02 November 2005

Most stalkers are known

Hollywood stars are not the only ones that get stalked. The majority of stalking cases involve ordinary people, most of whom know their stalkers.

Famous Hollywood stars are not the only ones that get stalked. The majority of stalking cases involve ordinary people. And contrary to popular belief, most of those who stalk others know their victims, says a British psychologist.

At least half of stalkers are former partners, who cannot overcome bitterness or hatred towards their victims, says Dr Lorraine Sheridan, professor of psychology at the University of Leicester in England. These stalkers tend to be hostile and impulsive and are likely to resort to violence.

Stalking often starts as a result of rejection and this motivates the stalker to seek revenge.

Stalkers are usually loners, becoming obsessed with their victims and bombard them with messages, emails, gifts, or abuse.

Personality profiles of stalkers
After studying 124 stalker cases, Sheridan presented a report at a science conference of the four types of personality profiles of stalkers.

Sheridan found that 50% of stalkers are ex-partners, people who can't and wont accept that a relationship has come to an end.

Almost 20% are infatuated with their target, believing that he or she is in love and can create an entire relationship in their head.

Just over 15% are delusional, usually with a history of mental illness, and cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality. They do not respond to reason or rejection.

The fourth type, comprising almost 13% of stalkers, are sadistic and obsessed with their victim. This type has a mission is to get even or take revenge, even though he or she may never have met the victim.

The study was conducted to assist the police in prioritising factors and understanding the motivation behind stalker cases.

This is especially important when the same behaviour may relate to different levels of danger by different stalker types, Sheridan explained in her report. – (Health24)


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