Stand Up to Sexual Predators—7 Warning Signs

With the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal in the spotlight, now is a good time to take a look at the personality traits and behaviors of a sexual predator. Statistics show that two-thirds of assaults are perpetrated by someone whom the victim knows. Perpetrators often try to win the trust of their victims over time before the aggressive behavior begins.

According to Dr. Noelle Nelson, author Dangerous Relationships, How To Identify And Respond To The Seven Warning Signs Of A Troubled Relationship, here are the progressive signs that could mean a relationship is headed toward abuse.

  1. A passionate whirlwind beginning that knocks you off your feet–the abuser initially showers the victim with attention. You’re made to feel important and special.
  2. Possessiveness–the abuser soon seeks to control, dominate and isolate you from family and friends. The perpetrator tries to convince you that he (or she) is the only one you can truly believe. Who needs anyone else?
  3. Quick and sudden personality changes by the abuser when they don’t get what they want—going from Mr./Ms. Wonderful into Mr./Ms. Hyde–a monster that springs out of nowhere. You’re confused—who is this person??
  4. The blame game begins–you’re wrong about everything, while the abuser is always right. You start to doubt yourself.
  5. You’re subjected to verbal abuse–words that criticize, demean and cut you to the quick.
  6. The abuser shows a cruel and insensitive attitude toward others. He/she lacks empathy. The perpetrator demands to be sexually satisfied—whether you want to participate or not. The stage is set for violence.
  1. The violence starts–whether you’re shoved, hit, beaten or sexually attacked, you don’t want to believe what’s happening. You minimize, deny or think it’s all your fault but it’s not. The perpetrator, still playing the Mr./Ms. Wonderful, Mr./Ms. Hyde game, will continue abuse.

If you see these warning signs developing, get out as soon as possible. If you’ve been violated, don’t stay quiet. Reach out to friends and family (HR if the abuse involves a boss or co-worker)—and contact the police if a crime has been committed. Staying quiet only means the predator will seek out another victim to abuse.