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What YOU Need to Know About Season 2

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Bri Rogers

January 20, 2020
Season two of Netflix’s runaway series ‘You’ further neutralizes sexual assault and domestic violence in the eyes of its viewers. In the first season, ‘You’ depicted the idea of stalking and dating violence as romantic. Viewers caught themselves in a love/hate relationship with Penn Badgley’s character, Joe Goldberg, with his “stop at nothing” love for Guienevere Beck.

And if you thought season two would be any different, you’re wrong.

‘You’ season two opens as Joe is moving from New York to Los Angeles in hopes for a better life - or another victim? He falls back into his stalking tendencies by fixating on a girl he meets at work, Victoria Pedretti's character Love Quinn, obsessing over social media, and even moving to an apartment across the street where he watches her daily through a telescope. While less obvious, he continues to showcase the behaviors of stalking, dating violence, and abusive behavior. These behaviors are not normal; they are signs of psychological manipulation and abusive tendencies. However, this is not what Joe wants you to believe.

Joe wants you to believe he’s changed his ways.

From the very first line Joe speaks, he is trying to convince us that he is a changed man. This continues in almost every one of his narratives throughout the second season. Newsflash, he is not a changed man. This is a red flag. In situations when individuals are involved with a partner who is violent, they will often try to convince their significant other that they have changed. They’ll use phrases such as “you made me do it,” “I lost my temper,” “I promise I love you,” “it was a one-time thing,” and even “I won’t hurt you again.” Abusers want you to believe that this time it will be different. But the fact still remains that violent tendencies are present within them and will always come back to hurt their victims.

Joe wants you to think of Candace as the “crazy obsessive” ex-girlfriend.

When we first meet Candace, it is the end of season one and we can clearly put together that she was one of his victims who survived, unbeknownst to him. After being buried alive, Candace is back to expose Joe in season two. However, Joe convinces everyone around him that Candace is just the “crazy” girlfriend who was “obsessed” with him during their relationship. All too often, victims are made to believe by their abusers that they are being hurt because of something they have done. Abusers try to convince those around them that the victim is in the one in the wrong. They do this by stereotyping their partner as “crazy” or “obsessed” because they need to find ways to remove the blame from themselves.

Joe wants you to hear his perspective only.

Did you notice how the other characters never have a voice throughout the entirety of the show? You’re living inside of Joe’s head and he’s constantly telling YOU what to feel and what to believe. This is a huge warning sign. If your partner is constantly telling you what you believe and how you feel, you need to seek help immediately. An abuser will manipulate you into believing that you aren’t actually hurt, that they didn’t mean to hurt you, or that you deserve this kind of violence. This is gaslighting which is too often used to make those affected by domestic violence question their sanity or perception of the situation at hand. It is important to know you have a voice and you do not need to be treated this way. You have feelings and beliefs each of which are valid.

Joe wants you to see the justification in his wrongdoings.

In almost every episode, Joe tries to convince you that he is only doing these things to protect the ones he loves and what is “best” for them. This is a classic sign of domestic violence and stalking behavior. Abusers tend to justify to themselves that they are only hurting you because you deserve it or because they care about you. This type of behavior is incredibly WRONG. You should never feel as if someone putting their hands on you in a violent manner is what is best for you. And if your partner tries to convince you that it is, he or she clearly doesn’t have your best interest in mind.

It should be noted that while ‘You’ season two is based on fictional events, the parts in which Joe’s character align with those of an abuser should not be overlooked. This is happening in our world every day and knowing the telltale signs of domestic violence, gaslighting, and abuse just might save your or someone you love’s life.

Join us for the fifth annual Walk a Mile in Their Shoes on Saturday, April 4, at 9 a.m. in front of the South Chapman building on GBMC’s Main Campus (6545 N. Charles St. Towson, MD 21204) as we walk in solidarity to support those who have been affected by sexual assault and domestic violence. All proceeds benefit GBMC’s SAFE and DV Program. Visit to register.

Can’t be there in person? We ask that you consider making a donation as our program works to continually provide care for those who have been affected, advocate for justice, and spread awareness throughout our community.

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, or any of the above situations, GBMC’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) Program is here - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - to help. You are not alone. Visit for more resources or contact GBMC’s SAFE/DV Program at 443-849-3323.
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