An important Questionnaire by Stop Loverboys Netherlands

by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik e.V. – In the following you will find a questionnaire who was sent to me by the Dutch organisation Stop Loverboys. We have already talked about the Loverboy risk we consider a problem the society in whole has to solve without judging the victims. In Germany we had spoken with Bärbel Kannemann of NO LOVERBOYS Berlin and with Bianca Biwer of Weisser Ring e.V. in Mainz. 
The following interview made by Stop Loverboys, the Dutch organisation founded by Anita de Wit and dealing with the victims in the Netherlands, is very useful to understand the phenomenon of the loverboy, and also of the loverwoman. Everyone can become victim of a loverboy because loverboys simply play the normal, lovely guys and do not show their real face from the beginning. The best strategy to fight the phenomenon is information, information, information. And the second aspect is not to accuse victims, as they are and have to remain victims. To know more about Stop Loverboys: 
 Question 1
Can you tell
me something about the person (victim) / her personal background (family,
education, social environment)?
Anita de Wit
Demographically speaking, this could be anyone. From
all layers of society. However, it’s always people who are emotionally
vulnerable. Puberty is a time in life of great emotional vulnerability, thus
teenage girls make a great victim.
 Question 2
How do
victims first meet their future perpetrators? Are there any typical places
where they get in touch with the victims?
We see a shift towards online here. It used to be
public places like school, mall, sports club etc. Nowadays it’s more online
social environments like Facebook, SnapChat, Skype, chartrooms, etc.
Question 3
Why do you
think the perpetrators’ tactics are so successful?
They’re great liars. They are often fully convinced
that what they do is not wrong or harmful. So they have no emotional
boundaries to stop them from the way they operate.
Question 4
At what point
does the perpetrator’s behaviour towards the victim change? Can you tell me
in what way it changes?
As soon as they have some blackmailing material.
Online, this could be a screenshot of a girl showing her breasts before the
webcam. In a real life meeting, this could be material of how she is gang
Question 5
Does the
perpetrator put any kind of pressure on the victim, and if so, what kind of
See Q4. Blackmailing.
Question 6
Can you tell
me at what point the victim usually first starts to feel like something had
With modern tactics this is really not very subtle
anymore. One day is still filled with sweet words and compliments, the other
day, when there is a moment for blackmailing material, it will change to
serious threats, blackmailing and name-calling to make the victim feel
worthless. In a physical meeting often combined with physical abuse and/or
Question 7
How long have
the victims that are known to you been involved in this situation?
Depends. Some have been in the circuit for years
without seeing a way out. Others already have the strength and courage to
contact help after a few months.
Question 8
How do the
victims get out of the situation?
Often they don’t. But if they do, it’s through an
organisation like StopLoverboysNU. A place where they know they will be
understood and where they have the feeling where they can share their story
without having to reveil their identity immediately. It’s all about trust.

Often these girls don’t go to the police, because they have the feeling that
it’s their own fault. They feel worthless, and they are afraid of the
consequences when the police takes up the case. What if their loverboy does
not end up in jail after hearings, but he will know that she told on him?
There is a great deal of fear involved here.

Question 9
Did anybody
around the victim recognise a change in her behaviour? If yes, did they
address it?
Often we hear afterwards that people thought the
girl was acting differently, but they could not point out what it was. This
is also the time in the life of the girls that they start to develop their
own identity, patterns and private life. Parents don’t always know anymore
what’s going on.
And what if you try to talk to your daughter about her changed behaviour, but
she only says that everything is fine and that you shouldn’t meddle?
Did the
victims get any help from their family/friends/teachers?
Often they didn’t. A loverboy tactic is to isolate
their victims from their friends and relatives. Physically by taking up all
her time so she can’t see them anymore, but also emotionally by making her
feel absolutely worthless.
Did the
victims get help/support from organisations like the police or victim support
groups? In what way?
How did the
experience affect the victim’s life?
Drastically. Normal life is put on hold, school
often fails, enormous damage is done to the mental state of the victim, and
this needs years to recover.
Imagine a very bright girl who gets into a loverboy situation at 14yrs. She
gets out when she’s 16, but she has hardly been to school for the last 2
years and failed all tests. She starts the recovery process and she’s ready
to lead a normal life again when she’s 18yrs.
If this never happened to her, she might have been able to go to university.
Now she probably has to take a job at a local shop or restaurant and start
life over again. Also, in the process she will have lost all her friends and
needs to build up a new social circle.
And last but not least: The whole experience will leave a scar on the victims
life that she can learn to live with, but she will never forget.
What kind of
help do the victims get from friends/family/state officials?
Friends and family often don’t know what to do, if
they even recognise what’s going on. That’s also what our organisation
focuses on, to teach these people how to handle it and recognise it.

For minors there are many organisations who can help victims of abuse. If
they are over 18, they are grownups by law and many of these safety nets
disappear. There are only a few organisations in the Netherlands who also
offer help to girls over 18, including StopLoverboysNU.

Do you know
what happened to the perpetrators? Did they get arrested? How does that make
the victims feel?
Often they got a very low punishment because of lack
of evidence. The victims often don’t dare to confess out of fear and shame.
And the perpetrators are liars with psychopathic problems who deny they did
anything wrong.
However, this is getting better. In the past, punishments were often only 1-3
years. Now we also see punishments of up to 8 years. Mainly because they are
often part of a big human trafficking network with dozens of victims by their
Are victims
usually satisfied with the criminal justice response? Do they feel understood
and well assisted by the police/judiciary?
Hardly. It’s getting better, as said in Q14, but if
someone destroyed your life and your future, it’s just not good enough to
know that he’ll be free again in a few years.
By the time the victim is ready to go to the police, they do feel understood
by the judiciary, but a network of lies often just makes it hard for the
instances to see the truth.
The more girls get over their own fear and shame and confess to the police,
the easier it will be to prosecute.