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burgled…

Last week was my 8th blogiversary, but that was the last thing on my mind at the time. I had a horribly traumatic week: I disturbed a burglary in progress at my house, and I’m still very shaken up by the experience. I’ll tell the story here for those who want to know, and then I’ll try not to discuss it again. I’d love to hear messages of support or advice, but I don’t want to answer questions, please – it’s still all too raw, and dwelling on it makes the terror flood back.

I’ve never really felt safe in South Africa, but I assumed that, locked up in my house with security bars on all the windows and doors, and protected by an armed response security group, I was safe to be alone at home all day. Not true: the burglars easily forced my front gate, security gate and front door with just a crowbar, in the middle of the day.

I was photographing birds in my back garden, and when I walked back into the house I found two men in my living room, holding armfuls of my stuff. When they saw me, they ran outside to a waiting car. At the car, they turned back and just looked at me, and time stood still… Then they jumped into the car and sped off before I could even grasp what was happening. They got away with the TV, our laptops, my tablet and a few other bits of tech, and our front door and security gate are now wrecked and useless.

Almost a week later, I still can’t stop replaying it over and over in my mind. They may well have been armed; the police sounded very surprised that I hadn’t been attacked. That moment – where the burglars hesitated and stared at me before deciding to drive off – haunts me: if they’d made the other decision, I’d have been completely defenceless with all the doors between us hanging broken and useless…

(And, on a lesser scale of scariness from my lucky escape, but still a big eye-opener: I realised later that I was also only a minute or two away from losing my entire business! Luckily they hadn’t reached my big PC when I disturbed them, so I still have all my critical PlanetJune data. I feel a bit sick that I’ve lost design notes and reference pics from my tablet, but it could have been far worse. Our insurance will cover replacement tech, we’ve changed all the passwords we can think of, and I’m figuring out an off-site backup strategy so I won’t come this close again to losing everything I’ve worked so hard to build.)

I feel violated and traumatised by this whole experience. I’m trying to get back to a normal routine, but I don’t even have a new front door or security gate yet, I’m not sleeping well, and every sound sends me running around the house checking all the doors. It’s awful to not feel safe in your own home. How do you get over something like this? It just fades with time, I suppose?

So, I’m going to skip my 8th blogiversary roundup. I’m sure I’ve done lots of good stuff over the past year, but that all seems a bit hollow right now. I’m just glad I’m still around to start my 9th year of blogging. Thank you for sticking with me – at a horrible time like this, it’s good to remember I have friends all over the world who do care that I’m still here.

I’ll be back soon with a more cheerful post!

50 Comments »

  1. camelama said

    ??????????

  2. Andrea G. aka SpringSplndr said

    I’m so sorry for your experience but am very happy that you are safe! Stuff can be replaced!

  3. Lauren said

    Hi June, sorry for your terrible experience.

  4. Dorothy Harrington said

    That is an awful thing to happen to you and it must be a vey difficult time but thank God you are unharmed. Thinking of you.

  5. Jane said

    So sorry to hear your news. So glad you are safe, hope you feel a little better with time, my thoughts are with you.

  6. MJ said

    I’m so sorry about your burglery experience, and I’m very thankful you are safe!!
    I took self-defense classes to help me, and I do a refresher course now and then to keep it in mind. I need to practice more often so it becomes reflex.
    Perhaps a similar course would be helpful to you as well.

    Good luck! Thanks for all you do.

    MJ

  7. I just wanted to let you know that I am so glad to hear you are safe and that my heart goes out to you!!! I understand that doesn’t make you feel any less lost or any safer but I thought it might go towards repairing the damage that has been done to your heart knowing that you touched someone so far away.

  8. Jessica Lee said

    *hugs* no one should ever have to experience such things. You are a strong woman, they can’t steal your creativity and tenacity, please keep on going, I know it is so hard right now. Thank you for taking the time to share your story.

  9. Jennifer b said

    I’m so glad you weren’t attacked. I like your thinking about making some good come of the situation by making plans to minimize risk of data loss. As far as offsite choices, there’s putting data on 2 external drives and storing one at a neighbor or friend’s house (assuming both houses wouldn’t be affected in an incident) or across town or out of the geographical area (in case a bad storm hit). And the other in a place at home away from any technology at your house. I hope you will soon figure out your plan on how to feel physically safe. Best wishes to you and hugs from the other side of the world.

  10. Aine Ruane said

    June, I am sending warm, gentle hugs via cyberspace. This is dreadful news to read, can’t imagine the horror of those moments. If at all possible can you have a dog?
    Thinking only positive thoughts of you.

