The Bodyguard is an American romantic thriller telling the story of a famous actress protected by a bodyguard from her unknown stalker. The movie gained international recognition and the song I Will Always Love You sang by the leading actress Whitney Houston became one of the best-selling singles of all time. Despite the fact that the movie is one of the most romantic love stories in the history of cinema, the subplot of a stalker is equally striking.
Rachel Marron, portrayed by Whitney Houston, receives numerous death threads in the form of poison-pen letters from her stalker. As the plot develops, he takes further steps: sending her a bomb hidden in a doll, threatening phone calls, a home invasion. In one of the scenes the stalker is finally exposed: his locker in his workplace is filled with Marron’s photos, and there is even a piece of fabric from an outfit she wore at one of her shows. The viewer can easily guess that the stalker is obsessed with the woman and that his love or hate towards her (there is a very thin line between the two) can lead him to actions being a direct threat to the singer’s life.
Stalking, however, is not only a movie-related phenomenon. Stalking may be defined as unwanted and/or repeated surveillance toward another person, including following, calling somebody on the phone, sending gifts, e-mailing, sending SMSs or IMs, attempting to contact the victim, observing, “coincidentally” appearing in the surrounding– it becomes illegal when it is frequently repeated to an unwilling recipient. Sometimes, when the stalker is not stopped soon enough, his/her actions may become more violent and even lead to the homicide.
There are famous cases of people harassed by their stalkers. Usually celebrities’ stories are the ones that hit the headlines. The most famous case, without a doubt, is the assassination of John Lennon, who was killed by his fan and stalker. One of the more recent actions is the assassination of Christina Grimmie, an American singer, who was shot to death in 2016 after her concert by one of her fans, just when she was at the beginning of her successful career. Hollywood actress Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered by her stalker at the doorway of her home. It was her death that led to the creation of the first anti-stalking laws in the USA- before that, stalking was not considered a crime.
Stalking often is a byproduct of fame, but celebrities are not the ones affected by this issue. It can happen to everybody when simple fascination turns into obsession, carrying a serious threat to somebody else’s health or life. Apart from living in constant fear and sense of danger, victims of stalkers often suffer from panic attacks and anxiety disorders. They are afraid to go outside, and they feel as it they were followed or observed.
How to protect yourself from a stalker? Don’t accept presents from a stalker, do not answer him/her back, try to avoid any attempts of contact, show a lack of interest, but sometimes it is not enough to discourage the persistent one.
If you feel like you are in a danger, do not hesitate to contact police – you can always report the crimes of stalking and harassment to the authorities—they will undertake official actions to protect you from unwanted attention of your stalker. What is more, the involvement of police may disconcert the stalker and show that his/her actions may have serious, legal consequences – sometimes this awareness is enough to discourage the perpetrator.
You may also think about self- defense: a pepper spray or a panic alarm will increase your sense of security and will give you the possibility to protect yourself on your own. Even if you are not going to use it, the awareness of having something to protect yourself will give you a sense of confidence and safety. A stalker will do everything to take control over your life – do not let it happen and take the matters into your own hands.
A stalker will do everything to take control over your life – do not let it happen and take the matters into your own hands.