Recently, a 26-year-old man named Eduardo Leon was arrested after he broke into Rihanna’s home to try and allegedly rape the singer, according to TMZ.
He reportedly made himself comfortable and stayed in her home for at least an entire day, making himself at home by charging his phone and unpacking his bag. Luckily Rihanna was not home at the time and Leon was found by an assistant before he was arrested.
According to Business Insider, less than a month ago a 22-year-old man broke into Taylor Swift’s New York townhouse, took a shower and then fell asleep in her bed. And he’s apparently not the only one who’s unlawfully invaded Swift’s space in this manner.
A 38-year-old man was reportedly arrested outside her Beverley Hills home on suspicion of stalking earlier in April. He was wearing a mask and had a knife in his car.
And these are just three recent cases of celebrity stalkers.
What makes someone stalk another? Is it just pure obsession?
“Well, firstly there is no singular type of stalker. There are 5 different categories for stalkers, but the one the average person has to watch out for is the ‘rejected stalker’. This could be an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend,” says a forensic psychologist in Cape Town who preferred not to be named.
Types of stalkers
These are five types of stalkers, according to an article on the University of Michigan website:
Begins to stalk after a close relationship has ended or one party indicates they intend to end things. This type of stalker usually wants to be in a relationship with the victim again or seek revenge on them.
Wants to frighten or distress their victim and the stalking is often an attempt to get revenge.
Stalks their victim with the main goal to attack them (most often sexually), and is motivated by the promise of sexual gratification and power over their victim.
This stalker needs to establish an intimate, loving relationship with the victim and may believe that the victim is in love with them, but they are deluded. They see the victim as their ideal partner and see even negative responses as an encouragement for their behaviour.
Incompetent suitor stalker
This type of stalker is motivated by a desire to start a relationship with the victim. They usually have impaired social skills and usually stalks their victims for short periods of time.
Since 1980, after the fatal shooting of John Lennon by his stalker, the amount of celebrity stalkers increased significantly, and one security company’s analysis of over 5000 letters to celebrities show that over 90% of the people who sent them were somehow mentally disturbed.
Celeb stalkers are often predatory stalkers as seen in Rihanna’s case with erotomania (a delusion where a person believes that someone of a typically higher social status is in love with them) and are often obsessed with their victims and reinterpret everything the victim says and does to convince themselves that their victims are in love with them. This kind of stalker may suffer from acute paranoia or delusions.
Stalking can have varying degrees
“Stalking, like any form of complex human activity, can be the end point of a range of intentions and influences. Similarly, like many other forms of behaviour that cause distress to others, it forms the extreme end of a spectrum of activities ranging from the usually welcomed and mundane to the terrifying and fortunately rare. One of the consequences of the identification and naming of stalking as a form of deviance has been to focus attention on which types of related behaviour are, in current society, acceptable, questionable or to be outlawed,” it says in Stalkers And Their Victims by Paul E. Mullen, Michelle Pathé and Rosemary Purcell.
The forensic psychologist I spoke to says you need to be vigilant with stalking from the beginning. “You can’t always tell which kind of stalker you’re dealing with so you need to be careful from the beginning,” she says. “The person who broke into Rihanna’s house is a predatory stalker.”
This Psychology Today article tells the story of a man named Robert Hoskins who stalked Madonna back in the ‘90s and was completely obsessed with her. He was eventually arrested after scaling a wall into her home a second time and being shot and wounded. He did a 10-year sentence in prison, but even that was not enough to rob him of his obsession. He was eventually found to be mentally disturbed when he was admitted to Atascadero State Hospital.
What are the laws in SA
And while it seems that there are no specific stalking laws to protect victims in South Africa like there are in Western countries, it does seem as if this can be constituted under harassment and victims can apply for a protection order according to LegalWise.
“Harassment can take place in various situations, such as the constant sending of unwanted text messages that will cause some form of harm. It should also be noted that the harm does not always have to be physical, but it can also extend to psychological harm (such as the distress of the person being stalked). Stalking can be a form of harassment where one person keeps following, watches or bothers another person, or constantly posts inappropriate content on that person’s social media accounts. Again, emphasis should be placed that even the stalking must lead to that other person suffering some sort or harm. If there is proof of harassment, a person may apply for a protection order to prevent that other person from harassing him/her,” says the Legal Research Department from LegalWise
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