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(en) Italy, FDCA, Cantier #24: STALKING: WHAT POINT IS THE NIGHT - Marilina Veca (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 10 Apr 2024 11:53:18 +0300

Stalking: a form of perverse and malignant attachment to another, who, no longer being perceived as an autonomous person, is emptied of human characteristics and reduced to a mere object by the harasser. ---- The English term literally means 'to stalk' and derives from hunting language to indicate the behavior of a predatory animal that implements strategies in order to capture prey. In Italian, where there is no single equivalent term, it was decided to use the term 'nagging harassment' (Galeazzi, Curci, 2001). ---- The type of crime, in our country, has in fact been definitively included in the penal code with article 612 bis in Law 38/2009.

Stalking is a social phenomenon that is still very submerged in its dimensions.

In most cases the violence is received from people known to the victim: often a person who has developed a morbid criminal "way of loving" and is not resigned to the end of a relationship.

The mass media, very often, when this type of "criminal love" leads to a murder, speaks of 'mad murders', they speak of 'raptus', but when we are faced with a passion murder, the raptus , has nothing to do with the murderous dynamic that concludes a path of obsessive harassment.

"Criminal love" is instead characterized by a continuum, by a path, a path that began far away and which has its own more or less rapid crescendo. It started a long time ago also because the subjects who will commit this crime, as children, most likely experienced attachment bonds which in some way failed, because they were probably dysfunctional, to transmit to them that trust, that self-confidence, on which the development of the individual should be based on and on which his personality should be structured; this is because probably those who had to take care of these children have established relationships with them based on bonds characterized by insecurity and instability, characteristics that have inevitably been transmitted to these children who over time in many cases also begin to demonstrate profound anguish from separation.

The stalker experiences the relationship with the chosen figure as the object of his distorted love in light of deep wounds that are rooted in the past and which also lead to very serious psychopathologies, including serious disturbances in the affective sphere, separation anxiety/anguish, problems related to addiction and in some cases also the so-called 'borderline personality disorder' which encompasses all these aspects.

We remind you that 'borderline', a term derived from the English language, literally means "at the limit", "marginal" and in psychopathology it indicates a very serious disorder that lies on the border between neurosis and psychosis, defined in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders as a "pervasive modality of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affectivity with notable impulsivity, which appeared within early adulthood and is present in various contexts".

The person suffering from borderline personality disorder experiences difficulty in establishing stable interpersonal relationships; moving from the most complete idealization to absolute devaluation. These people feel, in short, that they do not exist without someone else, so they tend to establish relationships characterized by complete dependence. The emotional reference person becomes absolutely vital for the individual suffering from this disorder. Faced with the possibility of abandonment, the person suffering from borderline disorder feels a real feeling of annihilation, of emotional catastrophe: the person he loved, from an angel he was, transforms in her eyes into a devil.

All this can lead him to outbursts of violent anger, anger, hostility and to carry out destructive behaviors for himself and for others.

For these subjects, loving and being loved means completely possessing the other.

These subjects cannot even imagine that the other could leave them: the other must be at their complete disposal and over time this will cause profound relational discomfort.

The moment the other, let's say, somehow no longer accepts to recite this script, then the patterns will break down and the dependent person will not accept, he will experience that possibility of abandonment as something absolutely intolerable.

The danger lies in the fact that in persecution the stalker tries to recreate an exclusive relationship with the victim, that relationship that he lost because he had it or because he believed he had it: in stalking the victim is dominated by the fixed thought of his persecutor, he spends his days as a function of the fear and anguish that letters, threats, stalking, messages continually bring into his day. Because at a certain point the rejected person will say to himself: "either mine or no one else's". And this is somehow the aim that this subject proposes in his pathological and indispensable thirst for "love", namely a total and unconditional possession, a refusal to accept the other's choice of freedom.

Stalking, even when it does not result in a criminal act, is characterized by a slow and constant preparation and maturation, which is constantly accompanied by the presence of obsessive ideas about the love object which over time and increasingly cancel out the ability to criticism and control, to the point of influencing the entire life of the person who lives only as a function of that obsession.

The stalker follows a long journey characterized by a large accumulation of internal tension, of anger, which desperately seeks a way to unload. When the first material element of stalking arrives (the first anonymous letter, the first message) we could read it as a real relief valve, "a scream to be heard by those who don't understand or don't have the patience to want to understand. His gesture is communicative and symbolic." (Marinella Cozzolino, Family crimes. When love becomes tragedy, Armando Editore, Milan 2006).

In many cases, these ambiguous feelings, these discomforts, very deep and of which no one is aware and which are nourished for years, suddenly explode and tell us about stories and people whose paths meet at a certain point. They tell us about lives broken by deep wounds, about individuals who seek an impossible cure in relationships that will never arrive. These stories tell us about a deep pain that will cause more pain.

The mass media very often speak, as we have said, of madness, of rapture, or write "Stalking: the betrayed husband was stalking his wife", often using a light, winking tone, allowing something to be glimpsed or perceived in the woman's conduct. which prompts the reader to ask "but what did she do to that man to get all this?", or confuses the stalker with the rapist, with the violent husband. The topic is generally treated with extreme superficiality, using the term stalking for any type of harassment, speaking with very little respect for the victim, implying who knows what murky background. Let's say that little has changed since the first rape trials where the entire judging attitude was against the victim and not towards the executioner under the banner of "if she must have asked for it!".

Today the stalker can carry out various behaviors, prolonged over time and consisting of sending messages from 'disposable' phones with abusive and threatening content, in the creation of a fake profile on 'social media' which is highly offensive towards the offended person , in stalking, intrusions, etc.

On any given day your letterbox or your email inbox can become the lair of a poisonous snake, the most devious, the most cowardly, the most ignoble: it can contain one of the vilest tools of psychological and emotional torture used against a person.

An anonymous letter or message.

It's the beginning of a nightmare.

The letters are generally accompanied by other forms of persecution, stalking and threats.

It is a continuous, sick and perverse intrusion into private and working life, it is the systematic denial of personal freedom and dignity.

The main motivation for persecution against another human being is the loss of power and control over him, it is the manifestation of the fragility of a dominant role that proves increasingly powerless to dominate and coerce, it is the loss of one's own meaning in life and the center of one's self.

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