Choosing Familiar Targets: The Devils You Wish You Did Not Know

  • James F. KennyEmail author


Most individuals are likely to protect themselves from the sudden advances of strangers. However, they may be unprepared and unsure how to respond to aggressive encounters by intimates, family members, acquaintances, coworkers, or classmates. Intimates and family members are often able to disguise their aggressiveness by comingling it with gestures of affection, devotion, and obligation. Dangerous acquaintances, coworkers, and classmates exploit their access and knowledge of their targets to observe, assess, and make contact without drawing suspicion. These individuals often pose greater threats than strangers. They do not have to wait in the shadows or interview their targets while they plan the best time and place to initiate the attack. The FBI homicide reports over a period of fifteen years demonstrate that between seventy-three percent and seventy-nine percent of offenders were known to the victims (Harrell, 2012). NCVS data have consistently shown that strangers commit less than one quarter of all sexual assaults (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2016). NCVS reports spanning seventeen years reveal that acquaintances, friends, or intimate partners committed nearly seventy percent of stalking and harassment offenses (Catalano, 2015).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityTeaneckUSA

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