In the Netflix series “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” real-life character Glenda Cleveland can be perceived as a figure of protest. She was an indomitable human being who stood up against the fear and the hideous actions taking place in the room next to her. She endured horrible mental agony amid the foul stench and constant drilling noise that kept coming from Jeffrey Dahmer’s room. Her portrayal in the Netflix series is somewhat fictional, and the rest is true, but the fact that she was a hero cannot be disputed. If the police had listened to Glenda Cleveland’s persistent calls, then we can hope that some of Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes could have been avoided, and many of the 17 victims would still be alive today.
Glenda Cleveland is an incidental victim of Dahmer’s horror, who is depicted in the ten-episode series in a manner that is nearly accurate. However, the real Glenda Cleveland had a home nearby and didn’t actually reside at the Oxford Apartments. In reality, Dahmer had actually been engaged in unacceptable acts with his real-life neighbors. Jeffrey gave the sandwich to Pamela Bass, his actual neighbor, instead of Glenda Cleveland. He was so well-behaved that his neighbors recognized him as a gentleman. After Dahmer’s arrest in 1991, Pamela said that she could have accidentally consumed human meat from the sandwich that Jeffrey gave her. Dahmer’s neighbors became a victim of his inhumane torture, while Glenda was the only protester because she was the one who eventually took action against the perpetrator. Glenda Cleveland was a courageous and honest woman who rightfully received a lot of attention in Murphy’s miniseries.
Glenda began to feel uneasy about staying at her apartment since Jeffrey Dahmer had committed his devilish mischief in the room next door. Glenda’s life became a nightmare due to the blood-curdling screams and the smell of rotting flesh. She asked Jeff about the foul smell several times, but he always managed to get away with making up an excuse. She heard drilling noises coming from a vent in her room, along with the horrifying sound of human screaming as well, so she realized that someone was getting killed at Jeff’s apartment.
Glenda became suspicious of Jeffrey as soon as he moved into the Oxford flat in Milwaukee. A few days later, Dean, the new tenant, showed up. Although it is still unknown if Dahmer actually had a victim by the name of Dean in real life. Anyway, since Glenda has already noticed several red flags from Dahmer at that point, she initially doesn’t want Dean to get in touch with Dahmer. But Dean vanished soon after his interaction with Dahmer. Glenda repeatedly contacted the FBI in an effort to notify them of a murder taking place in the room next to her. But in the early 1990s, homophobic and racist lawmakers blatantly ignored the cries of a woman of color. She begged for assistance nonstop, but all her efforts went in vain.
All limits were exceeded the day Dahmer brought a fourteen-year-old Laotian boy, Konerak Sinthesomphone, to his flat. Dahmer had previously been associated with Konerak’s family because he once molested his older brother and got arrested. Though Dahmer did not recognize the boy, Konerak did. He fell victim to Dahmer’s trap in order to get some easy money, but instead of paying him, Dahmer drugged him. When a semi-conscious Konerak tried to escape from his apartment, Glenda called the cops, finding him in an unsettling way. However, when Dahmer arrived at the spot, he convinced the cop that Konerak was an adult, not a child, who happened to be his boyfriend. Shockingly, the cops even believed his words, though Glenda was not quite convinced. In the early nineties, society, in general, was homophobic and indifferent towards people of color. That might be the only reason why the cops did not listen to Glenda’s constant appeal and allowed Dahmer to take Konerak back to his apartment. Glenda had shivers down her spine when she heard the cops’ decision. Therefore, she went back to her room and repeatedly called the cops to verify the risk to the child, but in response, the cops assured her that it was just a “boyfriend-boyfriend” thing.
Glenda eventually heard the drilling and screaming again that night. Despite her best attempts, she was unable to save Konerak’s passing, which left her feeling extremely devastated and traumatized for the rest of her life. Glenda begged the owner of the flat to expel Dahmer, but instead of leaving, Dahmer became agitated and confronted Glenda. He gave her a meat sandwich with a chilling look in his eyes, but Glenda was not faint-hearted. She gave him a direct look, refused to eat the sandwich, and drove him away from her room.
