How to spot a sexual predator
A sexual predator is a person who obtains or tries to obtain sexual contact with another person in a predatory or abusive manner.
The behavior of a sexual predator is characterized the way a predator hunts down its prey, so the sexual predator is seen as hunting for his sex partners.
A sexual predator preys on the innocence and ignorance of women and girls. They are sleek, calculative and smart.
Someone who is a sexual predator can carry out their crimes for years without being discovered. They thrive on secrecy and fear.
Amidst the many revelations about women being sexually abused in Nigeria, it has become imperative for Nigerian women and girls to know how to spot a sexual predator.
A sexual predator can wield a lot of control and power’, says therapist Leonie Adamson who has 10 years clinical practice who specialises 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.
It is sad that many women who have experienced sexual trauma have been emotionally scarred, lost their sense of identity, and live with the experience every single day.
It starts with the cycle of abuse and vquickly becomes a nightmare, from which there is no escape. These women feel trapped because the sexual predator uses their shame to his advantage.
Using words and actions, the predator will undermine his victim’s every move, dictate every thought and in the end, he will have ultimate power and control over her everyday life.
This is why many victims of sexual abuse are not believed, and this causes them further distress.
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.
Here are some signs of a sexual predator women should look out for:
1. He’s really attentive in the early stages
In the initial stages of the relationship, the predator will be very attentive. You will receive lots of calls and texts which seem quite innocent from him.
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.
2. 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 apologise. This shows the predator that he can control and manipulate her, without any fear that she may challenge him.
3. He makes it seem normal
The victim has now normalised the behaviour and feels that perhaps this is what she is 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 explosionwhere the predator makes his move is now a reality. This pattern will start with emotional and psychological abuse and ultimately include sexual abuse.
4. He plays the victim
There’s a real sense of grandiose behaviour associated with this kind of man. He never takes responsibility for his actions and he’s always playing the victim.
He 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, he 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-traumatised as a result.
5. He ridicules her
A sexual predator will have no consideration for her thoughts and feelings, instead he will keep 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.
6. 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.
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.
7. 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 and normalise her distress and tell her that she has done it before and will again.
He will start telling her that people now know that she is promiscuous and that she is lucky that he is staying with her.
He will be feeding off the destruction of her confidence, which will only disempower her. He would have isolated her from family and friends to keep her completely hooked on him and the cycle of abuse that never ends.
8. He secretly boasts about his conquests
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 be a different person to the outside world, which just negates anything she says about him – his mask never slips.
Dear woman, if you feel that you are in a relationship with a sexual predator, please don’t be afraid to speak up. Seek support from relevant non governmental organisations.
Have an escape plan in motion and if this sexual predator has raped you, report him to law enforcement officers. Take charge of your life.