for quite some time – and here’s why.

I guess around two years ago now I had an unfortunate entanglement with [Name Redacted] which I ended – to the benefit of me, her, and everyone around us – but which led to close to two years of passive-aggressive trolling from both of us. She was basically tracking every single move I was making on the internet so I kind of cooked up a scheme whereby I would find someone on her f-list and kind of make it look like I was into them. Maybe you didn’t notice. She did. And so.

And it worked! Holy shit. The whole thing lasted for about five minutes but led to – as far as I know – her deleting fucking everything and moving on with her life. Yay! You have no idea of the victory dances that were had with this. Ok. So it should have stopped there. And then…

AND THEN…

That whole TAM thing exploded and it was SO FUCKING INTERESTING. I started lurking lots of people in the skeptical community because every day there was more new drama and it was (sorry for being morbid and prurient here) SUPER FUN. Like, you ever watch Maury and are like *GASP* all the time and you can’t turn away? Yeah. And it continues now, even with the tfoot thing.

So there it is I’m a drama addict and I lurk. I think it’s pretty harmless, but if it makes you uncomfortable obviously let me know and I will try my best to pry myself away. I must admit a highlight for me was the blocking of [Name Redacted] – I really didn’t like that guy – I hated his vulgar Marxism.

On an added note, I do self-identify as an atheist now. I used to say I was just agnostic, but I agree with Penn Jillette that agnosticism and atheism are answers to two separate questions. And since I don’t actively believe in God… yeah

43 minutes ago

Hi.
I keep writing because I keep feeling as if I owe you something, and I think that’s true, and now I guess it’s time to settle up.

I’m sorry for using you as a bit of a chess piece there. Now, I realize I was just going by the surface of things, and there’s a lot that I will never know about the situation, but [Name Redacted] – as she goes by now – really seemed to have this persistent obsession/bitterness that needed to be put to rest, and I hope it is now.

Please believe me, this was a real problem. Sure, for the short time (six fucking weeks) we knew each other emotions ran high but we’d never kissed or even so much as held hands with each other. We’ve never even been out for coffee – and I go out for coffee, even drinks, with women all the time and it’s never been a problem, and we never even got that far. For someone to act as if their life is ruined and that somehow that justifies them owning your ass is seriously fucking dangerous. I’m sorry for venting but she makes me really fucking angry. That said I hope you reconnect, because I’m sure she’s over it by now. And if you don’t, I’m really sorry you lost a friend, especially from this.

So why you, and why did it work (at least, I think, in the long run)? Well, part of this – how shall I call it – ‘determined love’ (oh my. lol) was this idea of soulmates or two people who were so alike that they were perfect for each other. And the fact is on paper – or in the third person, what have you - you fit that description far far far better than she did, or ever will. That was the trump card. And I genuinely thought you were really cool. You are, of course, very crushable and I’m sure you have stockpiles of creepy internet love there in your archive as evidence to support that sentiment. But my intentions are far less than creepy so I’ll decline to elaborate on that here.

To close, I’d just like to reiterate how sorry I am for treating you like an object in some twisted manipulative game. While I can argue that my intentions were good, there was some real damage done and this has resulted in a significant loss – for me. I’ve always liked you and I tend to be careful with people I have reservations about losing. And if I had met you under any other circumstance I would have been far more careful with you.

Welcome to the creepy archive, MM.

He sent Girl the following message as well.  This is creepy 1. because it’s the first contact she’s had from him in years and 2. because he had to seek her out and find her new FB profile which is under a pseudonym:

Thank you for rejecting me those years ago. It was a really good decision and at the time I didn’t realize how important it was. I’m sorry for ending it the way I did and for whatever hurt it caused then or after but I felt so stupid and guilty for messing with you – and the fact is, if you would have taken that chance believe me it would have fucked a lot of people over and would have killed you, and would kill you now if I ever gave you that chance again and you took me up on it. You have no idea how divorce fucks everything and just looking in from the outside I have to say that nobody ever gets what they want but you have what you need, and I will never be able to match that. And I’m not talking about material possessions here, I’m talking about family ties and support networks and just free time, which I won’t have for a about ten more years. I never want you to feel that whatever happened was because you’re not good enough or whatnot. It’s because I can’t fit you in my life and you fit so much better in other places. Better places. Believe me. So please just let it go. There’s nothing for you here. I’m so sorry but you have to let it go. Just let it go.

TL;DR This is incredibly weird and stalking. You do not get to use someone in your ridiculous plots to hurt other people and then complain that YOU have lost something.  You do not get to make up lies about people and expect them to simply go along with it.

Comments

  1. keith says

    Just wow. That is one of the most insane, oblivious pieces of writing I have ever read.

