Why Us?

The first reporter who interviewed me, Colleen O'Connor of the Dallas Morning News, said, "What did you do to make him pick you?" I responded, "What did I do? That's like asking a rape victim how she was dressed and assuming she was somewhere she shouldn't have been. What the hell kind of question is that?"

Ms. O'Connor had assumed that I encountered Hillyard in a sexually-oriented chat forum or newsgroup. Nothing is further from the truth. I not only did not encounter Hillyard in such a place, I was not a participant in such forums! I didn't even have a racy nickname—come on, TechnoMom?

So why did Hillyard choose us as his target? I don't really know. I'd never heard of him before he attacked me. He seemed to be set off by a discussion about inappropriate commercial advertisements on the internet—spam. Having been reprimanded in the past, apparently, for spamming, he saw himself as being attacked although he had not previously participated in the discussion and had posted no ads in that particular newsgroup as far as I know. I was not the person who initiated the discussion, and I wasn't even the most frequent poster in it, but I was the only woman participating. Although he made remarks in his messages to me about other men, it seems he didn't see them as easy enough targets to attack at first.

From his remarks over time, I've gathered that Hillyard definitely does not approve of opinionated women. The fact that I'm a self-confident fat woman, in particular, seems to enrage him. He has shown himself to be homophobic in the past, and I've made plenty of posts and statements on my web pages making it clear that I believe homophobes to be people who are insecure in their own heterosexuality. He's attacked me as someone who's had psychiatric treatment, although he has undergone counseling himself (or so he claimed when trying to weasel out of punishment for credit card fraud). He frequently brings up the fact that I'm divorced, and he has stated that he has an incredibly hostile relationship with his own ex-wife. He has mentioned that I'm a former Mensan and that I was a high school valedictorian and National Merit Scholar far more often than I have, so it seems those facts bother him or make him feel inferior in some way. I learned a few years into the case that his wife, Kay Ball Hillyard, is at least educated as a lawyer. That does raise interesting questions regarding why he might be so unreasoningly hostile to other intelligent women who he cannot control.

Still, I wasn't satisfied with those possible reasons for Hillyard's choice of me and Katie as his target. I started researching stalkers and their victims in an attempt to learn more about how their minds work—my way of dealing with just about anything is to learn all I can about it.

Most cases do involve men stalking women—75 to 80% of all cases, according the the National Victims Center. In most of those cases there was some sort of prior relationship, although it may not be a romantic one. That was puzzling, as there was certainly no relationship between me and Hillyard before he started the harassment.

The first information I found only referred to two types of stalkers—simple obsessional and love obsessional—that describe the vast majority of all stalkers. Then I found another site that listed two more, less common, categories—erotomania and false victimization syndrome. FVS sounded eerily familiar—in fact, I'm going to quote a lot of the description from Stalked because it is important, but I've attempted to trim it in minor ways for length:

False Victimization Syndrome
In these very frustrating cases, the stalker may believe that he is the victim. Sometimes he even reports his victim to the police as having stalked him … In these cases, the true stalker is usually the one who initiated contact, although this is not always so. … In reality, this kind of stalker suffers from a severe lack of self esteem. He feels very inferior to the victim whom he admires greatly, although he will rarely admit this to be true. These stalkers, believing themselves to be inferior to, or wronged or rejected by the ones they admire most, begin harassing and following the victims, spreading tales, keeping tabs, and in many instances plotting revenge. … In false victimization syndrome, the stalker is extremely manipulative. Very frequently he convinces himself and others that the victim is the one at fault, when in truth the victim frequently would have had no contact with or knowledge of the stalker if the stalker had not begun a campaign against him. Often the victim is reported to the authorities for defending himself from the stalker. … Frequently delusional and always irrational, when presented with the facts, this stalker will rationalize and manipulate everything he can and ignore even a direct question, in order to preserve his fantasy of being the victim. He will initiate conflicts and then twist them in his favor in an attempt to gain positive attention for himself. He wants, in a nutshell, to be like his victim and when he feels that he does not measure up, his motive is to bring his victim down. Sometimes this means merely trying to ruin his victim's reputation by spreading lies and rumors. Other times, this means murder.

Hillyard initiated contact by posting a message about me, then sending email to me—facts that are completely verifiable through impartial third parties. He has repeatedly—since the first week of this mess, in fact—accused me of harassing him. He has repeatedly attacked those aspects of my life that he seems most insecure about in his own life. He claims to have evidence that I've stalked him, but hasn't filed police reports. He claims he's suing me, but after 18 months he hasn't done that, either. Since day one I've wanted the conflict over, and he continues to stretch it out, attacking over and over again, then claiming that he is the victim. Rumors and lies, delusions, manipulation, twisting events of out context, initiating conflicts, irrationality—goodness, what does that sound like?

My opinions are mine alone, and do not represent those of any employer, client, family, significant other, house plant or other entity unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 1996-2016, Cynthia L. Armistead, All Rights Reserved.

This file last modified 06/02/17