You’ve probably heard Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, starring Evan Peters, began streaming on Netflix this week. The news has been impossible to avoid on social media. Now imagine that being about your family. Your trauma. Your life. Yeah, not so fun.
For many people, true crime dramas are a source of entertainment. But it is anything of the sort for victims of crimes and their families. These shows are re-traumatising, dehumanising, and a constant reminder of the horrific event that changed their lives forever. Yet, streaming giants and television networks can monetise it without gaining consent from or reimbursing the families they exploit.
It is time for this to change.
When someone commits a crime, the victim and their family’s trauma becomes public property. The media swarms, strangers offer up their opinion, and in some cases, the criminal trial puts the events of that day on full display. And then, years later, Hollywood does it all over again.
This is not just some abstract issue. It is a genuine and growing problem that has lasting consequences for those affected.
A family member of victim Errol Lindsey took to Twitter, saying:
A whole genre of true crime shows has taken over our screens recently. Making a Murderer, The Jinx, The Staircase, Evil Genius — the list goes on. And while these shows can be fascinating viewing for some, and I admit that I’ve been a part of the problem, for victims, they are a constant reminder of the nightmare they lived through.
Some have even called for a ban on these kinds of shows, arguing that they are nothing more than “trauma porn” that exploits the victims for entertainment.
While I don’t think banning these shows outright is the solution, I believe the victims and their families deserve consideration and respect. At the very least, they should be consulted and compensated for using their lives this way.
Whether you think these shows should be banned or not, it’s important to remember that these are real stories, constantly reminding people of the darkest times in their lives on a loop. And that is something we should all keep in mind if we choose to watch them.
What do you think? Is it time for a change? Let us know in the comments.