A few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a story about a woman who says she went to sleep in the home of a male friend, and when she woke up realized she’d been raped. The woman didn’t go to the police — she believed it would be useless. So the took matters into her own hands. She told her story on Facebook, naming the man who assaulted her.
When she did, other women posted about similar experiences with the same man. For the perpetrator shamed via Facebook, there were consequences . He was a musician, and lost gigs. His landlord threw him out of his building.
You can read the article here:
To provide context around the issue of social media shaming, the Inquirer reporter asked experts about their views. One professor noted that once information is posted online, it is out of anyone’s control, and there’s no knowing what will happen. Another worried, according to the article, that “there’s a great deal of damage that can be done, and not much good.” She did, however, acknowledge that often victims don’t have good alternatives.
The experts seemed mostly concerned about the effect on the person being publicly shamed. The woman who posted the story, however, felt that she was making a public service announcement.
The story made me think about the question of exposing sociopaths on social media. Does it work?
My experience is that it does work, and you can avoid repercussions as long as the person you are exposing is not in a position to retaliate.
I launched Lovefraud in 2005. One of my goals was exposing my ex-husband, James Montgomery, as a con artist. At the time, he was still actively looking for new women to target. Six different women contacted me to say that Montgomery tried to hook up with them online. They Googled him, found Lovefraud, and dumped him. So in these cases, shaming my ex-husband was definitely a public service.
Still, I knew I was taking a chance. My ex-husband could have filed a lawsuit against me for defamation. I would have won, because everything I said was true, and I have documentation. Plus, the judge in our divorce found that he was guilty of fraud. But if Montgomery had filed a lawsuit, it would have cost me money to hire an attorney to defend myself.
Fortunately for me, my ex-husband was broke. And, he owed me more than $1.25 million from the judgment in our divorce. He couldn’t afford to take me to court.
So if you are considering outing a sociopath on social media, the key question is, does this person have the resources to come after you? If the answer is yes, you need to evaluate the risk, and determine if you’re prepared to accept it.
I explain what you need to think about in the following article:
Exposing the sociopath, on Lovefraud.com
Some sociopaths do have the means to retaliate against being exposed, but luckily, many do not.
Did you expose a sociopath online?
One of the key reasons why sociopaths are able to victimize one person after another is that their exploitative behavior is hidden. Many people who were targeted just don’t want to talk about what happened to them. I get it. But when no one talks about what happened, the sociopath just moves merrily along to the next victim.
If a crime is committed and the case is high profile enough, the police might get involved, the sociopath might be arrested and the case might go to trial. But most of us never see that. Often, the police are not interested in investigating what happened to us. Or, we know what happened, but we can’t prove it. There is no legal avenue to pursue.
But now we have the Internet and social media. We do have the means to ruin the reputation of people who deserve to have their reputations ruined.
So, have you exposed a sociopath online? If so, did it work? I’d love to hear your perspective. Please tell your story in a comment below. Or, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.