In 1990, California passed the country’s first ever anti-stalking statute after a deluded fan killed a famous television actress. The law defines stalking as an unwanted and repeated contact with a certain person that causes that person to feel that their life is in danger. Private investigators in Colorado are among the few experts who understand how to deal with this odd character. Several studies have been conducted to try and understand them. What were they able to find out?
The Relentless Neurotic Nature
In 2006, Brian Spitzberg, a psychologist from the San Diego State University organized an extensive study regarding the stalking behavior across three continents. He discovered that eight to 32 percent of females and two to 13 percent of males became victims of stalking at one point in their life, and most of the time the culprit was someone they knew.
The incessant obsessive stalkers badger their targets by repeatedly contacting them and sending them gifts or letters. If these actions don’t get the attention of their victims, they will resort to more invasive approaches like unexpectedly confronting them or spying on them. The research only concentrated on the impact on the victim’s lives, but it doesn’t analyze the motives of the stalkers and how to treat them.
The Possible Reasons for the Behavior
Katrina Baum, a researcher from the National Institute of Justice in Washington, started the national stalking victimization study in 2009. The study involved asking victims plausible reasons why they are chosen as a target. Out of 3,416,460 participants, 23.4 percent replied “mental illness or emotional stability,” 32.9 percent believed it was “control” and 36.6 percent said “retaliation, anger or spite.”
In reality, the majority of stalkers doesn’t experience delusions or hallucinations. However, there are still a few who suffer from some form of mental illness like personality disorders, erotomania, substance abuse and depression.
The motives for each stalker differs and just like psychopaths, no one really knows what’s happening in their twisted minds. Several studies have tried to peer inside their brain processes, but failed. In time, researchers will be able to figure out the trigger for these odd characters.