Finally, on June 22, 1991, Dahmer was arrested when his last victim, Tracy Edward, escaped from his grip and brought the cops to his room. When Glenda discovered that the room next to her was filled with corpses and dismembered body parts, her mental stability was gravely affected. She was given the notice to vacate the apartment, so she took shelter in her daughter Sandra’s house for a few days. Meanwhile, Glenda lost her data entry job for a very minor reason. As Glenda struggled to recover from the trauma, she frequently broke down and sobbed in private during work hours, inciting her coworkers to strike against her. It is intolerable to witness the sheer filth towards communities of color in that generation. “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” however, presents the facts when it reveals to us that after Jeffrey’s arrest, Glenda’s alibi was totally ignored. The reason was that no one from the Milwaukee police or the media had come to speak with Glenda. Most likely, because an extensive interview to showcase her side of the story would have revealed the flaws in the judicial system; additionally, nobody from Milwaukee came forward except a human rights activist, Reverend Jackson.
What worried Glenda most was Konerak’s helpless condition, where she couldn’t do him justice no matter how hard she tried. She stood with the grieving family of Konerak, offering all the emotional support she could. In the interim, Dahmer’s court appearance took place, and he was placed in the Columbiana Correctional Facility. Unfortunately, Dahmer did not get the death penalty since Wisconsin had not yet implemented capital punishment. However, the victims’ family, along with Glenda, felt no pity for the demonic murderer and began counting down the days till his death. Glenda was insistent that she didn’t want to give up her own residence for a terrible guy’s evil crimes. Despite Sandra’s repeated requests, she chose to live in that same room that involved her trauma. Glenda fought with herself and forced herself to remain in the same apartment, even though it was hard to sleep comfortably when 5–6 people had been slaughtered in the next room. Glenda thus spent the night sleeping in the entry corridor among the other Oxford residents. The Oxford Apartments were eventually ordered for demolition to eliminate Dahmer’s belongings. Glenda insisted that the site should be turned into a park with a memorial for each victim, but her request was completely ignored.
The Milwaukee Police Department honored Glenda for her standoff with a Citizen Merit award. But all she wanted was for the judicial system to be stricter, as she didn’t want anything similar to happen again. Glenda still found it difficult to get past her pain. This made her feel internally outraged, and she had a burning desire to use her own hands to murder Dahmer. However, in the end, ashamed of her own thoughts, Glenda confessed all in church. Glenda’s closest friend comforted her with healing words upon hearing the agony that had piled up in her mind. According to her friend, one day, when this time would pass, she would not have such negative thoughts, even if she saw or heard Dahmer’s name mentioned anywhere. Since Glenda waited so long to see Dahmer get the punishment he really deserved, she liked to hold off a bit longer so that her own suffering could eventually end.
The story of Glenda Cleveland, a lady who despised the weak justice of the law and bravely stood in public to protest against a murderer like Dahmer, is incredibly inspirational and heroic. In real life, a Mississippian named Glenda Cleveland lived alone in an apartment which was not in Oxford but close by. Her daughter, Sandra Smith, and niece, Nichole Childress, were the first to notice Konerak, who prompted Glenda to call the police right away. Since she was a woman of color, the law blatantly overlooked her request. However, she frequently gave interviews to the media on this. Despite all this, she mustered enough courage to stay in her apartment, and finally, in 2011, at the age of 56, her dead body was found in the flat. She died naturally of a heart attack.
In Ryan Murphy’s Dahmer series, Glenda Cleveland gets a little fanciful, as Murphy portrays her as Dahmer’s closest neighbor. But a very realistic depiction of her suffering and longing for justice might be seen. The emotional fragility of a person who has gone through such a trauma is brilliantly captured in this presentation. Nicey Nash’s outstanding performance really captured how horrific it could have been for her. This incident not only highlights Glenda’s bravery and protest language but also exposes flaws in the legal system. The show repeatedly wants to teach us that if the law is in any way crooked, everyone must become Glenda Cleveland.