‘He created a jail inside my head’24th June 2021
Di McDonald has had “no freedom” since the man sent to prison for breaking multiple intervention orders to keep him away from her was released in January: “I have a jail that he’s created in my head.”
“You are constantly looking over your shoulder, always in fear of the unknown and always in that fight-or-flight mode in your mind,” said Ms McDonald, who had had a five-month relationship with the man before calling it off. “I never go out alone, I am with friends always. You can’t live like this.”
Over more than three years, Ms McDonald reported events to police including having her tyres slashed and strip nails put into them, her petrol tank tampered with, her daughter being approached at work twice, her phone tracked, and a rock and a cricket ball being thrown through her mother’s front window.
Used condoms were left on her doorstep and flyers sent to friends and stuck to windows of venues she frequented, which showed her picture and made lewd allegations about her sex life.
She and her daughters live with a guard dog, security cameras and roller shutters all around their home. Her neighbours are on call and willing to help protect her if necessary as they have done in the past.
The perpetrator was jailed for eight months and Ms McDonald said she has an active, 10-year intervention order in force.
Now, Ms McDonald wonders why it is she, and not the convicted offender, who wears a security device: “I wear a security watch with a special button on it that once pushed, an alert will go to five of my friends [one a retired policeman] and family so they can listen in if I’m in trouble.
“He’s not wearing a monitor but I am, to keep myself safe.”
Tony North, chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, will on Friday invite anyone who has a story of stalking to share their experience with the inquiry into stalking and harassment commissioned by former attorney-general, Jill Hennessy, after the death in November 2020 of Celeste Manno.