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Female same gender stalking: A brief review of the literature and case report

Felice Carabellese, Chiara Candelli, Donatella La Tegola, Egle Alfarano & Roberto Catanesi

Forensic Science International

Available online 30 March 2013

 

Abstract

The authors analyze a rare case of female same gender stalking that came to their observation as forensic psychiatry experts. Despite previously only heterosexual experiences, the woman, who was 30 in 2002, had three intimate same gender relationships in succession from 2002 to 2009: she broke off with each woman in order to take up with another. When she separated from the third woman she began violent persecutory behavior against her, in the form of harassment coming under the heading of stalking, and was reported to the authorities.

 

In treatment with SSRI since 2003 for an anxiety disorder with panic episodes, she had been taking the drugs irregularly during the stalking period. At the end of the third relationship, after she had violently attacked her girlfriend she was advised by her family to present to a Hospital center in Northern Italy. There, she was diagnosed with a "Narcissistic Paranoid Personality Disorder", and it was hypothesized that the SSRI she was taking could have induced hypo/manic episodes and disinhibition in the woman, who had previously been heterosexual. At this hospital, mood stabilizers were prescribed. The defending lawyer therefore applied for a forensic psychiatry assessment, claiming that the persecutory behavior against the third girlfriend was induced by taking SSRI. In Italy the penal code specifies the recognition of abolished or diminished liability for crimes if a correlation between the mental disease and the crime can be demonstrated, if the disease was in course at the time of the crime, and if the motives behind the crime and the disease can be shown to be linked. In short, if the crime can be shown to be a symptom of the disease. But the forensic psychiatry assessment demonstrated that despite the presence of some factors of a psychopathological nature, the motives underlying the harassment were attributable to the woman's existential history and personality structure rather than to psychopathological causes. She was therefore judged guilty of the crime of stalking and a plea for a reduced sentence was granted.

 

In this case, the gender of the stalker and victim seemed to be irrelevant.

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