The stalker profile involves multiple descriptions, definitions and dimensions. With the advent of the Information and Communications Technology, cyber stalking has gradually grown to become a serious concern for law enforcement and anyone engaged in online activities. Presented is a brief overview of stalker typologies.
The typologies of stalkers are theoretical descriptions shared by both the cyber and physical stalkers. The goal of victim prevention is to first understand their rationale for acting as a predator and then developing strategies to prevent becomingg a victim. Learning to profile and predict the stalker & cyber stalker greatly reduces the predator’s objective of causing you or your loved ones psychological and physical harm.
Stalking is defined as a behavior wherein a person willfully and repeatedly engages in conduct directed towards another person who, if known by the victim, causes significant concern and fear. The predator that initiates and sustains the stalking behavior(s) may or may not recognize he/she is causing their victim serious alarm, perceptual torment and the unfortunate experience of being terrorized.
Stalking involves one person’s obsessive behavior toward another person. Initially, stalking usually takes the form of annoying, threatening or obscene telephone calls, emails or letters. During this period, the victim views the stalker’s actions as more of a form of harassment as opposed to an escalating dangerous situation. Once the harassment stage has been established, it is during this period the potential victim needs to contact law enforcement. It is also crucial to begin keeping a written log documenting each time the stalker makes contact.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals view most stalkers as suffering from a psychiatric illness(s) causing them to be psychotic or delusional. When not deemed as psychotic, stalkers are considered plagued by some type of personality disorder or fueled by unique psychological factors. In the most severe cases, the stalker is defined as a predatory stalker or sociopath.
Whatever the psychological rationale may be, the stalker rarely comprehends the fear he/she is causing the other person. Blinded by his/her motivations to be stalking someone in the first place causes them to lose sight of the fear and terror they are causing. When anger, rage and hostility towards the victim are involved, the stalker is fully aware of the anguish he/she is causing, but feels the victim is deserving of the fear or simply does not care. In 1999, Australian stalking expert, Dr. Paul Mullen, and a group of investigators identified five types of stalkers, which, remains applicable today for stalkers and cyber stalkers and as follows:
I. Rejected Stalkers: This type of stalker is motivated to pursue their victim in attempt to reverse what they perceive as a wrongful set of circumstances causing a prior divorce, separation or termination of a relationship. These offenders either feel misunderstood hoping to reverse the break up or feel angry and seeking revenge because their attempts at reconciliation with the victim has failed in the past.
II. Resentful Stalkers: This type of stalker can be dangerous given their perceived motivation for stalking. Resentful stalkers are fully aware the victim is cognizant of the stalking, but continues to fulfill a distorted vendetta he/she feels is warranted. Fear and distress experienced by the victim are the goals of this type of stalker. For this type of profile, the stalker believes the victim both deserves and requires being frightened because they have caused them and/or others anguish and distress.
III. Intimacy Seekers: This type of stalker does not have ill will towards their victim and simply wants to engage in a loving relationship with them. Intimacy seekers view their victims as their soul mate destined to be together at all costs. Within their mind, they believe it is their job and purpose to ensure destiny of a loving relationship is fulfilled. Intimacy seeker stalkers are often the segment of men or women who harass celebrities and public figures. Blinded by their distorted perceptions of a destined love, they lose sight of the distress and fear they’re causing the person they stalk.
IV. Incompetent Suitors: These individuals who fit this profile are stalkers deeply enamored with their victim. Their interest for the victim at times can reach a state of fixation whereby their entire waking life is focused on the endeavor of one day becoming a couple. They tend to lack social, communication or courting skills and may feel entitled that their fantasy of a loving relationship is inevitable. Feeling entitled and/or deserving of a relationship with the victim inspires the stalker to gradually increase their frequency of contact. Although similar to the Intimacy Seeker stalker, incompetent suitors are more gradual in their means and methods of contact.
V. Predatory Stalkers: Of the five types, the predatory stalker is by far the most dangerous and determined. This type of stalker is motivated by a perverted sexual need. They engage in actively planning an attack and premeditate as the predator how he will go about engaging in a sexual act(s) with his victim. They do not have feelings of love for their victim nor motivated by a belief of predestination. Their fuel to dominate and victimize resembles the sociopath experiencing little to no remorse for the welfare of their victim.
Understanding the types of stalker and what motivates them is the first step in reducing the probability of becoming one of their victims. Unfortunately, many men, women and society in general minimize the stalker profile and mistakenly view these people as “unfortunate souls looking for love.” What people fail to understand is most of these predators engaged in stalking suffer troublesome psychiatric illnesses, psychological issues, or motivated by urges to sexually dominate their victim(s).
Every year in the United States alone, over 1 million women and 370,000 men are stalked. Roughly 80% of women and 65% of men know the identity of their stalker. Regarding stalking activity, more than 66% of stalkers engage in pursuit of their victim at least one time weekly. Cyber stalking and online predators are new dangers since the birth of the Internet twenty years ago. People ranging in age from children to seniors now use the Internet for a multitude of reasons. As millions of people use Information and Communications Technology (ICT), millions more will become victims. The Information Age has created an entirely new breed of stalker called the cyberstalker.
Robert O’Block is founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). ACFEI is the largest professional forensic education organization in the world and honored to have as its advisory board members many of the top forensic experts of the 21st century. As all humanity now thrives in the Information Age, Dr. O’Block & ACFEI continues to investigate development of forensic educational services that incorporate Information and Communications Technology. Plans have been made to one day offer the forensic field educational services focused on Cyber Justice, iPredator, Cyber Criminal/Forensic Psychology and Digital Forensics.
Feel free to visit their website at www.acfei.com. If interested in contacting Dr. O’Block or ACFEI, their phone number is (800) 423-9737.