Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An Australian Study on Stalking

By David Simms, Senior Contributor

A study was done on convicted stalkers in an Australian mental health unit. It was determined there were 5 distinct types based on predominant behaviours and the context in which the stalking occurred.  There was also a psychiatric diagnosis made on all subjects involved. This categorisation is now applied to cyber stalkers as their actions and motivations are identical. 

1) The Rejected stalker is one who has already had an intimate relationship with the victim and is not accepting the relationship coming to an end. Their behaviour is expressed as a blend of revenge and a desire to reconcile with the victim.

2) The Intimacy seeker stalker is one who tries to have a relationship with a person they have been fixated on and thinks reciprocates their feelings.   

3)  The Incompetent suitor stalker is someone who wants to develop relationships but they are usually socially incompetent and intellectually challenged to the point a healthy relationship is impossible. 

4) Resentful stalkers are those that harass their target to intentionally cause fear out of the want to pay back for the wrongs they perceive were done to them by the victim. 

5) Predatory stalkers are those who gather personal information and observe a target in anticipation of a sexual attack.

No matter how we look at it, someone who possesses a stalker mentality, regardless of type, is a potential threat. It is true these characteristics have been among us since the beginning of civilisation but with the creation of the world wide web, it allows these deviancies to manifest in ways we could never have anticipated. The internet stalker can be argued to be a much more menacing presence than a real-world one mainly because of the 24/7 access they have to their victim.  Staking someone out online is technically much easier.  Whereas a stalker in the physical world has the obstacles of getting around to keep track of their target and also the much higher risk of being identified and caught, online stalkers can remain in the comfort of their anonymity without leaving home. Being able to trace where a person goes on the internet tells troves of information about them. It is commonly claimed by victims that stalkers get into their minds.  This is one of the reasons they are so dangerous. Because they are able to play with people’s reality, it can have devastating effects in other areas of their lives.  It also can easily become a lifelong trauma for the victim.  Even if their cyber stalker is apprehended and the activity ceases, a victim must carry distrust and self-doubt when it comes to interacting with anyone in the future.