With the Jian Ghomeshi scandal breaking new stories every few hours, the aspect of bullying and intimidation has come forward as one of the many ways in which predators control their victims … or try to control their victims. What is common among many predators who use bullying and intimidation to keep their victims in line is the fact that at the core of their being, they are anxious about their own limitations and a distrust of others because they recognize in themselves that they cannot be trusted.
They generally have an air of superiority and have a need for power over others as well as adulation and fawning. There is no respect shown by predators for others, and there is no reciprocity unless, in doing so, it benefits the predator.
Some mistakenly believe that nice people cannot be predators. The truth of the matter is that there are people who are perceived as being nice who are among some of the most dangerous predators out there.
They seem to lack empathy and their insecurity about themselves manifests itself in the predator’s air of superiority and the need for power over others.
For the most part, predators have minimal coping skills with which to deal with the stresses of every day living. As their anxiety levels rise, so does their propensity for abusing others as they perceive their world as spiralling out of control to varying degrees.
How they succeed has everything to do with how successful they are in breaking their victim’s confidence. Through manipulation and unpredictable behavior, they drive a wedge between the victim’s self-confidence and the victim’s realistic view of the situation. Once this has been accomplished, predators know they can control and instill terror in the life of their victim or victims. What’s more, they will make their victim second guess themselves and where necessary, push their victim towards feelings of paranoia.
Predators are very good at making themselves look very good and making their victims look — and feel — very bad (when victims feel unable to stand up to the predator).
Previous to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal breaking, he was known to be an award-winning broadcaster whose show had the largest audience of any cultural affairs program in Canada … a show that was syndicated in the U.S. and that was lauded in the Washington Post. He is a former member of the Board of Governors at the Stratford Theatre Festival, and worked with many established arts groups with clout. He won a New York Festivals award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. His Twitter account is blue tick verified, and has been for a long, long time. And he’s hobnobbed with major established celebrities. In all, a very impressive resume that is far longer than what’s been mentioned here. He has a large following on social media where he is reported in the media and by acquaintances as focusing a large amount of time. The balance of power is in his favor.
This is why, when the scandal began to break, so many were incredulous at what was being said about Jian.
From personal experience, I can state that I have been stalked and trolled by a predator and some of his inner circle for four years now. Like Jian, he has an award that’s tied to the same Queen and he’s received other awards. Like Jian, he’s rubbed shoulders with (minor) celebrities. Like Jian, he has a large following on social media (although there is some question as to how many of those followers are bought and paid for followers) where he claims to focus a large amount of his time. Unlike Jian, his Twitter account is not blue tick verified in spite of a months-long aggressive campaign in an attempt to jump the Twitter blue tick verification process. The balance of power seems to be in his favor in his estimation.
When I rebuffed his many attempts to follow me on various social media platforms — I blocked him — he became abusive. When I refused to join him on one of his many social media crusades, he targeted me. When he couldn’t intimidate me into folding to his wishes, he increased his efforts by contacting people I knew and (unsuccessfully) attempting to spread lies about me to them.
He made sure I knew he had people stalking my social media accounts and news feeds, and to this day, he continues to spread wild confabulations about me. If he lived closer to where I live, I would be far more worried about his behavior than I am. But he lives a reasonable distance away, and I ignore most of his attacks against me and those who are close to me (including attacks against my son with multiple diagnoses).
However, this is without a doubt,the behavior of a predator, and this is the world in which we now live. Studies have proven that 1 in 100 people is a psychopath. Not every predator is a psychopath, however, they seem to share many traits and characteristics with psychopaths.
When people on social media question why it is that the women alleging that Jian Ghomeshi assaulted them didn’t file police reports against him or why they didn’t go to the CBC and discuss with human resources what happened to them, it’s because they may not understand the nature of a predator. In fact, many of them have stated in the media that they felt they wouldn’t be believed, and that speaking up would lead to reprisals.
Intimidation, abuse, and violence — verbal, psychological, mental, and/or physical — are all part of a predator’s tool kit. People like Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris seem to have known this. And predators will do whatever it takes to gain and retain control of their victims and their victims’ lives.
Ask Brianna Wu.
Ask Carla Ciccone.
Ask Anita Sarkeesian.
Ask Lucy DeCoutere.
Ask any victim who has lived through the assaults by a predator and the predator’s blind but loyal followers.
This is another set of reasons why victims are reluctant to make known what has happened to them … or what is still happening to them. It’s not as easy to speak out as one might think.