In my dissertation research, I explored the ways in which victims' families and survivors came to comprehend and cope with the Oklahoma City bombing through membership in community groups as well as through attendance and participation in Timothy McVeigh's prosecution and execution (see the link here for a summary). After hearing numerous interviewees state that McVeigh would "tell the families" hurtful informaiton, and that he attempted to "jab" at and "hurt" victims families through the media, I concluded that victims' families/survivors felt trapped in an involuntary relationship with McVeigh. This relationship is similar to a communication theory concept known as a parasocial relationship, a one-sided interaction between a media personality and audience members in which audience members feel that the media personality is/would be a member of their primary social group to which they maintain loyalty. Instead of being a voluntary, positive parasocial relationship, however, the victim-offender relationship would be an involuntary, negative relationship that fettered victims' families and survivors to the bombing.
I'm now writing an article describing this involuntary relationship in the context of the Oklahoma City bombing. However, I'm also wondering how far this concept may be extended. It seems logical that involuntary relationships may form in the aftermath of crimes with mass victimage, or crimes that receive heavy media coverage. But I also believe that such an involuntary relationship may also be present in other crimes as well. Courtrooms are communicative forums, and victims and victims' families may learn quite a bit about the defendant during the trial (particularly in capital trials where mitigating evidence is introduced). In addition, they may feel trapped in an involuntary relationship with the offender for years afterwards as they keep apprised of the outcome of appeals and/or potential release dates.
I'd love to hear how far others think this concept can be stretched.