  11. Miriam said

    June,

    I am SO sorry to hear of your experience. I can only imagine how you must feel!

    I have only one possible piece of advice that I learned from some friends of mine here in the States. They owned a small decommissioned microwave relay station out in the middle of nowhere in Utah. They were worried about people breaking in and stripping copper wire and pipes, etc when they weren’t there. So they put in a couple of video cameras that they could remotely monitor. But they also put in a few “fake” cameras. Cheap ones that didn’t actually work. In one instance, a car pulled up and when the guys got out and saw one of the fake cameras they got back in their car and drove away (my friends watched this happen on one of the functioning cameras.) Of course, this was here in the States. I have no idea if it would have a deterrent effect where you live. But if you can’t afford active video monitoring you may be able to afford some fake cameras. It might help.

    The other thing I wanted to say is that I would imagine that the memories will indeed fade with time. I’ve never experienced what you have but my husband once almost died from an insulin reaction – he was in convulsions in the middle of the night and it woke me up. Waiting for the ambulance was agony. Fortunately, he survived ok. But I didn’t sleep for weeks after that – every move he made woke me up in fear. If I couldn’t reach him on the phone during the day I broke out in a cold sweat. Thinking about it now can still make me anxious but I manage fine. It’s tough to live with these kinds of scary experiences. I hope you find a way to move beyond it. Maybe get some professional help?

    Very happy to hear that you weren’t hurt (beyond psychologically) and that they didn’t get your business computer!

    Will be thinking of you and wishing you the best.
    Miriam

  12. Leelou de France said

    What a traumatism !! the equipment does’nt matter, the important : you are safe !! Immerse you in your world : creativity, imagination, to give shape to your art, crochet. Hugs from France to give one’s support to you, Leelou

  13. Pat Stauffer said

    I am so sorry you went thru this!! The only thing I want to say is get that gate and door fixed because they might see your post somehow and come back for the rest. I am not trying to scare you, but you know how info travels in the internet and if they got your info, they might be able to access your site and read your blog. Take care and I will be thinking of you and sending healing energy your way!!

  14. Megan said

    I am so sorry for you. So glad you are unharmed though. Will be praying for you.

  15. Lianne said

    Thank goodness you are safe!!! I can only imagine. I had my car broken into when I was a teenager and I remember how violated I felt. I can’t even imagine how much WORSE that must be to have someone in your home like that…especially while you were right there!! Stay strong…maybe talk to someone if you are still not feeling right soon….letting it out might help you feel better.

    Hopefully you can get a new setup that will help you feel safe in your own home again.

  16. Doug said

    Also sending internet ((hugs)).
    So sorry that you went through this.

    Time will help, but I agree that perhaps talking with someone(s) else in person might help too.

  17. Beth said

    So glad you’re safe. I imagine it’ll take a long time to get over the feeling of having been violated — and of not *being* safe.

  18. Kat said

    I know how you feel. My house was burgled at Christmas a long time ago, when the kids were just babies. Luckily we weren’t home at the time. I’m so glad that you weren’t hurt, and I think that you’re sure to find a way to take that negative, nervous energy and turn it into something positive. I like the idea of taking self defense courses, and wish I’d thought of that so long ago.

  19. Carol said

    Hi June,
    The best news is that you are alive and well. I hope your security gate is repaired soon. I think you should get a gun and two Rottweilers – they will help keep you secure and will bark to alert you if anyone is around and will at least make any would be intruder think twice. 🙂 I think your patterns are lovely and your animals are so realistic! You really know how to capture the “personality” of the animal. Relax and take care.
    Sincerely,
    Carol

  20. Alice said

    My heart aches for you, June. Big hugs from across the ocean.

  21. Claudia said

    June,

    I am SO sorry to hear of your experience. I can only imagine how you must feel!
    Claudia

  22. Jean said

    I’m so sorry you’ve had this experience. My apartment was robbed when I was in college, and the police believed I came in the front door while they were exiting out a back window. I completely understand the horror you’re going through. I can tell you that yes, it will fade with time, and it will take you awhile to feel safe… but ultimately, you will. Big, big hugs to you.

  23. CalmCoolCollect said

    I am so sorry to hear about your experience.
    Please take as long as you need, we’ll be here when you get back.

  24. Roberta S. said

    So sorry to hear this news, June. I live in the U.S. and have a South African acquaintance who told me how he was carjacked/attacked while at a red light , in traffic, in broad daylight. He explained that violence is an unfortunate way of life in SA, that people live in walled/gated compounds, and I felt fear when he described it. He moved from SA because of it, but his heart remains in SA. Now you’ve been violated and you need your peace of mind back. Hopefully, you will have your gate and door repaired soon and I agree with what others have said: get a protective dog, learn self-defense, install video surveillance and back-up, off-site and on multiple hard drives all your hard work. Hugs from the U.S.

