10 Things I Learned from Pretty Little Liars

Everything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned From Pretty Little Liars.

This post concerns everything up to the episode that aired on 6/28/11.
Scroll down to the next red text to pass the spoilers.

 So, after watching tonight's episode of Pretty Little Liars, and being thoroughly nerved out every time Spencer looked out a window, I have come up with a list of 10 things I learned from watching the girls deal with their stalker, A.

1. Lock your doors—even though we've seen that A is sneaky enough to find a way in, there's no harm in creating one more barrier between you and the creepiness.
2. Never ever look out a window when all you can see is your reflection. A is probably standing right on the other side of the window. How would you know? You can only see yourself.
3. If you need to be alone anywhere for any length of time, get a dog. A big, mean one. With teeth. And a spikey collar. You can name it Brutus.
4. Not everyone is out to get you. I promise. Some people you can trust. Like Ezra. And your fellow Liars. Like Jack Sparrow says: “You can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest.” Still....
4.5 Don't trust anyone.
5. Watch what you say. And when you say it. And who you say it to. Actually. Probably better if you don't say anything at all. About anything. Ever. Anything you say can and will be used against you in everything you do, every day.
6. Even though life's not fair, it's still worth it to do the right thing. Like apologizing to Lucas. And trying to make up with Melissa. Forgiving Ezra. Tearing up the faux scholarship letter.
7. Don't give in to A's demands! Every time a Liar decides they just HAVE to do what A wants, I cringe. Remember Hanna and the cupcakes? And the breaking of Sean's heart?
8. Keep asking questions, even if people doubt you. (What is Jason doing back in that old house and who else was in there?) But....
8.5 Don't jump to conclusions. (Ian never did admit to killing Allison, and Spencer should be careful what she says since A wiped Emily's drive and planted the fake-bloodied trophy.)
9. If A gifts you with evidence, don't yap about it, and don't let it leave your SIGHT until you get to the police.
10. Always... always (this is very important) have perfect hair and the latest clothes. If you are going to be harassed, you had better look damn good while doing it. :D
I would just have said “stop lying” at number one and have done with it, but then we'd have no show and my Tuesdays would just suck. Also...I can understand why the Liars lie. They're doing their best with a difficult situation in which it seems like they have no friends.

Truth is hard. And when you have secrets like the Liars do: when you feel ashamed, when you fear other people's opinions of you, it's even harder. No one wants to get in trouble. In that moment when someone is about to find you out, if you are skilled at lying, it can seem like an easy way to escape the blame. Allison was a heedless liar, and she taught the other Liars well. She also tangled them up in her lies, and that is a sticky web to try and free yourself from, especially with A hanging around the edges: A, who knows all of the dark, dirty truths. 

The following is spoiler free, to my knowledge.

Pretty Little Liars with a Big Ugly Problem: Stalking 

That list was partly in jest, and partly—not. Stalking is serious business and should be treated as such. It is a crime and can be really harmful, as we see on the show! Stalking is kind of an iffy situation because harassment is really subjective, but law cannot be subjective. The definition of stalking is “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person fear,” according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, but that's not a legal definition. And the legal definition is different depending on what state, district, or tribe has jurisdiction. So a person might have what they consider a stalker—a person who causes them fear—but go to the police only to find that the definition does not fit. Most of the laws don't cover new technology, and we've seen A send e-mails, use flash drives, and send text messages. And in some places, it's not stalking unless a person specifically threatens to harm you.

The Parents' suggestion that the Liars see a therapist was well-meant, but since the Liars aren't admitting that they're being stalked, The Parents don't realize that stalking is the problem, and not grief. Victims of stalking are more likely to be depressed, to miss work, and live in fear like the Liars. And the Liars still have to finish their homework at the end of the night! Stalking is no joke, and I was absolutely enraged that A ruined the therapist for them as a safe haven.

There is tons of great information at Stalking Awareness Month. If A's behavior on Pretty Little Liars sounds a little too familiar, you can find out what the laws are in your state, get help about how to handle stalking, and even get buttons and magnets to promote awareness. Stalking Awareness Month is January, but victims of stalking deal with it every single day of their lives, sometimes for years.

Take away the entertainment aspect of Pretty Little Liars, and it's a pretty grim subject. But that's one of the things I love about the show. It is absolutely fearless showing these girls deal with (and sometimes exacerbate) tough problems. Each girl has her own issues and secrets, and it's part of what makes Pretty Little Liars so engrossing.

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