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:~: Tuesday, November 06, 2007 :~:

Guest Blogger: Cynthia Lea Clark

I have taken several of Cynthia's online courses via KOD and she recently presented to our RWA group. She is a wealth of information on pychology and the criminal mind, and I'd like to welcome her to RWKF today!

Cynthia is teaching another course for KOD in January -- Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Homeland Security.



A rose is left at your door step. Romance or something sinister?

There you are working out in a gym, buying groceries, having coffee. Enjoying life. But what happens when someone disrupts that life? A person watches you. He or she stalks your every move. Now maybe this person finds you attractive and is just to shy to say hi or maybe this person is mad because you got that promotion at work instead of them, is a former lover, or worse, this person is a serial killer or a rapist and is watching you, his/her next victim.

Many, many years ago, one might break up with a guy or gal and drive by his or her house to see if there has been a replacement. No one thought twice about this. The same rejected suitor might call the other and hang up once or a hundred times. But then we didn't have caller ID. My times have changed. Now, if you call someone they know immediately it's you. Even if you use a payphone, it would be a good bet it's you. And now it’s called stalking.

I won't give my age, but suffice to say, I drove around the block a few times to see if the lights were on in my day, to see if there was a new car parked out front. Seems harmless and as long as it never gets passed a drive-by or two. And as long as that’s all it is, it is. It's when it becomes an obsession, which now seems to be a past time that we need to worry.

This Blog is called Romance Worth Killing Worth. Ummm. Sounds like a Stalker’s mantra.

Some stalkers think you love him or her too. I will use the one pronoun, him, for sake of ease but know that stalking is an equal opportunity crime.

I could write about any criminal but given the name, I felt stalkers calling to me. There are several types of stalkers and if you yourself haven't driven by an old boy or girl friend's, you may have been stalked or know someone who has been.

Stalkers can be crazies or they can look like average Joe, the guy next store, the Judge in court. Actually, the Judge, the policeman, and the doctor are some of the scariest stalkers. These professions already demand respect and yield power. They are used to getting their way and when they want it they want it. Plus others don't expect these professions to stoop to stalking. They tend to make the victims life even harder as few if any believe that such esteem people would stalk.

Who stalks? Anyone could stalk. As I have stated, a scorned lover, or someone just dumped could be a stalker.

There are many types of stalkers. The largest group of stalkers are those who had some sort of previous relationship with the victim, i.e., a former lover, boss, employee, etc. This group along with the serial killer are the most dangerous. The stalker who had a relationship uses fear to try and win back the victim. This can frequently escalate into violence. The ex may go to the person's place of employment and shoot it up, sometimes shooting the love of his life and other times not. His intent is to show her how deep his love is in the cases where he shoots others and where he shoots her, it is “if I can't have you no one can.”

But not all victims know their stalkers. “Famous” people, those on television, in film, on the radio, etc., may develop fans who suffer from erotomania. Erotomania is where the stalker feels that the stalkee is also in love with them, and is talking directly to them. If they wave, it’s a secret wave to them. Stalkers who suffer from erotomania are mostly women and their victims tend to be older men.

But the “love” stalkers are similar to the erotomania in that they think someone in television, film, radio, Internet, is directly talking to them and shares the same feelings for them as they have. There is no prior real relationship; any relationship is in their mind. Obsessed fans fall into this category. Many have psychological disorders as well and declare themselves as someone’s wife, etc. They make up the second largest group of stalkers.

Other stalkers include the delusional one. This one has little to no contact with the victim. However, they believe that a heavy pursuit will win their suitor. They are unmarried, socially immature, and a loner. They rarely date and have few if any sexual relationships. They go after someone unattainable, an actor, a lawyer, teacher, or a therapist for example. They may have been abused as a child and have no sense of personal identity. They are tenacious and will stalk for years until stopped. Any contact, even negative, such as arrests encourages them.
The vengeful stalker tends to be a former employee or someone in a position to consider him wronged. He is probably paranoid. He stalks to plot getting even.

The False Victimization Syndrome is a rather clever stalker who accuses her victim of stalking her. Her goal is to illicit sympathy and get her target into trouble. They tend to be female.
The Terroristic Stalker is generally male. He suffers from a psychopathic personality however has no mental disorder. He tends to seek out his family members. And anonymously harasses them. And there is a trigger or a precipating stressor.

The Psychotic Personality Stalker can be male or female. They target random strangers and develop delusions and then fixate. They do attempt to contact their prey. There is no precipating stressor.

When stalkers begin their campaign of fear they use numerous techniques including, telephone calls (harassing, threatening, hang-ups, etc.), letters, emails, following, surveillance, photos, videos, ordering unwanted goods on the victim’s behalf and sending them COD, and threatening the victim, their family, and their property.

With the Internet, cyber-stalking has added a new dimension to the terror that can be delivered. Instant messages of terror, emails, chats, pretending to be someone else, hacking, sending viruses, Trojans, monitoring cell phones, posing as the victim on the Internet all cause more grief and trouble.

Males make up 90% of the stalkers and are 20% of the victims. 65% of the males stalked know their stalker and 30% of these are by a former intimate partner.

Most of the male stalking victims are most likely to be stalked by another male.

80% of female stalking victims know their stalkers and 59% of them are stalked by a former intimate partner. 81% of these women were physically assaulted. 31% were physically and sexually assaulted.

Male stalkers are more likely to have a criminal background and drug abuse than a female stalker. Males are more likely to stalk strangers.

Females are likely to stalk their therapists.

Women stalk to establish or maintain intimacy with their target.

Men stalk to restore an intimate relationship.

Non violent stalkers are more likely to have had only a casual relationship with their target.

20% of stalkers use weapons as a threat or to harm their targets.

Only 53% of those stalked report it to the police.

Those who are stalked suffer from post traumatic stress, sleep disturbances, substance abuse, suicidology, irritation, agitation, nervousness, they have relationship problems, and suffer with decreased school or work performance.

To escape a stalker a victim might move, change their name, change their job, stay inside, stop socializing, change their appearance, change their phone number, and they may start carrying a weapon.

Next time you receive an unexpected rose….think about it, a sweet smelling rose of romance or is a stalker lurking?

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark
Forensic Psychopathologist



Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Great info, Cynthia! Thanks so much for being here today.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Really enjoyed this -- adding to my notes on stalkers (and it's really topical, since I'm editing my book that involved a stalking situation).

Yes, thanks for sharing!

6:10 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Great post, stalkers are so wonderfully creepy.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

They are creepy, aren't they? Cynthia did a nice job of portraying just how creepy.

Stalkers have been overused in fiction for that very reason--I'm guilty of it myself. Can you give us some information that would help us twist stalkers into new and differnt ways?

Thanks for blogging, Cynthia!

7:35 PM  
Blogger Cheryl Norman said...

This is good information. My new book involves a stalker, so your guest blog is timely. Thanks so much! Cheryl

8:30 AM  

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