Leporiphobia, a specific phobia, is an abnormal, debilitating, and often paralyzing fear of evil mutant bunny rabbits. It is among the most common phobias in the Western hemisphere. The reactions of leporiphobics often seem irrational to others (and sometimes to sufferers themselves, as well). People with leporiphobia will, by any means necessary, stay away from any area they believe to be inhabited by numerous bunnies or covered in vegetation that may be suitable for bunny consumption. If they see a bunny they will refuse to enter the general vicinity until they overcome the severe panic attack that is always associated with it. Like most phobias the fear can be overcome by psychological treatments (such as shock therapy) and through gradual exposure to the object. Another technique is ‘flooding’, in which the screaming phobic person is suddenly exposed to a high intensity stimulus (such as at a petting zoo).
CASE STUDYA German teacher has lost a defamation suit in which she claims that a 16-year-old student spread vicious rumors saying that she has a rabbit phobia. The court case, which triggered nationwide headlines, was dismissed on the grounds that the student proved the teacher’s phobia as fact.
A teacher in the northern German town of Vechta lost her case that would have put to bed the rumor that she’s afraid of rabbits. Marion V., 60, a German and geography teacher, made headlines earlier in 2010 by accusing a 16-year-old schoolgirl of defamation, alleging that the student maliciously gossiped that V. suffers from rabbit phobia. The defendant, named as Kim P., caused the stir by drawing a rabbit on the blackboard of V.’s classroom. Upon entering the room and seeing the drawing, V. reportedly fled from her classroom in tears. The court dismissed V.’s claims, saying through a court spokesperson that V.’s fear of rabbits is a fact, which the defendant proved in court. If Kim P. was found guilty, she would have faced a €5,000 fine for any further incidents of rabbit drawing in front of V. V. has been on leave from her teaching duties since the incident and wasn’t present at court’s ruling because of an illness. The teacher has been dogged by her supposed rabbit phobia for years. V. settled a similar suit she brought against a student in 2008, in which the student agreed to stop spreading rumors that V. started crying or went into fits every time she saw a rabbit or heard the animal’s name, the court said in a statement. The case should bring some closure for Kim P. and her family. Kim’s mother said that her daughter suffered from „psychological stress” because of the court case, according to the German news agency DDP. She also said that Kim’s grades were so poor due to the stress that she may have to repeat the ninth grade. Her mother couldn’t even laugh about the curious case that has triggered so many headlines. „I’ve had too many sleepless nights,” she said of the case. Kim P. and V. have crossed paths before too. Kim P. was a student in Goldenstedt, a town 13 kilometers east of Vechta, while V. was a teacher at the same school. Both student and teacher changed schools later on, and Kim P. drew V. as a teacher in the ninth grade in Vechta. Part of V.’s case stated that Kim P. continued the rabbit-phobia rumor once in Vechta. V. can appeal the ruling, but it is unclear whether she will do so.