Recognizing a Sexual Predator

As taboo as this topic may be, it’s important to address how real sexual predators are. Being able to pick up on some of these characteristics may just help save a person’s life.

According to therapist Leonie Adamson, there are eight characteristics that can be pretty telling when trying to spot a sexual predator. Adamson believes that the most interesting thing to consider about predators is why they don’t stand out in a crowd. People will usually explain them as being creepy but there isn’t really any concrete proof.

Attentiveness (in the early phase)

In the beginning stages of this kind of relationship, the predator will be super attentive. You might receive a lot of calls and texts from them which may seem innocent at first. If this behavior continues and is excessive, then they should be warning signs. This is the person’s way of creating a sense of dependency on the victim. 

It may seem like they’ll help you reach all of your dreams and be your knight in shining armor, but it all is part of a front they put on to gain loyalty and vulnerability from a victim, only to use it against them in a later stage.

Manipulative Language

This characteristic is slow and carefully introduced. The predator will start to mock the victim’s clothes, friends and anything else she values that don’t meet his expectations. When the victim first challenges the predator, they’ll probably lie and twist the information, make the victim feel like they’re at fault, share how hurt they are and that how they don’t deserve this kind of treatment. This will most likely cause the victim to become emotionally exhausted and stressed, which leads to relenting and accepting that they are to blame. If this happens, it will prove to the predator that they’re able to control and manipulate the victim without any fear that they’ll challenge them again.

Making it seem normal

By this stage, the victim has normalized the behavior from the predator and feels that this is what they deserve. A cycle of abuse has now been established.

The “honeymoon phase” is over, the uncomfortable feeling that something was wrong is now apparent and the time where the predator makes their move is now, unfortunately, a reality. This pattern will start with emotional and psychological abuse and ultimately include sexual abuse.

Painting themselves as the victim

This type of person is known for never taking responsibility for what they have done and instead plays the victim. They will use coercive control to get the actual victim to play their games and feel bad for them when something goes wrong. Those who have suffered sexual abused as a child are more vulnerable to this type of grooming and can be re-traumatized as a result.


A sexual predator won’t have any consideration for a person’s thoughts or feelings; he focuses on himself instead. He’ll start making sexual comments to her, commenting on her performance and isolating her insecurities to use against her in the future. Another indicator is if the predator feels the need to know every detail about her past experiences with partners. He can then ridicule her by using degrading language and generally insulting her or belittling her.

Sexual boundaries

There will be no respect for healthy boundaries; they’ll push you to carry out tasks that you aren’t comfortable with. They’ll enjoy this too much and will likely be vigilant in their approach, regardless of the victim’s fears and anxiety. They may suggest risky sexual acts, such as the victim engaging with other partners while the predator watches. They  will then use this as blackmail against the victim later and this is where the cruelest aspect of the behavior begins.

The victim feels completely humiliated and trapped in a toxic relationship.


In this stage, they’ll ensure the victim that the behaviors are okay because of love. They will try to normalize distress and tell the victim that they’ve done these sexual acts before and it’ll happen again. They’ll say that people know that of lacking self-respect and that they’re lucky to have someone that stays. 

This all feeds into the deterioration of confidence which will disempower the victim. They will become overwhelmed and lonely because they can’t talk to loved ones; is isolated from any possible person who can help her. These supportive people in the victim’s life posed as a threat to the predator because they could see through the toxicity while the victim may not have been able to.

Bragging about conquest

Lastly, a sexual predator will brag of what they’ve done and make the victim feel less of a person as they describe other relationships. To keep this game going, the predator needs to receive reactions from the victim by continuously causing distress. They won’t know what’s appropriate and what’s not if there are no inconveniences. The predator will be a completely different person to the unknowing world which negates anything the victim says otherwise.

If you feel like you’ve been in a relationship with a predator or that you are in one now, don’t be afraid to speak up. Reach out to relevant organizations for help and support such as the ones listed here.

Victims of sexual assault need to be respected and their voices must always be heard. We must support them.