Why Are We Still Talking About Dahmer?

New Netflix show Monster brings a spotlight to killer Jeffery Dahmer and his victims.


Photo via Netflix

Netflix television show Monster.

Over the past month, millions of people have tuned in to watch the Netflix show Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a true crime dramatization about serial killer Jeffery Dahmer. It quickly became the third-most-watched series in Netflix history according to a ranking released by Netflix. 

People have been vocal about how interesting the show was and how well Evan Peters, the actor who portrayed Dahmer, embodied the infamous killer. And, while I can admit that the show sparked an interest in me and the actors played their roles perfectly, it raised a question: How are so many people okay with it? 

This show quite literally is humanizing someone who sexually assaulted, killed and ate seventeen people. It´s an extremely graphic portrayal of the murders of the young men and it has to have brought back horrendous memories for the victim´s families. 

Many victims’ relatives took to social media or other platforms to express their horror at discovering the show. 

Rita Isbell is one of the most outspoken of these people. If you watched the show or paid attention to the real-life case, you will remember her as the older sister of Errol Lindsey. Lindsey was brutally murdered by Dahmer at 19 years old. In episode eight of the show, you see a passionate reenactment of her testimony where she screams at Dahmer. Isbell had to be held back by police from attacking Dahmer during her statement. 

She discusses the shock of seeing the reenactment of her brother´s murder and her emotional testimony. 

¨If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought it was me. Her hair was like mine, she had on the same clothes. That’s why it felt like reliving it all over again. It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then. I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it.¨  

So what is the need to continue bringing up the pain of these families? 

It seems extremely unnecessary to keep creating TV shows, movies and books about Dahmer, especially with the victim’s relatives begging people to stop. 

Eric Perry, one of Isbell´s cousins, took to Twitter to also show his disapproval of the show. 

¨It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need? Like recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD.”

Why are we allowing companies to continue profiting off of these people´s trauma? 

We need to grow as a society and get past our infatuation with Dahmer so we can let these families live in peace.