How to spot a sex­ual preda­tor:

Clas­sic warn­ing signs and how to pro­tect your­self

Sunday Express - - HEALTH/RELATIONSHIPS -

CARA Delevinge, a 25-year-old Bri­tish model and ac­tress, is among the lat­est stars in a se­ries of sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against Har­vey We­in­stein, claim­ing he at­tempted to kiss her and co­erce her into hav­ing a three­some in a ho­tel room.

In an In­sta­gram post, Cara ex­plained she “felt very pow­er­less and scared” in the sit­u­a­tion but man­aged to es­cape.

The 65-year-old film pro­ducer has been sacked from The We­in­stein Com­pany, which he co-founded, fol­low­ing a string of more than 30 ac­cu­sa­tions, which in­clude rapes that date back decades.

Gwyneth Pal­trow, An­gelina Jolie, Asia Ar­gento, Ash­ley Judd, Rose McGowan, Rosanna Ar­quette and many more are among the celebri­ties who have come for­ward, and Am­bra Bat­ti­lana Gutierrez, an Ital­ian model, even recorded the mogul con­fess­ing to grop­ing her in a un­der­cover op­er­a­tion with the New York Po­lice two years ago.

The al­le­ga­tions over the past week were prompted af­ter an ex­posé in the New York

Times on Oc­to­ber 5 re­vealed at least eight set­tle­ments have been made with women in the past three decades.

Whilst We­in­stein “un­equiv­o­cally de­nied” any non-con­sen­sual sex, he said, “I ap­pre­ci­ate the way I’ve be­haved with col­leagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sin­cerely apol­o­gize for it,” whilst he re­port­edly has es­caped to sex ad­dic­tion re­hab.

His wife, Ge­orgina Chap­man, co-founder of March­esa De­signs has left him, de­scrib­ing his ac­tions as “un­for­giv­able”.

Con­sid­er­ing re­cent events, it is timely to un­cover just who a sex­ual preda­tor is, in both straight and same sex re­la­tion­ships.

How to spot a sex­ual preda­tor

“They can wield a lot of con­trol and power,” says ther­a­pist Leonie Adam­son who has 10 years clin­i­cal prac­tice who spe­cial­izes in sex­ual abuse.

“But the most in­ter­est­ing thing to con­sider is why they don’t stand out from the crowd. Of­ten peo­ple will talk about them be­ing creepy or lech­er­ous, but with­out any sub­stan­tive in­for­ma­tion, there is no real proof.

“Some peo­ple will know only too well what they are ca­pa­ble of, such as the celebri­ties that have come for­ward about Har­vey We­in­stein, but won’t want to ‘rock the boat’, per­haps fear­ful of any reper­cus­sions this may have on them.”

“I have coun­selled many women who have ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual trauma. They have been emo­tion­ally scarred, lost their sense of iden­tity, and live with the ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery sin­gle day”, says Leonie.

“It starts with the cy­cle of abuse and very quickly be­comes a night­mare, from which there is no es­cape. Us­ing words and ac­tions, the preda­tor will un­der­mine her ev­ery move, dic­tate ev­ery thought and in the end, he will have ul­ti­mate power and con­trol over her ev­ery­day life.

“In many cases, vic­tims weren’t be­lieved, and this has caused them fur­ther distress. In some cases, they have come from abu­sive fam­i­lies them­selves and their sense of self-worth is so low, that they feel they de­serve to be treated badly.

“How­ever, be­cause the sex­ual preda­tor flour­ishes in si­lence and covert be­hav­iour, the mask must be un­cov­ered to help free vic­tims from this abuse. Their voices must be heard and re­spected. Al­ways.”

He’s re­ally at­ten­tive in the early stages

In the ini­tial stages of the re­la­tion­ship, the per­pe­tra­tor will be very at­ten­tive. Lots of calls and texts which seem quite in­no­cent. This does not mean that they are a preda­tor, but if it con­tin­ues and in­ten­si­fies then they are wor­ry­ing signs.

This is how the per­pe­tra­tor be­gins to build the process of de­pen­dency of the vic­tim. They will be very much the an­swer to their dreams, a knight in shin­ing ar­mour, and would cer­tainly never hurt them.

They are be­ing pro­tected, loved, re­spected and are the fo­cus of the preda­tor. This is the be­gin­ning of the groom­ing process. The per­pe­tra­tor will use their loy­alty, and vul­ner­a­bil­ity against them at a later stage.

He uses ma­nip­u­la­tive lan­guage

The el­e­ment of gaslight­ing will be slow but care­fully in­tro­duced, whereby the preda­tor will mock the vic­tim on her clothes, friends, or any­thing else which doesn’t meet his ex­pec­ta­tion.

When the vic­tim chal­lenges the preda­tor (in the early stages), he will lie, twist the in­for­ma­tion, make her feel like she is the bad per­son, state how hurt he is, and that he doesn’t de­serve this kind of treat­ment. Af­ter all he has been so good to her.