  25. Muna Nana said

    Dear June. I am so very sorry to hear about your traumatic experience. And am relieved to hear you are unhurt and were not attacked. It will take time for you to be able to stop looking over your shoulder. As you may recall, I live in Pakistan, and here we live in a war zone, albeit an undeclared one…. terrorist attacks on a daily basis, burglaries at red lights, car napping, kidnapping, acid attacks, etc, but at least (for the most part) we are safe at home, with guards usually as well as electronic safety alarms. I know the feeling of being constantly on guard and the sublime stress that one begins to live with in a situation where violence is a way of life….
    Be safe, dear June. and my God always protect you!
    hugs and kisses

  26. Simone said

    Dear June,
    that’s indeed a horrible experience! I’m glad that you’re well enough to write about what happened.
    Sending warm beams, healthy hugs, and safe lasers your way.
    xoxo Simone

  27. Tessa said

    Pfiew!! What a horrible experience !! I am so glad you are safe…
    Maybe a cloud storage solution might be perfect for you? Things like Dropbox or Google drive…
    Lots of positive energie from the Netherlands

  28. Miriam said

    Sorry you had to go through that. People always ask me why I have a gun. Your experience is why. I also agree with the person who said to get a dog. They can scare away intruders and bark whenever someone comes to your door. Very good alarm system that cannot be turned off easily. (Also comes with the perks of being a loving companion.)

    For your files, I use DropBox. Depending on how much data that or even SugarSync. This way, your files can be on any device/computer you are on. I use it for my own site work. This puts the files on all of those devices as well as the Dropbox/SugarSync servers. You never have to worry about multiple backups again.

  29. Erica said

    I’m so very sorry about the violation you experienced. I’m so lucky in that I’ve never witnessed a burglary, but I have had things stolen from me, and from people I thought I could trust. I hope the trauma of the experience fades with time. I’ll keep you in my thoughts, June. Hugs from the USA.

  30. Theresa said

    I am glad that you are safe and hope that over time you will feel safer. You mentioned storing data, have you thought of cloud storage?

  31. Margo said

    I’m so sorry to hear this but glad you were not harmed. We also live in an area that is not the safest. Besides getting a gun and taking a gun safety class we also have a dog. More people (honest or not) have walked away from the door before I could get to it when they heard Max. He can be a PITA at times but I’m glad he’s here.

  32. Amy said

    I’m so sorry you had such a scary experience! I’m glad that you were not hurt and your business was saved. I hope you are able to get your locks fixed quickly and get back into a comfortable routine.

  33. Liz said

    I am so glad you’re safe!! I know it’s hard right now, but it will get better with time. As my mother says, some people seem to think that they are more entitled to your possessions then you do. Shame on them. Stay strong!

  34. Ana said

    June, I’m sorry you had this experience but I’m happy that you are well.
    Big warm hugs from Portugal.

  35. Serena Pullen said

    Dear June,
    So sorry to hear about your dreadful experience. I do hope you get a couple of dogs, and cameras.and maybe learn how to use a gun.

    My friend used to live in SA. And always kept a gun under her bed. She is now living here in the U.K. She said that South Africa is as beautiful as heaven. But so dangerous to live in.

    I was burgled many years ago, they pulled our clothes out all over the floor, and made off with lots of our precious things. (we were out at the time). But I never felt safe or clean in that house again.

    I do hope that once your gates and door are fixed, and you have got all your cameras up and running. And you have two big dogs, very important. They also make lovely loyal friends, you will begin to feel a lot safer.

    I would also like to take this chance to thank you for your generosity in sharing your lovely ideas and creations. I’m very new to crocheting, and have fallen in love with your creations.

    Sending you love, and peace.

  36. Holly B said

    I hate that you went through this, but I’m glad you weren’t physically attacked. And I’m wishing you the speedy return of your peace of mind!

  37. Rebecca said

    “How do you get over something like this? It just fades with time, I suppose?”

    Yes, but there are definitely things you can do to try to make it easier/quicker. I haven’t been through the same things myself, but I do have issues with anxiety. Currently I am trying to separate the productive anxiety from the non-productive. Of course there are real reasons for you to be more anxious now. But once you have taken any additional precautions that police/others have suggested, what’s left is not useful. By separating the two, it’s easier to recognise this (for me at least). I’ve found mindfulness very helpful in dealing with the unwanted anxiety, and my partner helpful in reminding me to separate them and use mindfulness – if he can, perhaps your husband could do the same for you.