    To think that women on the Internet get this type of attention all the type is quite frightening. Makes me angry at the men who do this. Given this type of obsessive, creepy stalker behavior, it is a wonder that women do not run away whenever men contact them in any context, online or off.

  2. phil zombi says

    I want to say that the internet is a weird place but that feels like a cop-out. I guess people are strange animals. Yeah, I guess that’s it *shakes head wistfully*.

  3. Rodney Nelson says

    He admits to playing a manipulative game. He even apologizes for playing the game. Yet he continues to play it. This is confusing.

    Is his wife aware of what he’s doing?

  4. Ashley F. Miller says

    My guess is no, but I don’t know him and Girl doesn’t really either, much less his wife.

  5. Pteryxx says

    Dunno about “insane” but oblivious, at least; also entitled, narcissistic, and externalising. Note how in his story he’s the wronged innocent when some other person just attacks him out of the blue: (bolds mine)

    I was wandering around the internet (quite innocently) the past few weeks when suddenly someone decided to pull out the fucking ACME Handbook of Online Seduction and Emotional Manipulation (believe me I am familiar with every page of it, don’t get me started) and they clearly also bought the expansion pack with 50 per cent more passive aggression. Being well-versed in its conventions I naturally spotted it and shut it down pretty quickly…

    …and he’s not only the innocent target but also the overcompetent hero.

    That’d be bragging and creepy enough in a BLOG POST. But this is a personal message sent by email to someone he’s using in his games.

    And this?

    I never want you to feel that whatever happened was because you’re not good enough or whatnot. It’s because I can’t fit you in my life and you fit so much better in other places. Better places. Believe me. So please just let it go. There’s nothing for you here. I’m so sorry but you have to let it go. Just let it go.

    HE SENT THAT TO TARGET’S NEW FB. That she made to get away from him. She DID “let it go” and he stalked her and re-engaged to say something like that.

    This guy will not accept any definition of “let it go” within his own persecution fantasies. It might as well be “stop hitting yourself” or “don’t make me use this knife”. He sounds fucking dangerous.

  6. Dustin T. says

    The funny thing is, she didn’t even make a new FB to get away from *him,* but for another reason entirely. Girl didn’t even know he was obsessed with her til very recently.

  7. Pteryxx says

    Right, my mistake. He THINKS it’s all about him and his plan. Still, he found this new FB and engaged while telling Girl to “let it go.” Bleargh, bad news.

  8. cassmorrison says

    This is the kind of stuff women have to post when they talk about being stalked or harassed. The volume and/or sheer weirdness would counteract that “if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen” garbage.

    Hope you continue to not know this guy IRL and I love that graphic.

  9. DLC says

    Now that’s some bizarre behavior. Married man “proposes” to woman he’s just met. No doubt he considers that he’s being terrible romantic, but in fact he’s just being terrible.

  10. Mr.Kosta says

    What the fuck? Sometimes I think some people should pass psychological tests before they are allowed to have access to the internet.

  11. C Rowan says

    My husband & I have first hand experience with stalkers (yes, plural). I’m so sorry you & your friend are going through this. My husband & I tried to blow off a stalker that started his stuff online. The torment went on for years. He incorporated new targets, as this MM has done. He showed up IRL. We should’ve called the police w/ all that went on. It was that bad. It’s good you’re treating this as serious. Keep a record of everything. Report any violations/harassment. Utilize stalking laws. Really. I wish you & your friend all the best. <3

  12. DBP says

    …And then he sees this and is suddenly the victim of more games from the ACME Handbooks of Evil series.

    He’s probably going to see this post as proof that more women are all crazy and out to get him.

  13. Daniel Schealler says

    Does anyone else get the sense when reading his text that MM is completely locked-in?

  14. Bjarni says

    Faaaark… Yep, that’s some proper weird light there.

    Just another example of all the crap I don’t have to deal with (and can easily be completely unaware of) because I’m a guy.

    Glad you’re being careful about it all, and wish you and your friend all the best.

  15. Me says

    To be fair, guys get stalkers too. Weird, creepy, invasive stalkers. Maybe just not as often. And when a guy says he has a stalker and she’s creepy, people are more likely to believe him.

  16. Paddy says

    FFS, where do these cringe inducing weirdos come from? WHY do there seem to be so many of them?!?!

    You know how the saying goes that, for every benefit of new technology there’s always a draw back? This is just one of those drawbacks that came with the advent of the internet. It makes it so much easier for these creepy folks to reach out and ply their lurker/stalker trade.

    I’m sorry you have to deal with this crap. Life has enough challenges without this uninvited, creep you out BS on top of it all.

    I’m with WMDkitty, document everything.

