All the Lessons Learned from Movies about Stalkers
Stalking is a very common theme in most of today’s movies and TV shows. The perpetrators as well as the victims of these cinematic portrayals range in age, social background, status, and other metrics. However, at its core, stalking behaviors are similar in many of these cases where the stalker invades the target's privacy through several methods.
Top of the list tactics include unwanted phone calls, texts, hacking their phone or computer, and, in more serious cases, breaking into their target’s homes. Sadly enough, there are even more dire cases of physical harm or death of victims in the stalkers’ hands.
Where Do We Draw The Line?
Most people can agree that stalking alludes to certain behavioral patterns, and the practice itself is considered deviant. However, defining stalking as a crime is not that easy, as portrayed in films such as The Perfect Guy. In the movie, a young woman finds herself in a precarious stalking situation involving a new love interest.
Many potential targets initially dismiss the advances of their stalkers, generally minimizing contact with them. However, such situations may escalate with more forceful advances. If someone contacts you online and you’re concerned about their real identity, you can check them up on Nuwber. If it’s becoming too much to handle, consider involving law enforcement officers before it’s too late.
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That said, let’s look at some of the lessons we can deduce from movies.
Stalkers Are Rarely Harmers
… until they’re not. In Stalker (2014), Agent Beth Davis delivers a guest lecture where she touches on stalkers and their primary motives. A greater proportion of stalkers usually seek out their target driven by obsession, an innate compulsive desire to be as close to their targets as possible.
These drivers can result from several motivators, from sex to power. When Gianni Versace died at the hands of a former love partner, the only way to unravel the unfortunate outcome could only be found in studying the crime from the perspective of his lover turned stalker.
Targets of stalking are usually people with a certain following which naturally means none of their followers can trace them. This elusiveness often leads obsessed followers to find ways to get close to such people, not necessarily with the intent to cause harm.
Strangers Are Better Than Friends?
Black hoodie, unusual gait, camera in hand… all the classic tell-tales of a stalker. It is easy to think stalkers are obsessed fans sitting in front of a computer spamming their targets' social media and occasionally watching them from hidden cameras. This is hardly the case. Close to 3 out of 4 victims of stalking report that their stalker is someone they knew.
Exes, friends of friends, people they have interacted with open up a potential victim’s social circle and potentially increase the chances of being stalked. Combined with social media, the pool of victims and stalkers grows exponentially. Stalkers can access the most intimate details about anyone with the flick of a few keys on a computer.
Lovers To Stalkers
You, one of the most popular shows on Netflix, tells the story of Joe Goldberg, an incredibly brilliant and charming bookstore keeper who quite literally stalks love interests for a living. He takes a great deal of time looking for information on his victims in all the right places- a skill he has honed over the years.
This is perhaps one of the main motivations for stalking. A crush or fixation turned into a high-stakes game of stalking the victim. Psychologically, the stalker, in such instances, often believes that they belong with their victim because they can save them from something. Perhaps, they feel like a better choice of a partner for the victim. These cases often prove to be the most dangerous as they may cause a stalker to get rid of people they deem to be a threat in the victim's life.
The compelling desire to be close to someone is, in all fairness, a normal thing. Everyone is drawn to potential love interests, mentors, and other people they hold in high regard. What makes a stalker is a relentless desire to be extremely close to their victim to the point where the latter feel threatened.
There are guidelines for social interaction that, although largely unwritten, guide us through our interactions and communication with others.
Many stalkers exhibit some form of disregard for these ‘rules’ by virtue of the fact that some stalkers are socially inept, mostly because of underlying personality disorders. They fail to see what is ‘acceptable’ socially and only focus on their primal desires. Lacking the social poise to engage with their would-be victims, they often resort to inserting themselves into the lives of these victims by stalking them.
Men Vs Women
Most female victims of stalking report that their stalker is either an ex or a current partner. Male victims, on the other hand, are targeted by partners, exes, and acquaintances. The grimmer side of things, however, shows that female victims are more likely to find themselves in a potentially deadly situation arising from a stalker’s actions.
This can also be seen in the sheer number of serial attacks perpetrated by males that can almost be directly tied to prior stalking over a period of time. The story of Ted Bundy made into several critically acclaimed films coldly narrates the unraveling of a killer’s twisted mind bent on stalking and murdering in cold blood. The big debate as to whether males are more likely to operate outside social order because of their ‘masculinity’ comes into question, which poses an even bigger issue.
Stalking is invasive, illegal, and a downright infringement of the right to peace of mind. Only past victims know the true extent of mental and emotional distress caused by stalking. We live in the age of social media, which has gradually integrated itself into our daily lives. Access to information has come down to a few clicks. Pop culture has been immensely propagated by social media where stalking is almost romanticized in a way. The truth is, unfortunately, more sinister, and a lot more should be talked about regarding stalking.