Women like the stalker from Baby Reindeer are rare: “They feel completely insecure” |  RTL News

Women like the stalker from Baby Reindeer are rare: “They feel completely insecure” | RTL News

The story in the hit series Baby Reindeer about Martha's stalker is an extraordinary one, but as experts say: “It's a psychological condition that can happen to anyone.” However, the story of a woman stalking a man appears to be “relatively rare.”

Dutch Raines has also been stalked by a woman for years. “I have tried to contact every way possible. Also by approaching people in my area to contact me through them. This seems very unsafe.”

He says he recognizes a lot in the Baby Reindeer series Netflix Netherlands. “The biggest themes in this series are trauma and damage. And it's natural for them to find each other in that. And I think that's the case for us to some extent.”

Image © Netflix
Jessica Gunning is Martha's stalker in Baby Reindeer

For those who haven't watched it yet and without giving too much away: Baby Reindeer revolves around Richard Gadd's experiences with a stalker, Martha. After their first meeting at the bar where he works, Martha becomes obsessed. She visits him frequently, sends him tens of thousands of emails, and leaves 350 hours of voicemails.

According to stalking expert Eric Blau, it's called phantom stalking. They are often convinced that they are in a relationship with someone. “This belief is a mental illness, a distorted experience of reality.” According to him, it can happen to anyone: “Losing control of reality can happen to anyone.”

Stories like those of Richard Judd and Reigns are exceptional, according to experts. Almost all perpetrators of stalking crimes are men, says investigative psychologist Klas Schackel. He wrote a book about stalking. “I have never recorded a report from a man about a woman being stalked.”

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There is something called Dark numberIt explains that or lack of notifications. “Yes, of course there are women who are stalked. Are there many? Sure. But it has not been reported.” This is because, he says, men often feel ashamed and hope it will blow over or continue to block the stalking woman until it finally stops.


According to Shackel, you can assume that men who go to the police will have to deal with someone spreading lies about them or, say, scratching a car. “But there are no numbers. This makes it difficult to determine how many men are being pursued compared to the other way around.”

Stalking expert Blau also stresses that reports of women being stalked are an exception. “We know very little about it.” It is affiliated with the Hanse University of Applied Sciences in Groningen and conducts research on stalking, among other things. “9 out of 10 people who are stalked are women. It is relatively rare for a woman to be the perpetrator.”

He says women are more likely to become victims because they are more social and emotional. “Men are often more narcissistic and antisocial than women.”

Differences between the sexes

Blaauw gives the example of severing ties. “Women will say in more friendly terms: ‘I want to break up, let’s get some distance.’ This seems less forceful than when a man says: ‘This will never happen again.’ This clarity often prevents them from pursuing.”

Image © Netflix
Richard Gadd as Donnie in Baby ReindeerImage © Netflix
Richard Gadd as Donnie in Baby Reindeer

Two sides

The series sees the main character report back after six months. That's not particularly long, says Eric Blau. “We often see people saying that reporting doesn't help. Or people judge themselves that something is annoying, but it's not punished.”

It also plays a role in that the person being stalked is often related to the stalker in some way. “Or the victims sympathize with the perpetrator. Because in most cases it involves an ex-partner or an acquaintance. What does it mean for that relationship to go to the police? That plays a role.”

Reince realizes this. “There are two sides to it. On one level I feel sympathy and pity for her. On the other hand, she has driven me absolutely crazy.”

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