  17. jenny6833a says

    I’ve been posting in favor of five or six rather unpopular topics all over the internet for somewhere around 20 year now. I’m damn blunt, and have exacerbated off more people than I can count.

    I’ve yet to have any problems at all, much less any of the kind that you and others on FtB so frequently describe.

    What could I be doing wrong?

  18. Ze Madmax says

    What could I be doing wrong?

    Well, for starters, you’re assuming that just because your experiences are unlike those of other people, it means you’re doing something wrong

    (Or less charitably, you’re assuming that because your experiences are unlike those from people in FtB, these people must be lying/doing something wrong)

    That’s probably your mistake right there.

  19. Bjarni says

    Yeah, you’re right, it’s only much *less likely* I’ll have to deal with stalkers.

    Worth remembering all the same :)

  20. gardnerhill says

    And yet, if women say word one about our very, very, VERY real concerns about this gendered assault? We’re immediately dismissed as Man-Haters. Which apparently is a million-jillionty times worse than being a guy who terrorizes women.

  21. jenny6833a says

    I’ll pose my quite serious question differently in hopes of getting a serious answer.

    My posts are almost always calm, logical expositions of POVs that most others find repellant, or calm, logical rebuttals of contrary POVs. I’m fervent, often sarcastic, and I love to parody the arguments and actions I oppose. But, I don’t call people names.

    I’ve been called nuts, out of step, silly, various other similar terms, and ‘bitch’ a few times, but almost never anything more serious. I’ve received maybe 20 emails over these 20 years of which all but a few were supportive. My spam filter took care of the rest. I’ve not been threatened with tangible harm, stalked, or otherwise abused. No one has gone after my parents, my husband, my kids, or my home.

    What do these various women say, or how do they says it, that generates the kind of responses that I don’t seem to get?

  22. Dunc says

    Well, I guess it rather depends on what those “five or six rather unpopular topics” are, and how much of a profile you’ve got… To find your self on the end of this particular kind of shitstorm, the topics you need to be tackling are ones related to sexism and male privilege, and you need to be attracting a meaningful audience.

  23. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Very possibly, you’ve just been lucky. Or else it could be a function of the points of view you espouse and oppose – since you don’t tell us what they are, that’s not something we can judge. But at any rate, your comment is simply victim-blaming.

  24. embertine says

    Agree with Dunc and Nick; it does depend on your traffic and whether the points of view you espouse challenge someone’s privilege.

    And please do note that “I am calm and logical but I don’t call people names” also applies to a lot of the she-bloggers that get this type of flak, so if you’re trying to state that they R DOIN IT RONG then I suggest you take a step back and ask yourself why it is so necessary for you to present yourself as superior in this instance. You know, calmly and logically.

  25. jenny6833a says

    My main topics are atheism, feminism (seeking political, social, economic equality of the sexes), equality for gays, nudism, national health care, the faults of the American legal system in both theory and practice, the idiocy of current so-called conservatism, and whatever else catches my eye.

    I don’t much deal with male privilege because it obscures the messages I’m trying to get across. Although I can be as indignant and outraged as anyone else, I don’t show it because it’s almost always counterproductive. As I said, I deal in facts, logic, parody, and sarcasm — not emotion.

    I have to believe that my reader count over 20 years on usenet and a whole lot of other forums is fairly high.

    Dunc, I appreciate the tone and content of your response: no accusations or cheap shots. It’s too bad the two that follow didn’t do as you did. :-)

  26. says

    I think you’ve already answered your own question. You repeat in each of your responses that you don’t deal in emotion. Emotions are deemed inappropriate and unproductive by some people in the skeptical and athiest communities.

    A great many men and women comment about sexism, gender, homophobia and so on and have no harassment or very little. And they’re very lucky they don’t have to deal with such things.

    Your comment and question seem to pose the writer of controversial things as source of the harassment and threats and stalking. And if that writer doesn’t write things using emotion then by your example they’ll hardly get any threats or harassment. This is, of course, just one example, regardless of how long you’ve been interacting on the internet.

    Instead of posing how the writers could be doing things to ensure less harassment, the subject should be, how do we handle harrassments, threats and stalking. The victims should not have to modify their behavior, and in Ashley Miller’s case, she did nothing but befriend someone to pick up a stalker. So should Ashley simply not make friends in order to prevent future stalking?

    Your comment is something of a detrailing tactic. Whether you intended it to be or not. And I’m assuming good faith on your part, so I will say you didn’t intend it that way. Focusing on the victim simply sends everyone around in victim blaming circles.

  27. Mauricio Martinez says

    This is a copy of an email I sent to Ashley Miller just now regarding this situation. It is reproduced here as a public statement on this post and related events.

