True Crime content has been everywhere for the last few years.
But what's interesting is the different mix of responses to my question, and why people avoid watching or listening to true crime.
1. Because of the families and victims involved:
"I don’t often consume true crime media due to the families and victims involved. It feels wrong to 'enjoy' listening to these horrific events. The only times I am interested are for learning purposes such as when a case establishes some sort of legal precedent (I’m a law student) or if it’s profiling an especially abnormal criminal (I’m a psych major)."
2. For this person's mental health:
"I went down a true crime rabbit hole a few years ago, and my mental health spiraled. I started feeling paranoid all the time and had panic attacks before entering dark rooms in my own home.
I avoid violent true crime for my own mental health and for the sake of my partner so he doesn't have to check every room before I go in it."
3. Due to how shows glorify serial killers:
4. This person's outlook has changed because they have experienced true crime trauma:
"Once you experience some form of true-crime trauma firsthand in your own life, your outlook on that sort of content completely changes. You don’t want to watch more of it. It’s not 'entertaining' whatsoever."
5. Because it makes you lose faith in humanity:
"It makes me lose some faith in humanity and I worry about slowly becoming a party to exploitation without realizing it."
6. Because you can't even play the villain role in video games, much less listen to stories about murder:
7. It's not good for highly sensitive people:
"I'm a highly sensitive person which along with other things heightens my empathy, so I can't really handle true crime or anything. Horror movies are different because there's a level of disconnect since I know they aren't real people, but true crime series just break my heart, and I know I won't be able to sleep that night."
8. They are too ambiguous or when the killer is inadvertently glamorised:
"I'll only watch if it's been heavily fictionalized, Law & Order-style. Watching TRUE true crime is just always messy. The thing about true stories framed as true stories is that you can only do so much to wrap up the narrative. Either you're left with the ambiguity that comes from never really knowing (see the most recent time I broke my rule and watched The Lørenskog Disappearance, and you never know who really did it because you don't know what happened to the victim's real-life counterpart either), or the killer is a clear-cut monster. You get the ick factor of possible glamorization or victim exploitation."
9. One particular tweet summed up how true crime must feel to the victims:
10. This person won't watch due to personal history:
"A family member of mine was killed by a serial killer in the '70s. Every few years someone decides they want to tell the story again, sometimes it’s a documentary, sometimes it’s a drama, and they always reach out to us for a comment. It doesn’t matter how many times we put out the statement that we want to be left alone, they always say their show is different because they’re “putting the victims first” but it’s just a reminder of what we’ve lost. I can’t see a true crime feature without thinking of the other families who probably just wanted to be left in peace."
11. After having kids, it's a no-go:
"I used to love it but after having my daughter, it makes me think of her safety and all the dangers out there. It hurts me to see other mothers out there mourning their children."
12. It's just not entertaining:
"Tbh at first I avoided it because I don’t find it entertaining. I had no judgment toward people who were into it, it was as if everyone was super into agriculture for some inexplicable reason. ‘Not my cup of tea, love that for you though’ type of vibes. Now that I understand it to be super exploitative of others’ trauma I do side-eye people who still make it a part of their personality. Like, do you not know better or do you not care?"
13. Working in a prosecutor's office is enough:
14. This person won't watch true crime because they, "already know people are awful":
"For the same reason I don’t watch 'reality' tv: I already know people are awful. I don’t need to seek out further proof."
15. The news is simply enough:
16. True crime is becoming too much of a part of certain people's identities:
"I stopped because it seems that more and more with true crime people are making it their identity not just an interest and it’s uncomfortable. I used to have a few friends I could casually talk about true crime with, but now it’s ALL they want to talk about and the new shows/podcasts/books/movies, etc. We have created a culture obsessed with true crime to the point where people are having serial killer-themed wedding receptions. I just can’t participate in that anymore."
17. The confusion over how you can feel such mood-altering empathy, yet people still find it fascinating:
"Almost thirty years ago (in the '90s) everyone in my class had to do a book report about any fairly recent huge news story. I chose to do mine on Jeffrey Dahmer and started reading a novel about it (I think it was called Milwaukee Murders). Anyway, you could literally see the roller coaster of emotions as each student got up and did their report on a positive figure/story or a horrific person/story. Every day for a week, depending on who gave the last report, either we all went to lunch happy and laughing or depressed and disgusted. I had the last report that Friday and it left such a bad taste in my mouth while everybody else was just so happy for the weekend that I was completely turned off of true crime before I even became an adult. I don't watch anything remotely true crime related now because I find it odd that a class full of teenagers felt such mood-altering empathy just from ten-minute book reports but scores of grown-ass people see it as fascinating entertainment to gorge on."
18. The killer's story just doesn't need to be told:
19. The impact of watching an interview with a dad who went to a true crime convention. (By the way, I had no idea this was a thing?!):
"Once I heard an interview with a dad who went to a true crime convention. The total disconnect in his voice when he spoke about people talking about his daughter's (solved) murder. Like he knew there was nothing he could do but the compounding hurt of his loss being turned into entertainment numbed him. It was heart-wrenching. There is enough fiction that we don’t need to turn people’s tragedies into something to consume. Drawing attention to an unsolved case can be done in a respectful way. 99% of these podcasts/shows are not done respectfully."
20. Having intrusive thoughts:
"Intrusive thoughts. That's why. I can't watch anything without somehow thinking that it's going to happen to my own husband, or family, or me. I used to watch it, but my brain kept saying, 'See? It's SO EASY. Don't they make it look so easy for a stranger to befriend you or someone always watching you and just waiting for the right opportunity?' Yeah, not about that life."