Yesterday, Roger Alverado was arrested after allegedly breaking into Taylor Swift’s New York City brownstone (and, to make things that much creepier, showering and taking a nap). Last weekend, Julius Sandrock was arrested outside her Beverly Hills home on suspicion of stalking; he was found with a sinister collection of items including masks, gloves, rope, and a knife. Earlier this month, Frank Andrew Hoover — the Swift stalker who was previously arrested for violating a restraining order — was sentenced to 10 years of probation after threatening to kill the singer and her family.
But wait, there’s more. Two weeks ago, Bruce Rowley allegedly robbed a bank in Connecticut, drove to Rhode Island and began throwing money over Swift’s fence. And that same day, another man was arrested trying to scale the wall of her Beverly Hills mansion.
Call it what you want, but it seems safe to say that Swift has a stalker problem.
With all the attention being paid to Swift’s flurry of stalking incidents, the singer has an opportunity to push the discussion forward. When she went up against DJ David Mueller, who was eventually found guilty of groping the singer, Swift opted for a jury trial to “serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.” Will Swift pursue similar legal remedy against the men who have more recently attempted to violate her space?
If she does, it could raise some important questions around how stalking laws should evolve in the digital age — and how all women can feel safer in a world where men feel entitled to gain access to us by any means necessary.
In light of the #MeToo movement, we’ve also become more aware of how widespread unwanted male attention is among ordinary women. Discussions playing out on Twitter and beyond reveal how frequently women are followed or made to feel unsafe in public spaces and their own homes.
There may be other factors at play in Swift’s stalking cases — for example, we don’t yet know about the mental state of any of the men involved — and these incidents represent extremes of unwanted male attention. But for Swift, and for any woman, the impact of this attention doesn’t necessary correlate to how “extreme” it appears. Any incident that makes a woman feel unsafe can have a lasting influence on her life.
So in facing these cases, Swift has an opportunity to shine a light on the next step towards equality: women actually being treated like human beings, and not objects, by men.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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