In the end, emo­tion­ally ex­hausted, and feel­ing very stressed she will re­lent and ac­cept that it was all her fault and apol­o­gize. This shows the preda­tor that he can con­trol and ma­nip­u­late her, with­out any fear that she may chal­lenge him.

He makes it seem nor­mal

The vic­tim has now nor­mal­ized the be­hav­iour and feels that per­haps this is what she de­serves.

This cy­cle of abuse has now be­gun, the ini­tial hon­ey­moon pe­riod is over, the un­com­fort­able feel­ing that some­thing was wrong is now clearer and the “ex­plo­sion” where the preda­tor makes his move is now a re­al­ity. This pat­tern will start with emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse and ul­ti­mately in­clude sex­ual abuse.

He plays the vic­tim

There’s a real sense of grandiose be­hav­iour associated with this kind of man. Never tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and al­ways play­ing the vic­tim. This kind of cool in­dif­fer­ence is very sim­i­lar to nar­cis­sism, but again not all nar­cis­sists are sex­ual preda­tors.

They will use co­er­cive con­trol to get the vic­tim to play the deadly game of cat and mouse and will al­ways blame her for what goes wrong, or if she re­fuses will de­grade her in what­ever way he feels is nec­es­sary to teach her a les­son.

Women who have ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual abuse as a child are per­haps more vul­ner­a­ble to this type of groom­ing and will be re-trau­ma­tized as a re­sult.

He ridicules her

A sex­ual preda­tor will have no con­sid­er­a­tion for her thoughts and feel­ings, in­stead fo­cus­ing on him­self. He will be mak­ing sex­ual com­ments to her, com­ment­ing on her per­for­mance, iso­lat­ing her in­se­cu­ri­ties to use as bait later.

Need­ing to know ev­ery de­tail about her past ex­pe­ri­ences is also an in­di­ca­tor. The preda­tor can then ridicule her us­ing de­grad­ing lan­guage to her and us­ing words that in­sult and be­lit­tle her.

He pushes her bound­aries sex­u­ally

He will have no re­spect for healthy bound­aries, al­ways need­ing to push you to carry out tasks which are not com­fort­able for you. He’ll get a huge kick out of this, and is likely to be vig­i­lant in his ap­proach, re­gard­less of the vic­tims fear and anx­i­ety.

There could be sug­ges­tions of risky sex­ual be­hav­iour, in which the vic­tim en­gages with other men and the preda­tor watches.

He will then use this to black­mail her later, and this is the start of the cruel as­pect of the be­hav­iour, where the vic­tim will feel to­tally hu­mil­i­ated and trapped in the re­la­tion­ship.

He dis­em­pow­ers her

All the while he will be as­sur­ing the vic­tim that the be­hav­iours are okay, and that he loves her. He will try to nor­mal­ize her distress and tell her that she has done it be­fore and will again. That peo­ple now know that she is pro­mis­cu­ous and that she is lucky that he stays with her.

All feed­ing into the de­struc­tion of her con­fi­dence, which will dis­em­power her. Over­whelmed and lonely, she has no fam­ily to talk to, and he will have iso­lated her from any friends who could have helped.

They were a threat to him, they could have seen be­hind his mask, and in­flu­enced her. So, they had to be erad­i­cated sooner rather than later.

He se­cretly boasts about his con­quests

Fi­nally, a sex­ual preda­tor will boast of his con­quests and make the vic­tim feel less of a woman as he de­scribes his other re­la­tion­ships. Re­liv­ing the re­la­tion­ship, and know­ing he is caus­ing distress, he needs a re­ac­tion to fuel his game.

He will have no con­cept of what is ap­pro­pri­ate if he is not in­con­ve­nienced in any way. He will be a dif­fer­ent per­son to the out­side world, which just negates any­thing she says about him - his mask never slips.

What now?

Should you feel that you have been or are in a re­la­tion­ship with a sex­ual preda­tor, please don’t be afraid to speak up. Seek sup­port from rel­e­vant or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Mak­ing sure you have a safety plan in place is vi­tally im­por­tant if the re­la­tion­ship is still on­go­ing. Preda­tors are very in tune to any sub­tle changes in the re­la­tion­ship, and will know if some­thing has changed in the re­la­tion­ship dy­namic.

Gather as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble, and con­sider us­ing le­gal pro­vi­sions, as the preda­tor will not want to ac­cept the re­la­tion­ship is over and may in­crease his cam­paign ac­cord­ingly.

Make note of any cor­re­spon­dence from the preda­tor, but do not re­ply to it. Re­mem­ber that this is not your fault and you can be free of the preda­tor. Be con­sis­tent, strong and have your voice re­spected. — Daily Mail

AC­TRESS An­gelina Jolie is one of the women claim­ing Har­vey We­in­stein sex­u­ally as­saulted her. MORE than 20 women have come for­ward to tell their sto­ries of how Har­vey We­in­stein sex­u­ally as­saulted them.

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