Conservative British magazine The Spectator upset many people online Friday (July 14) by publishing a cartoon minimizing the very real physical and psychological dangers of stalking.
The cartoon features two women sitting at table, one wide-eyed and concerned, the other knowing.
“How can I get my stalker to lose interest in me?” one woman asks.
“Marry him,” the other answers.
It’s a tasteless and harmful cartoon that trivializes the terrors of stalking — and, as one writer, Hadley Freeman, correctly points out: “two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.”
The backlash to the cartoon was swift and unwavering — and noticed quickly by Buzzfeed — but the cartoon has not been pulled at the time of writing.
Sophie Walker, the leader of the U.K.’s Women’s Equality Party, called stalking “murder in slow motion,” and everyone from the president of Britain’s Liberal Democrats to Labour MP Stella Creasy have asked editors to pull the cartoon. Victims of stalking have even taken to Twitter to slam the insensitive cartoon.
The swaths of people taking issue with the cartoon are not “sensitive,” or “touchy” — according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 61 percent of female victims were stalked by a current or former partner, and a full 15 percent of women have been a victim of stalking in their lifetimes.
The least this publication could do is pull the cartoon and issue an apology — and promptly.