Verdens Gang 26th May 1995
THIRTEEN YEARS OF SEX TERROR
For thirteen years, Heidi Schøne, from Drammen has been sexually harassed and terrorised by a man she met on a holiday when she was eighteen years old.
The man started off with telephone and letter harassment. When he was rejected, he continued with terrorising her friends, showing up in person at her door, and death threats.
"I have begged, cried and threatened to make him leave me alone, but it has not helped", says the frustrated Heidi.
As an eighteen year old she gave her address to a slightly peculiar, obtrusive Englishman. In this way began thirteen years of fear and sex terror for Heidi.
When the half Arab, Muslim man was rejected by her later on, he started with obscene phone calls, death threats, threatening letters, showing up in person at her door and harassing her friends for years and years.
Psychiatrists think that the behaviour of the Englishman possesses all the symptoms of erotic paranoia: the sick person is convinced that another person is in love with him or her.
Moving to a secret address and getting a secret telephone number didn't help. Suddenly a postcard dropped into the letterbox saying "Freddie's back" - taken from the horror film with the main character with the name Freddie Kruger. "He found me again! Me and my family were threatened with our lives and he came to my door many times. At one door he wrote 'Fuck you' with a knife".
"It didn't help moving to a secret address and getting a secret telephone number".
Heidi Schøne was born and raised in Bergen, and stayed for a while in England as an au pair with a family. She and her friend had a trip to Paris.
On the ferry she became aware of a person watching her from a distance. "When we came to the train, he sat down with the same group of young people that I was with. He was a Muslim, five to six years older than us and proved to have strong opinions about life, among other things. We thought that he was somehow a bit peculiar, but completely harmless".
"I liked him. We had a cup of tea together with him and later on we had some contact, but purely as friends. He would marry a Muslim girl, he said".
But sometime after Heidi had returned to Bergen, the harassment started. At the time she had a boyfriend in Bergen, but she still was followed by the Englishman.
"I let him in the beginning. He was very manipulating. He had bombarded me with telephone calls and letters telling me that I was stupid, and that nobody but him wanted me. At one point he did obscene things while I had to watch. The funny thing was that I started to believe him bit by bit."
"It was all so unreal and I felt ashamed. I was more and more frightened, and isolated myself. For long periods of time I didn't go out. I lay down under the bed when the doorbell rang. I just couldn't open the door.".
"Those I spoke to said that it would probably stop. He was probably just a bit too eager, a persistent sort of guy".
She involved just a few people in the case and thought for a very long time that it would stop; "The ones I spoke to, said that it would probably stop. He was probably just a bit too eager. Nobody took it seriously".
But the Englishman had hired a private detective, and managed to trace her time after time. In strange ways he also managed to collect sensitive information about persons close to Heidi. He sent this to her, and she was able to show it to the police.
But the years went by, and when Heidi was about to marry her boyfriend, Runar Schøne, an unpleasant and obscene letter was sent to her from the Englishman indicating that he knew her sexually. "When I think about it now, about how I was manipulated, I just get so angry. I didn't understand it but after a while when I realised he had to be sick I gained my self-respect back. I have begged, cried and threatened him to leave me alone, but it has not helped", says Heidi.
Three years ago she threw away all the material she had received from the Englishman. She wanted to burn him out of her life, but in vain.
"The last half year I have received 30 to 40 consignments of letters, postcards and books. Books about AIDS or abortion. As if I have AIDS? I have also recorded him on tape".
"When I think about it today, how I was manipulated, I just get so angry".
And on this tape she has made him admit things. This and the latest consignment of letters she will hand over to her lawyer, Tomm Skaug, who will try to stop the Englishman.
Psychiatrists think that the threatening and lovesick Englishman who has bugged Heidi Schøne for 13 years might suffer from erotic paranoia.
"I don't know this particular case, and do believe that if this can be called erotic paranoia, this is an extreme case", says the Professor in Psychiatry Nils Rettersdøl.
Erotic paranoia is a disease of the mind in which a person has a misconception that another person is in love with him or her. "To wish or imagine that someone is in love with you is truly a normal phenomena, but the sick person is totally convinced that this is how it actually is, and won't be talked out of it".
In German psychiatry the suffering is called erotic self-seduction, other people call it "old maids psychosis".
MOST OFTEN WOMEN
It most often strikes woman and mostly women in their menopause. Among the known cases of this is a woman who has this relationship towards a male person who has authority and is exposed, for example the local priest. The person who is suffering from this, has no idea of it. The sick person can plan a wedding and won't be talked out of it.
Erotic paranoia is hard to heal. "It just stops after a couple of years", says Professor in psychiatry, Nils Rettersdøl.
"However, persons with erotic paranoia are seldom directly mean - it can of course be unpleasant and absolutely unwanted that a woman rises up in the congregation and proclaims her imagined relationship with the priest, or another official authority.
But direct unfriendliness like in this case is not normal. The very case described here must be in some extreme form, in that case. It is hard to heal erotic paranoia; most often it just stops after some years by itself. But seldom have the sick the insight and the understanding that it is wrong and imagined", says Rettersdøl.
Just below a full page photograph of Heidi and her husband, sombrely looking at my letters to her with the Aids and Abortion Christian booklets on the kitchen table before them, ran the caption:
Heidi Schøne (31) has for 13 years lived under terror of the half-Arab Englishman she met on a trip to Paris - "He sought me out regardless of where I moved to. He said that I and my family would be killed".
"On one occasion, he did obscene things which I had to watch. The strange thing was that I gradually began to believe him" Heidi Schøne (31).
Below this photo, another sub-story:-
BERGEN (VG) "Personally, I would have reacted rather strongly to being subjected to this sort of thing", says police constable Gunnar Fossum of Nedre Eiker police office.
He received the report from the Schøne family and made the preliminary preparations for investigation. The Telecommunications Administration ('Televerket') connected up the nuisance callers search system to the Schøne family's telephone number.
Among the documents held by Fossum is a lot of written material containing apparently factual intimate personal particulars concerning Heidi Schøne. He translated these into good Norwegian before he sent them to Heidi's husband and to neighbours, family and friends.
"It was when this happened last winter that we decided to go to a lawyer and to the police", husband Runar Schøne says.
"I have seen how terribly nervous Heidi becomes, now that this is happening again. He must have got a hold of her mentally. It is unbelievable how well she manages after so many years of being terrorized", Runar says.
"I myself have had a telephone call from the Englishman. He just screamed in English what were probably swear words".