Stalkers: Watch Out for These 5 Types at Your Campus

5 Types of Stalkers

Posted on 11 January 2016 |

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stalker typesThe Stalking Resource Center (SRC) provides the following definition of stalking: a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. The SRC also warns that stalking is serious, often violent and can escalate over time.

To help educate the public about stalking, the SRC made January National Stalking Awareness Month. To do our part and spread awareness, we’ve written about important things higher education campuses need to know about stalking and how campuses can help prevent stalking.

Now, we are going to examine five different types of stalkers to help with threat assessment and safety planning on your campus.

Five Different Types of Stalkers

To be clear, not all stalkers are the same, nor will they all fit into a specific type or category. These are general classifications presented by End Stalking In America, which provides information about stalking to the public as well as assistance to stalking victims, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

1. Simple Obsessional

This is the most common type of stalker and is typically a man. In most cases, these stalkers had a close relationship with the victim. For example, they were married or dating. But then, when the victim calls off the relationship, the stalker refuses to accept it.

Many times, the stalker has maintained a certain level of control over the victim throughout the relationship, and when it ends, their worst fear—losing that control—is realized. This causes the stalker to try and regain that control out of desperation. And this makes them very dangerous.

2. Love Obsessional

This type of stalker can be a stranger or a casual acquaintance. These stalkers usually focus on a celebrity or public figure; however, they also focus on non-celebrities too.

For this type of stalker, a minor interaction such as being polite by offering a smile to a stranger or a casual conversation outside of class can be seen as a sign of true love. Once they find a target, this type of stalker proceeds with a campaign of harassment to make the object of their affection aware of their feelings.

The stalker’s belief that he or she and the victim belong together overrides their fear of negative consequences and makes them prone to dangerous behaviors.

3. Erotomania

This type of stalker incorrectly believes that the victim is in love with him or her, and they would be together if not for an external obstacle or interference. In many cases the victim is in a position of power or a celebrity. And the type of stalker is usually a woman.

Because the stalker views the victim more as an object they need to own, and not a person, they pose a great risk to those perceived to be “in the way”—the victim’s spouse, family or close friends.

4. Serial

This type of stalker has a pattern of stalking. They do not need a prior relationship with the victim to trigger the stalking behavior because it’s just what they’ve been doing for years. Also, they might be stalking more than one victim at the same time or even within the same household.

5. False Victim

While extremely rare, this type involves someone who victimizes themselves. They consciously or subconsciously want to play the role of the victim because they want the attention.

In some instances, the stalker harasses their family or friends to create false evidence or witness reports. They might weave a complex story involving another person as the perpetrator when in reality that person is the victim, making this type of stalker delusional and manipulative.

Bring Awareness to Your Campus Through Training

While not all stalkers are the same, they do all have one thing in common: they are very dangerous to their victims. Stalking on campus isn’t something that should be taken lightly, especially because it affects everyone—faculty, administrators, staff and students.

To bring awareness and to educate your campus how to respond, we offer online compliance training that covers the many different facets of sexual violence, including stalking.


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