How do you approach handling the feeling of being watched? How would you react if your unreasonable suspicions were actually true? How would you feel if it were someone you once knew, versus if it were a stranger? All of these are questions that have been answered by real survivors of stalking in Netflix’s new docuseries, “I Am A Stalker.”
The series documents the stories of eight victims. Its layout is similar to Netflix’s “I Am A Killer,” in that these stories are described to the audience by the victims as well as the stalkers themselves. Through this duality within the interviews, the audience gets a fuller understanding of what drove the stalkers to commit such violence, and how these actions affected the victims both physically and mentally.
“I Am A Stalker” covers stories from a wide array of criminals. They capture the testimonies of stalkers male and female, of all races and ethnicities and of all levels of remorse – or lack thereof. Viewers learn about the stories of Daniel Thompson and Ruben Jaramillo. Both of these men, as is the case for the majority of the stalkers interviewed, were involved in romantic relationships, which grew to become more obsessive over time once their relationships were terminated. Thompson’s obsessive tendency patterns grew with each ex-partner that passed. Meanwhile, Jaramillo’s obsession was rooted in an ex-partner, and consequently extended to an obsession with the partner’s near entire family. You will quickly come to learn that neither of these men feel remorse, nor do they fully understand the extent of their crimes.
To contrast, the series explores the story of John Anderson. He too grew an obsession with a former partner named Rachel. The two of them were once in a happy relationship and even had a child together. As the relationship progressed however, Anderson grew increasingly obsessed with Rachel and many of his day-to-day frustrations quickly escalated to violence. Her response to such violence was to flee, which only reinforced Anderson’s anger and obsession both with Rachel and subsequently their son. This violence, followed by a series of threats, landed Anderson in jail.
In her interview, Rachel reveals how she receives letters and pictures from Anderson daily. She explains how these letters somehow give her a sense of closure. In his interview, Anderson explains how the six years he has spent in prison have allowed him to understand that he is the ultimate cause for losing his family.
Anderson is now out of jail and has been granted permission to see his son, but with great limitations. Rachel still deems him as a dangerous individual who will have to work hard in order to regain her trust. Simply expressing remorse will not be enough to get his life back completely.
“I Am A Stalker” is meant to bring these individual stories to light, as well as raise awareness of how prominent stalking is in the United States, but how not enough is done to eliminate it or help the victims.
Every episode is prefaced with statistics. These include that there are almost three million stalking incidents every year, that 40% of stalking incidents lead to some form of violence and that only 7% of stalkers are taken into custody. Within these episodes, prosecutors also reveal that certain crimes – such as burglary – are worthy of harsher punishment than stalking. The subject is not discussed nearly as much as it should be, but there is hope that this series sparks a flame, causing society to take action towards stalking injustice.