Stalker Stories

Alyssa Rosenberg doubts that the new show Stalker is really, as its creator Kevin Williamson claims, about raising awareness of the problem:

It turns out that one of the main characters on the show, a new detective assigned to the Los Angeles police department’s stalking investigations unit (Dylan McDermott), likes to do a little extracurricular creeping around himself. The message of “Stalker” is split: Stalking can be a hideous, brutal crime, but it is also a spicy little detail that can be used to give a character an exciting frisson of darkness. The National Center for Victims of Crime was so outraged by the show that Michelle Garcia, director of the organization’s Stalking Resource Center, wrote to CBS president and CEO Les Moonves to express her dismay.

Meanwhile, Emily Maloney confesses to having been one of those rare female stalkers:

Not stalked. Researched, I preferred to say. I knew where [my psychiatrist] lived and how many children she had. When she got a divorce, and the kids’ names and ages appeared in the court records, I felt a tingle of glee, just for knowing, which made me feel a little sick. My heart sped up as I scrolled through those records or ones from the county recorder’s office online. Available for anyone to see, I told myself. Public records. …

According to Robert Muller, Ph.D., professor of psychology at York University, and the author of Trauma and the Avoidant Client, there are five kinds of stalkers.

They are overwhelmingly male, lack skills to negotiate basic social interaction, and frequently stalk their victims as an act of revenge. The victims are overwhelmingly female, like my psychiatrist. The types include, in order of ascending creepy magnitude: rejected suitors, intimacy seekers, socially incompetent stalkers, resentful or revenge seekers, and predatory stalkers. Most stalker fantasies include intimacy or violence. They’re mostly of average to above average intelligence, tend to be well-educated, and just over a fifth of them stalk due to mental illness or related factors; the rest do it for anger, retaliation, or control, and they are incredibly good at rationalizing away inappropriate behaviors. Women are far less likely to stalk; when they do, it’s with the hope of increased intimacy, erotomania, or a hope for friendship. Maybe that one was me.