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Friday, 21 October 2011

FIDDAMAN - False Victimization Syndrome:

This occurs when an individual attempts to convince others that he or she is being stalked through the invention of claims made to re-establish a failing relationship and/or gain attention (Zona, Palarea, and Lane, 1998).

Individuals who exhibit these characteristics may also fit the criteria for histrionic personality disorder (DSM-IV, 1994): demanding to be the center of attention, shallow expression of emotions which shift rapidly, and speaks in a manner that is overly impressionistic and lacking in detail.

* This is not to be confused with situations where a stalker claims to be a victim of stalking. Oddly, sometimes a stalker will feel victimized by the person he or she is stalking. This is referred to as projective identification. In other words, the stalker's rage at being rejected (and other unconsciously disowned stalking-related attributes) is "projected" or "put" into the true victim, so that the true victim is now perceived by the stalker to have this rage (attributes/behaviors) and directing it back, hence stalking the stalker.

* A notable problem with the False Victimization Syndrome (FVS) is that it wastes valuable resources. More importantly, FVS is rare and the few cases that do occur should not undermine the reporting and investigation of legitimate stalking cases.

* A conceptual model that categorizes false allegations was developed by Mohandie, Hatcher, and Raymond (1998). Three types of false victimization syndromes are delineated.

1. a. Hysterical paralysis: An example of this would be converting a psychological distress into physiological problems. There are often secondary gains to having a paralyzed limb, such as not having to participate in a stressful or frightening event.

b. Munchausen: An individual intentionally creates or feigns physical or psychological symptoms in order to assume the sick role.

c. Munchausen by proxy: The intentionally produced or feigned physical or psychological symptoms in another person, such as a child, under one's care and indirectly assuming the sick role.

2. Known perpetrator:

a. Single event

b. Multiple event (stalking):

3. Unknown perpetrator:

a. Single event:

b. Multiple event (stalking)

The last two categories are similar, save the obvious difference that one involves claiming to have known the perpetrator and the other involves stating that the perpetrator is unknown. Also, these last two types entail more complex motivations and sophistication of procedures by the false victim than the other types (1a, 1b, and 1c).

The characteristics that classify FVS type 2 and 3 similarly are

* multiple situations over time when the victim has been alone with no witnesses and is approached by the suspect;

* major incidents begin as noncriminal contact, but then advance quickly to criminal contact;

* the victim reports these criminal contacts based on what has been learned from the media or someone known to the false victim who has reported these occurrences;

* and claiming to have received injuries, letters, phone calls, threats, followed, or chased.

Given the fact that authorities will be assessing the veracity of stalking victims' claims, having a written documentation of events, saved evidence, and available witnesses makes gaining support and assistance less problematic. For an example on how to document stalking events, see the Logbook.

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