25/01/2017 16:54 GMT

Sainsbury's Removes Valentine's Card That 'Normalises' Stalking

'Stalking is a serious crime, and one that is still often misunderstood.'

Sainsbury’s has come under fire for selling a Valentine’s Day card featuring a joke about stalking

The card reads: “From your secret admirer! You can’t make somebody love you. You can only stalk them and hope for the best!”

A photo of the card was shared online by Katie Cronshaw, who spotted it in Sainsbury’s and felt compelled to call out the supermarket - and the company behind the card - for “normalising” stalking.

Sainsbury’s has since apologised and promised to remove the card from stores.


Speaking to The Huffington Post UK, a spokesperson said: “It wasn’t our intention to cause any offence and the card will be removed from sale.”

Women’s campaigners have shared their concerns about the card, for appearing to make light of a very serious crime.

“Dark humour cuts close to the bone, but normalising destructive or damaging behaviour isn’t that hilarious,” Cronshaw told The Huffington Post UK.

“Especially when violence against women is so rife.”

The card was created by greetings company Emotional Rescue, who create text-based cards with “funny” slogans.

Cronshaw added that it was a shame they produced this particular card, as the others in the range are fun. 

While some people have branded this particular card as “funny” on social media. Others share a very strong view of its message. 

Caitlin Roper, campaign manager for Collective Shout, was stalked when she was 19 years old and describes it as “one of the most horrible experiences” of her life. 

“I was terrified and kept expecting to see him every time I looked over my shoulder,” she recalled.

Roper told HuffPost UK that being stalked is often traumatic for victims and therefore making a joke about it can potentially overshadow the severity of the issue. 

“Stalking is a serious crime, and one that is still often misunderstood,” she said.

“It’s regarded as mere persistence, as a sign of affection, or something that should be taken as a compliment - a view that is often perpetuated in media and romantic comedies.

“But if you ask a victim of stalking about their experience, it is often incredibly traumatic. There can be a significant psychological impact, with victims living in fear.

“Jokes about stalking and other crimes of violence have the potential to undermine the seriousness of the offence, a crime that may have serious repercussions for both female and male victims.”

Voicing their concerns, a spokesperson for charity Women’s Aid, said: “We would hope that a responsible retailer would not stock a card like this.

“Stalking is a serious crime; it is a common form of post-separation abuse, and the majority of victims are women who have been in abusive relationships.

“We cannot romanticise stalking; it is rooted in a desire to abuse and control, and it devastates the lives of those who experience it.”

The Huffington Post UK has reached out to Emotional Rescue for comment.