    *********

    Ashley,

    I ask that you take down your Freethought Blogs post of September 9, 2012 at 11:16 am. There are statements in this post that are are stated or implied to be factual, but are actually false and contribute to the making of claims that defame my character, that is, contribute to a negative or inferior image of my character and my standing as a decent, right-thinking person.

    A related concern is the public disclosure of private facts, which are not of public concern, but rather only relate to the parties involved.

    I can prove that various so-called facts in this post are false, and they mostly relate to the prologue but also concern the framing/context of the selections of text you have provided. I can also show that by your failure to communicate with me directly about your concerns regarding my behavior and your failure to use Facebook’s block/report feature to stop me from communicating with you, that your intentions were to allow me to persist in messaging you so as to compile a stock of information that could then be published with the purpose of defaming my character.

    I can prove that the publishing of these statements has caused me harm. I have deactivated my Facebook account out of embarrassment and will never activate it or log on to Facebook ever again, in my entire life. This will permanently separate me from friends and wider social networks that anyone who uses social media finds valuable. I will refuse to speak to anyone who witnessed this morbid spectacle in anything other than a professional context ever again. My social world will be confined to my family, my professional/workplace associates, and any new friends that I can make who have no knowledge of this situation, and I ask your cooperation in making this possible by taking this post down and never discussing it or me ever again.

    Any further harm to my reputation will only emerge in the future.

    Finally, I can prove that, as someone who uses media in a professional or semi-professional capacity, you failed to do adequate research into the truthfulness of your claims before publishing them. I will not discuss my version of events with you here. You are not an impartial judge of the facts relating to the wider context within which these messages/events have taken place, and are in no position to determine which of the parties involved is the most credible witness.

    By deactivating my Facebook profile, I have already taken steps to ensure that you will never hear from me again. This message is my final statement on this issue and any further communication between us or the parties involved will have to occur through some kind of intermediary. I am permanently separating myself from this situation by removing myself from social media and will only check this blog to see if this post has been removed and to ensure that no further information about me or this situation has been made public.

    I ask that you refrain from publishing anything about me in any forum in the future. I ask that neither you nor any of the parties involved contact me, ever, and will repeat my request that you take this post down so that no further harm can come to me as a result of these defamatory statements. A permanent separation, a commitment to no-contact from all the parties involved, and the removal of this harmful information will resolve this situation to my satisfaction, and from the spirit of your comments, probably yours as well.

    Goodbye.

  28. tomLC says

    Jenny, there are so many possible explanations it almost becomes pointless for anyone not knowing your body of work to even wonder. Again not knowing you, it is possible you are not as good of a writer (I don’t know), or for whatever reason, you are not seen individually to be as big of a threat, or you are not seen to be part of a collective that is considered a threat. For instance, I think Michael Savage is way more offensive and regressive than Sean Hannity, but I don’t get as angry when I listen to Michael Savage because I just don’t take him seriously. I don’t think he moves the debate in ANY meaningful way, and I don’t consider him much of a threat.

    Also, Hannity’s collaboration with Fox News makes him even more threatening to me, as he is part of a collective I think moves the debate in a destructive direction. In this same way, there may be people who are not just fighting Ashley, but the stage she occupies and the relevance she’s ascribed.

    Add to that a challenging of power, and refusal to “follow the script” shall we say, and I think you have a fairly potent equation for anger/hate/harassment. Same with Watson, and a host of other females I’ve seen online who have a stage and don’t perform the way people want while on it.

  29. Kat L. says

    Wow, this guy has an alternate reality running in his head where everybody wants him and everything is rationalized to accomodate that theory. Scary.

  30. Michelle says

    Dude, I never loved you, I was never attracted to you. You are delusional. We have not been playing a game for two years. I forgot all about you. I had no idea you were writing to this girl. I was never jealous. Because I don’t want you. I have never had any interest in being with you. You asked me out. I said no. You quit your job and would hang outside of work, watching me. I remember you across the street, waiting for me to get out of work. I am frightened by how delusional you are. I made a new profile under a different name, and you STILL found me. You are a creep.

  31. embertine says

    Aw that was rubbish. I’ve seen some epic internet flounces in my time and that barely registered on my FLOUNCEOMETER.

    Seriously, do you actually think you can control Ashley and friend by using legal jargon and threatening to ragequit social media? NO-ONE CARES. YOU ARE NOT THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE.

    Shocking, I know, but every little kid needs to learn it sometime.

  32. Kim says

    And he claims she can’t let it go even though she blocked him long ago and hasn’t had any contact with him.
    He even says “but which led to close to two years of passive-aggressive trolling from both of us. She was basically tracking every single move I was making on the internet”
    Even though she hadn’t had any communication with him.

  33. andriad069 says

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