Stalking-themed Valentine’s Day cards ‘must be banned’, say charities

It’s Valentine’s Day this Sunday and a high street in lockdown means online demand for cards is high.

However, charities in Wales have called for the sale of a new genre of Valentine’s Day Card to be banned.

The “Stalker” genre features jokes about stalking meant to demonstrate one’s love for another. However, these have been branded as “trivialising and demeaning” by stalking charities across the country.

Ann Moulds is the Founder and CEO of Action Against Stalking. After suffering personal experience of this crime she says that its dangerous to confuse acts of stalking with love.

“Stalking has got nothing to do with love,” she said.

“There is no love in stalking.

“Stalking is about the slow brutalisation of the victim’s world. Its a form of psychological abuse that can lead to rape, murder or torture.

“We can’t trivialise it and place it within a love context. That’s what these cards are doing, they’re saying it’s acceptable and they’re normalising this behaviour. We just can’t have that. We’ve got to put a hold to it as quickly as we can.”

Recent figures from the ONS show that stalking cases in Wales have doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Venice Fielding, from Cardiff Women’s Aid, said that these cards are not funny. “If you knew that 17,000 women and girls in the past year in our area had experienced stalking and that it’s a precursor to really horrific violence and murder, it doesn’t look as funny anymore.”

She said that one of the most dangerous things about these cards it that “the more we normalise this stuff, the harder it is for victim’s and survivors to identify these behaviours and realise it’s unacceptable and that there’s support out there.

“So, talking about why its wrong and the help that’s available is really important.”

Etsy, one of the sales points for the cards, has been contacted for a statement.

Thortful, a website that also sold the cards, said it has now removed them from their catalogue.