Did you watch the Netflix show ‘You’ (if you haven’t and want to; there are spoilers ahead)? ‘You’ was a show about a man’s infatuation with a girl he meets at his bookshop, and how his life quickly becomes all about keeping her: reading certain books for her, working front of house for her, spying on her and killing people close to her. This show was hugely popular, with many commenting how much they would want a boyfriend like Joe and how clueless Beck (the focus of Joe’s obsession) was for not noticing Joe’s behaviour sooner. People accepted Joe’s despicable actions, whilst victim blaming someone who lost her friends, her freedom and her life. Joe was a stalker, and a very good one, but he wasn’t anything but creepy – see below for a very creepy clip that shows Joe staring at Beck for a little bit too long – and it is never the victim’s fault for not “figuring it out” before it was too late.
Romanticising stalking has been within popular culture for years: for instance in American beauty, you think the creepiest aspect of the movie is the obsession a dad has for his daughter’s friend, right? But, there were additional levels of malice that go relatively unnoticed: how the daughter gets filmed on multiple occasions by the neighbour and shown it on a large TV. Yes, of course, they are only movies but they can have large impacts on how someone may view relationships, how they can be built and fostered. It can even have an impact on how victims of these types of crimes are treated, such as crimes of stalking, harassment and revenge porn.
If you believe you are being stalked, or someone you know, do not hesitate to contact the police on 101 or the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.