When stalkers are in the news, it’s usually because they were hauled into court for stalking a celebrity. But the majority of stalkers are non-stranger stalkers, and they are adept at side-stepping the system. Unlike celebrity stalkers — mentally disturbed individuals driven by delusional fantasies that a romantic relationship exists — non-stranger stalkers are sane and in control. They are rational, purposeful and cunning individuals. They premeditate their actions.Mary Lou Leary was the executive director of the US National Center for Victims of Crime from 2005 to 2009. (She now oversees the criminal justice portfolio at the Office if National Drug Control Policy.) Leary says what she found most remarkable about stalking in comparison to other crimes was
- The persistence of the predatory behavior
- Its long-term deleterious effects on the targe
“When you consider the impact that stalking has on a victim’s life, five weeks is forever — five years is incredible,” she marvels. ‘They often have to give up their current life, leave their jobs, their homes, establish a whole new identity.”
It is estimated that more than 50 per cent – some say it’s as high as 90%- of non-stranger stalkers are psychopaths; the rest are malignant narcissists or individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. But they all share common characteristics. Non-stranger stalkers are grandiose, un-empathetic, vindictive, self-centered and aggressive. They don’t take responsibility for their actions, and actually blame the victim for the stalking.
A non-stranger stalker knows he is committing a crime and expects to get away with it. The target is usually someone with whom he once had a relationship, and who –as the stalker sees it- rejected him, and needs to be brought under his control.
When the stalker embarks on a campaign of harassment, threat and pursuit against his ex-partner, he is fueled by revenge. It is malicious behavior set about trying to destroy his ex-partner’s new life and to restore his domination.
Lawyer Rhonda B. Saunders is an internationally recognized expert on stranger and non-stranger stalking. She found that compared to other stalkers, “the stalkers of ex-intimates make up the most dangerous and malevolent group.”