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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

You get home from class, make yourself a nice cup of tea, plan dinner, and maybe have a snack in between; you sit down on your couch ready to unwind, open up Netflix and look for… serial killer documentaries. 

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that watching these types of shows actually fills you with a sense of peace and confidence. If you’re very confused right now, let me tell you precisely what I mean. 

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  1. You’re much more likely to identify a ruse. I’ve watched a lot of murder documentaries and I feel pretty confident in my analysis that I could easily identify someone trying to trick me. 
  • For example, a man approaches me as I’m getting into my car asking for a lift. Here are a few thoughts that might run into my head at that moment: are you lost and can’t find your way to the gas station, or do you just want to get into my car to incapacitate me? Should I let you in, or do I trust my gut? 
  1. Your gut can be faulty. Look at Ted Bundy, no one really thought he was capable of unspeakable acts against other people, and yet, investigators aren’t even sure how many he killed. Looks can easily persuade us in our decision of trusting someone, like how they carry themselves (confidence), language skills, etc. All of these things can and do affect how we interact with strangers. 
  • Going back to my previous example, should I trust this man if he’s wearing a three-piece suit, polished shoes, and socks? Or maybe it’s not about the looks but about how he seems super friendly and welcoming, engaging me in conversation with a kind smile. Like a good samaritan, my gut might say this man can be trusted. The answer is NO. He cannot and should not be trusted because while there’s every chance he’s lost and really needs some help, that is a high-risk bet I am not willing to make. 
  1.  Self Defense. I carry pepper spray everywhere I go, it’s in my keychain. Paranoid? Maybe, but as a single college-aged female, I tick a lot of boxes on the victim pool for potential killers. I would take being seen as paranoid by others than have a time come where I need a weapon and I’m left defenseless. (Fact: a survivor of Ted Bundy jumped out of his moving vehicle and ran back to civilization) 
  • To go back to our example, if this man were up to no good, I could easily disarm him by spraying pepper spray right in his face. Enabling me to safely get into my car, drive away and call the police.

These are just a few key examples of insights I’ve gained while watching serial killer/murder documentaries. They’re not backed up by research but by experience and acquired knowledge. 

A few recommendations:  The Night Stalker (Netflix), Conversations with a Killer (Netflix), Buzzfeed Unsolved: True Crime (Youtube).

Hi, I'm Giuliana, a junior at KU. Double majoring in journalism and psychology. I'm excited to share my stories with you!