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06 May 2011

Creeping up on you

Obsession has absolutely nothing to do with love, but everything to do with the twilight zone, says Susan Erasmus. Do we specialise in this in SA?

Obsession has absolutely nothing to do with love, but everything to do with the twilight zone, says Susan Erasmus. Do we specialise in this in SA?

The grim story of Andrea Venter, who was allegedly hit in the face and stabbed to death by a stalker ex-boyfriend, must resonate with everyone who has ever been scared of a current or former partner.

While such stalking cases are by no means restricted to SA, we do seem to have an awful lot of these incidents, often involving guns, always involving a jealous ex of some sort, and frequently ending in the death of one or both people. Sometimes a few bystanders get taken out as well.

Given the high degree of violence in our society, it is probably no surprise that this is reflected in people's personal relationships, or the aftermath thereof.

If you're wondering how people get involved with anyone who can do something like this, here's the answer: for months this person will be charm personified, until he or she is absolutely certain that the victim is hooked on their approval. And has been systematically isolated.

Imagine for a moment what this poor woman in Johannesburg went through: she got an interdict against this man, presumably fled to another city, and tried to restart her life, while all the time knowing to which lengths he would go to find her, and what he was capable of doing. And no-one could do anything to help until he actually did something to her. This truly must be the twilight zone. Many people live in it and feel that they are beyond the reach of society's protective measures, such as they are.

 
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