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.
— The Spectator (@spectator) July 14, 2017
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.”
It's funny because two women a week are killed by a current or former partner lolz https://t.co/3S5tHW5tRe
— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) July 15, 2017
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.
The 2 women who are killed every week in the UK by their male partners would also say hi if they didn't keep going and getting murdered.
— your friendly neighbourhood grumpwitch (@grumpwitch) July 14, 2017
…35% of women are victims of domestic assault. About half of murdered women are killed by their partners. This is beyond tone deaf.
— Mindy Mekhail (@mindymekhail) July 15, 2017
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.
Stalking is murder in slow motion. 1 percent of cases result in prosecution. Women mainly targeted. Wonder why we don't take it seriously? https://t.co/aFridUPESp
— Sophie Walker (@SophieRunning) July 14, 2017
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.