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Hybristophilia is a medical term used to describe people who are intensely attracted to and/or sexually aroused by highly-dangerous criminals. Most of the time, these criminals have committed gruesome crimes in the likes of rape, murder, or torture. Hybristophilia is a condition that affects more women than men.
Experts differentiate between two main categories of hybristophiliacs: aggressive or passive hybristophiliacs. The main causes of hybristophilia are psychological. This condition can be treated through therapeutic support.
Research indicates that most women who suffer from hybristophilia suffer from low self-esteem and insecurity. Some of them also have a background of sexual or physical abuse, as discussed by Vitello in his 2006 book, Hybristophilia: The Love of Criminals.
From a psychological standpoint, these sufferers enjoy a feeling of extreme importance when they form close sexual or emotional relationships with high-profile criminals. According to Katherine Ramsland, a professor of Forensic Psychology at DeSales University, hybristophiliacs can also be extremely nurturing and see the criminal as a troubled soul who needs to be loved.
Other experts speak of the 'Bonnie and Clyde' syndrome where the hybristophiliac is attracted to the notoriety and controversy surrounding the criminal and want to share the fame.