    Hugs and good luck with recovering from your terrifying experience.

    • Di said

      Hi June, sorry to hear about what happened. I was broken into twice many years ago but never actually saw the criminals, so I was lucky in that regard. Your experience was scary and you are right to feel as you do. I agree with Rebecca, once you have sorted out the practicalities of the situation, look to you mind’s health. Mindfulness is a great way to deal with anxiety and other issues. It is all very raw at the moment, but if you find that after a number of months you are still feeling the same way you did when it first happened, look at getting help from a counsellor or the like. Sometimes talking helps, sometimes it doesn’t, but you may find one that can give you tips and tricks to help you move on from the experience and build up your resilience. Thinking of you. Di

  38. Sending you lots of love and support around this. So frightening. Take time to take great care of yourself!!

  39. Patrice Steiner said

    June, I’m so sorry to hear about your traumatizing experience — but grateful to know that you weren’t hurt and that your main computer was spared. I can’t imagine how violated and “unsafe” you must feel. I know how I felt when my wallet was stolen from my desk at work, years ago, and I didn’t come face to face with the robbers. Time, and a new security door (do they make them crowbar-proof?) will help. Meanwhile, I pray for your safety and return to peace of mind. Thank you so much for your amazing amigurumi!! I’m a new fan from California and I just love your work!

  40. Sharon said

    So sorry to read this. We were burgled several years ago, not long before Christmas. Very little was taken but I will never forget that awful feeling at the point you realise someone has been in your home and taken things from you. I’m sure in time you will feel less anxious.

  41. wendy said

    I am so sorry you had to experience this. That’s awful! Big hugs from me to you!

    I experienced 2 burglaries when I was still a kid. They came into our home at night when my parents, me and my sis where sleeping. So I totally can comprehend how you must be feeling right now…

    But don’t worrie. It gets better again over time. And you’ll see you’ll come stronger out of it.

    Hugs,
    wendy

  42. Oh, June. I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you! I’ve worried about you since you moved down there, but I’m still stunned that this happened. I just read your update, and you seem to be coping well. Please be very careful!

  43. Patricia Taplin said

    Hi Janet, soooo very sorry to hear of your burglary problems, and I can really understand how unnerving this must have been, and obviously still is, I send all my love and care, and commend you on your lovely crochet patterns, I never stop making the primroses in a planter, so many people love it and I give it as birthday presents, even to our daughter in Australia, its her birthday tomorrow 5th July, and I am longing to hear of her receiving it. So please take heart and know how many relatives friends and fellow crocheters love you. Much love Take care. Patricia Taplin. xx

  44. Luisa said

    I’m so sorry for you… I had your same experience and I know how it hurts…
    please take care. Luisa

  45. Jeanne Schane said

    June, I just now read if your horrifying experience. I’m so glad you are okay. It’s so sad when you are not safe in your own home. They say time heals all, so I’m praying for you to be able to put this behind you I count you as a personal friend although we’ve never met. Do you have a guard dog? Might be worth thinking about. Please take care. Sincerely, Jeanne

  46. Christine said

    June, just read of your experience, so glad YOU are ok. Things can be replaced. Be safe, several years ago, we came home to find someone had gotten into our home and ransacked everything in our bedroom and yes you do feel violated and insecure but it does get better with time (you still remember but not as vividly) just be safe. We care about you!

  47. June Curry said

    Hi June, it’s June. I am so sorry about your horrific experience. I know the feeling. I had been robbed at gunpoint here in the states not far from my home. I realize how surreal it seems at the time and time does stand still. Just remember what doesn’t hurt you makes you stronger. I think that is in a Kelly Clarkson song, now that I think of it. 🙂 For some reason, I have always felt a kinship with you because I love your beautiful patterns. No other have ever compared. And because of our name, there aren’t meant of us around. Just a suggestion, read up on PTSD. It is not just a military affliction. I definitely suffer from it, even though this occurred 40 some years ago. Certain things trigger the memory, but I and you are survivors. Please continue your work. I envy and totally enjoy your talent. Take care. Hugs out to you.

  48. so glad your ok ,people always want what other have I guess its the way of the world now ,hope you can try to put it all behind you

  49. Dear june, my sympathies and wishes that you recover quickly from this awful trauma. Living in SA is tough. We all know at least one person who has been a victim of crime.
    We were burgled twice, at night, while at home. The trauma is huge, and it takes a while to get over it. Here in SA such events are common place, and have an added, terrifying dimension of violence and horror.
    Get help if you don’t recover quickly. PTSD is awful, and you could suffer it after this experience.
    But I’m so happy both you, and PlanetJune are unhurt. God bless you xxx

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