TV

Netflix’s Terrifying Cyberstalking Doc Highlights a Baffling Reality


How did Can I Tell You a Secret’s stalker get away with it for so long? Spoilers.

Can I Tell You a Secret Netflix promo image
Photo: Netflix

Warning: contains spoilers for all three episodes.

The definition of stalking in the UK is repeated behaviour that makes a person feel scared, distressed or threatened and only needs to happen two or more times to qualify. Despite those seemingly straightforward parameters, the charge, prosecution and conviction rates for stalking in the UK are still alarmingly low. It is even harder to achieve justice when it comes to the crime of cyber stalking.

Can I Tell You A Secret? has just dropped on Netflix, and details the prolonged and prolific cyber stalking and harassment of several women for over a decade by Matthew Hardy. The documentary focuses primarily on three of Hardy’s last victims; women he picked at random who had no connection to him at all. Abby, Lia and Zoe talk about how Hardy first interacted with them on social media posing as another woman so that their guards would be down. The first messages seemed innocent enough, but soon escalated into lies, threats and intimidation. Despite all three women being unsettled by the mysterious messages, none of them called the police initially. All of them seemed to instinctively know that without gathering proof themselves, there was little chance of the police taking them seriously.

Zoe, a model and avid traveller, went through Instagram Likes with painstaking detail to find the account that was messaging people she knew with a campaign of harassment. When she finally went to the police, they told her that since there had been no rape and no murder, there was nothing they could do. Zoe realised “[They’re] not going to do anything until something like that happens.”

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