6 IMPORTANT LESSONS FROM STALKER
Last night was the series premiere of CBS’ Stalker. As a survivor of a stalker, I was terrified at the prospect of watching this show. In fact, initially I had no plans to watch it at all. I feared dredging up old emotions that may once again trigger sleepless nights for me.
Once I paid closer attention to the facts given in the promos I began an internal debate as to the relevance of this show. A part of me feared that it would only teach others how to stalk, while another part felt that it could bring much needed change in the way stalking is perceived. After careful study of the facts, which you can read in my initial article on Stalker, I decided to give the show a chance. Its potential for good outweighed the possible negatives in my mind.
After watching the premiere episode I am glad that I decided to give Stalker a chance. I saw truth represented fairly in a way that was terrifying, but resided in reality. The lessons that we learn by the fictional stories have the potential to change our knowledge of stalking, which in turn will help us develop better laws. Stalking is a simple crime to commit, but a difficult crime to prosecute.
Here are 6 important lessons that were demonstrated in last night’s episode of Stalker.
- The Statistics –
- 6 million people are stalked every year.
- 1 in 6 females and 1 in 19 males have been stalked.
- The number of reported stalking cases has tripled in the last decade due to the accessibility provided by social media.
- Only 10% of all stalking cases are celebrity stalkers.
- The Motivations of a Stalker – Rejection, jealousy, and revenge were all represented in the 3 cases on last night’s episode.
- Larry was rejected by Kate once she found out that he was married.
- Lori rejected Kurt by saying that she was seeing someone when he asked her out, which further angered him when he discovered it was a lie.
- Perry was jealous of Eric having a girlfriend, felt rejected when Eric saw him as a roommate, rather than friend, and then wanted revenge once Eric no longer wanted to live with him.
- The Profile of a Stalker – It can be anyone, even those least expected.
- Larry was a middle-aged banker and husband with kids, who began his affair with Kate as just a fling. He met Kate in a spinning class at the gym. He was initially sucked into stalking as a game initiated by Kurt.
- Kurt was a gym instructor who came to Los Angeles to become an actor. Kate, Lori, and Larry were in his class. He presented himself as just a helpful friend to each. He convinced Larry to place cameras in Kate’s apartment as a way of having fun by being able to watch her sleep. Once Kate became aware that she was being watched, Kurt connected her to Lori to help sublet her apartment. Kurt and Larry then used the equipment already set up to begin stalking Lori.
- Perry was a wealthy college kid who lost his mother at a young age. He relied on friendships to provide a sense of comfort that was lost when his mother died. When friends did not understand why he was overly attached, he felt rejected. His motivations were not driven by sexual intentions, as many believe has to be present to make it a valid stalking case.
- The most terrifying stalker profile revealed was a fairly common one. A man who had lost his wife and child. He felt wronged by losing his rights to see his child. While the reason that he lost that right was not revealed, we do know that he is pretty egotistical, still single, sleeps around, including with his bosses wife, spent 9 years on the New York Homicide Unit, and has moved to Los Angeles to join the Stalking Unit. Just like the criminals that he hunts down, Detective Jack Larson tracked down his ex-wife in Los Angeles, now follows her and his child, takes pictures of them, and pins them on his wall.
- The Profile of a Victim – A victim can also be anyone.
- Kate and Lori were single women, living alone, and focused on their careers.
- Eric was a college student, who simply got the wrong roommate.
- Lieutenant Beth Davis is a successful, hardcore law enforcement agent. She is not a likely target. However, it is obvious by her obsession with locking windows, checking security, and sleeping wide awake that she has a story. It is yet unclear if her story comes from an ongoing stalker from her past, or if she brings it on herself by putting herself out there as a new victim to distract the stalkers that she is unable to arrest.
- Reports of Stalking Are Difficult to Prosecute –
- As Lori said, “You can’t arrest someone for scaring you.” Stalkers are so good at walking the thin line between just letting their victims know they are being followed and actually making threats to the victims’ lives. Many victims think that the stalker will eventually get tired of the game and will just go away.
- Others may report incidents only to discover that there is little the police can do. It is important that police reports are continuously made and linked together so that the police can classify it as a stalking case. In Kate’s case she made a couple of reports within the year prior to her death, but those reports were not linked until it became a homicide investigation.
- Eric made complaints to the university about Perry’s behavior, but since they were both males and neither of them were gay, the university did not initially view it as a stalking case. Perry’s family also has clout with the university and contacts that willingly allow Perry to have continued access to Eric. The university does not want to act in a case like this without concrete evidence. The fact that Eric assaulted Perry and put him in the hospital with broken ribs now makes Eric the perpetrator of a crime, and further complicates his ability to be seen as a victim.
- Fear Permeates Every Aspect of a Victim’s Life –
- Kate arranged her home in such a way to allow her to vigilantly watch her surroundings. She had a clear shower curtain so that she could easily see if someone came in while she showered. She had a platform bed so that no one could hide under it. She placed her bed so that she could watch the light for movement under her bedroom door. She also had a prescription for sleeping pills, but opted not to take them.
- Lori was a focused career woman. She spent 80 hours a week at work. This did not stop her stalker. He attacked her in the elevator of the parking garage at her office.
- Eric came to Lieutenant Davis for help after the university refused to do anything. He was frustrated and angry that he had lost his girlfriend, lost weight, his grades had gone down, and he could not sleep, but no one would do anything to help him.