Individuals who derive sexual pleasure from making obscene phone calls are called scatolophiliacs or scatolophiles. Scatolophila is similar to exhibitionism because it is a form of sexual assault intended to shock the victim and the aggressor often masturbates to the experience or to memories of it. Scatolophiles may use persuasive manipulation or frightening threats to keep the victim on the phone. Scatolophilia has decreased in frequency over the past years due to the increasing use of phone technologies such as caller ID, call blocking and phone conversation recorders.

The Victim’s Dilemma

Many victims stay on the phone line because they are afraid that the caller will assault them physically if they do not comply. They may also be worried that the caller may even be outside their house looking in. Being verbally abused is an incredibly traumatic event. However, scatolophiles are rarely physically close their victims at the time of the phone call even if they claim to be and make threats. Receiving unwanted obscene phone calls makes the victim feel unsafe and may cause permanent emotional damage. Many victims may become afraid to answer the phone or to be alone in their own house.

Examples of Scatolophilia

Isolated instances of scatolophilia still persist even with phone technology. Most instances of scatolophilia involve a man calling and verbally abusing household members of a private residence. The caller may make reference to sexual activities and fantasies and later masturbate to the expressions of shock, fear and dismay.

Many modern scatolophiles use manipulative persuasive techniques. For example, in 2000 in Sweden a scatolophile posed as a sexology researcher and asked child subjects sexual questions over the phone. Coercive techniques can especially be observed in string of about 60 abusive phone calls from 1995 to 2004. In these phone calls, a man posing as a police officer forced food service workers to perform sexual acts on each other. The caller forced supervisors to victimize employees with behaviors ranging from spanks to strip searches to oral sex.


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