Have I ever feared for my safety in a dating / hooking-up situation? Yes.
Did I get a restraining order? No. Should I? Perhaps. Let me change that answer to "Yes".
I was young and the most naive girl in Wanganui - bar no-one. I made the ludicrous Play Misty for Me mistake, that many young radio announcers do, and went on on a date with a listener.
Big mistake. Huge mistake. The guy was a lunatic-stage-five-clinger who went completely psycho and wouldn't leave me alone until he, on his own recognisance, left town.
I saw him years later and shivers went up and down my spine. I'll add that I did not sleep with the guy or even kiss him. The man was crazy.
I Googled "Restraining orders New Zealand" before I started writing this. I also took my pants off, but that's only because I write better with my pants off.
I've convinced myself all great writers write with their pants off - even Hemingway. I imagine him sat down with a bottle of whiskey, his sea cap, and in only his jocks and a hoodie. I'm so Hemingway right now.
According to my findings, to get a restraining order there must be some fear for your safety. It would appear you must be receiving threatening messages or phone calls and genuinely fear for the safety of yourself and maybe your family.
There are thousands of men and women in our country who quite possibly should get restraining orders placed on people (are they placed on them?) but fail to do so, so as not to "cause a fuss".
We Kiwis should cause more of a fuss. I don't know how many women and men lose their lives or are harmed despite a restraining order. Sadly, I can only imagine that an order does not provide either a cloak of invisibility or a magnetic shield. Scientists should work on that. There is no price too high when it comes to safety.
The reason I became all aware of the restraining order thing is because recently a good friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend.
It was a true Romeo and Juliet love story. And after both had broken each others' hearts into shattered shards, the girl realised she still loved the bloke and started emailing and texting him a lot of "I'm so sorry!" and "I love you!" and "You told me I was your one and only true love! Please take my calls!"
From what she's told me she tried to be goofy, sincere, funny and a little despo. In return he ignored her. His friends told her she was acting a little loco and maybe she should move on.
After a couple of weeks she did move on, as you do, and found herself new loves: Hot yoga and Vietnamese cooking classes. She also met a nice man - who may have been a smidge married - and stopped the "I love you" texts.
In the meantime, Romeo realised he still loved Juliette, broke up with a wee potter he'd been seeing and called his lady love to proclaim: "I need you. I love you. I adore you. Please take me back."
They are now happily engaged and living together, but she revealed to me last week that one of his female friends had strongly suggested he take out a restraining order against her.
Excuse me? A restraining order? It's not like she was stabby or snooty or punchy or even calling at 2am.
It wasn't like she'd made physical threats or even followed him - that's hard. We all wanna do the drive by.
But, no she'd done nothing stalky or threatening and yet the idea of a restraining order was being bandied around like getting tickets for a Madonna concert.
Since when did we become a generation of people who come up with such idiotic solutions for simple life problems? Are these the same idiots who would cut off a foot because they had a stubborn blister? I was gobsmacked.
Let's leave restraining orders, and even talk of them, for people in trouble. People who live in fear. People with unbalanced psychos threatening them with physical harm.
I will now return to the bedroom and put my pants back on.
PS. If you want to see a movie that terrifies radio personalities 40 years on, watch Play Misty for me and let it be a lesson to us all.
Where to get help:
If it is an emergency and you or someone you know is at risk, call 111.
• Women's Refuge: 0800 733 843
• Victim Support: 0800 842 846
• Lifeline: (09) 522 2999
• Family Violence Info Line: 0800 456 450