Dear John, I Believe The Women.
#IBelieveTheWomen #DearJohn #MeToo
On the 13th March 2020, John McGuigan, The Glasgow Dog Trainer posted about suffering at the hands of campaigners who were harassing him and his family by accusing him of sexual predation. He explained this was very distressing for his mental health. I have shared his post underneath this text, so you can scroll read that first to bring yourself fully in the picture and be assured I am not misquoting.
I am one of those women he "sought the company of". I am also one of those women John claims are “campaigning” against him.
I do not consider myself to be a vulnerable woman.
I am speaking up now because he has opened this up to a public forum, and I get to stand for those who can’t have a voice.
I won't minimize my story to cater to your comfort.
There will be spelling a grammatical mistake, deal with it.
His post is an admission of guilt, and power move to control the narrative and appear himself as the suffering and helpless victim whilst hiding the details of the story. An act of self-expression, self-interested and attempt to be noticed amid the other one billion people who posted on social media on Friday.
A true apology involves specifics, accountability of blame and is totally void of defence, justification, or further manipulation. It is not conditional on understanding or acceptance because, a true apology is it’s not about you, at all.
His post is offensive to those who are still suffering because of his behaviour and a very familiar lie that he’s peddled for years without any forward going effect on how intentionally he behaves.
John talks of an “orchestrated campaign” against him with people contacting his family and invading his privacy. When he tells the story in persona, he calls me and the other women fronting this “psychotic exes” who are trying to “ruin him”.
The “women who don’t like me” he refers to, are in fact all the women who have gone through appropriate professional and legal channels to report their experience AND the countless professionals who have been mentors who have counselled affected women over the years of which there are many. Neither I, nor anyone involved as far as I am aware, have ever contacted his family, and the only reason I have protected him this long is because he has children, and clearly, he has a problem.
This damage limitation attempt gets him immediate gratification for the vanity metrics of likes and comments and has also made it possible for some of the “women he sought company of” to go public and give you the specifics and detail he’s conveniently left out of his PR move.
What follows is my story.
It’s long, and only reflective of my own experiences.
There are others writing their experiences and accounts which I encourage you to also read.
There were early signs that I didn’t see the significance of at the time.
After I employed John to work at our facility, one of my staff members parents – a Police Officer and former colleague of Johns warned me that he didn’t want “that man” anywhere need his daughter.
Countless women approached me at events, sent anonymous emails and texts warning me that he was a sexual predator.
Most of all, his own words, uttered maybe two meetings into our relationship - ought to have been the biggest warning; “I made a mistake a few years ago and there are some psychotic women who are trying to destroy me for it. All I ask is that you take me as you find me”
Oh, I am.
We are all, taking you exactly as we have found you John. My name is now added to that list he spoke of.
My intimate relationship with John was strung over a few months, very intense and involved a strong push pull dynamic.
He controlled all the interactions.
One moment he was all “you drive me absolutely crazy, I can’t get enough” the next moment, no replies for weeks on end. Then he’d phone me, out of the blue, masturbating down the line and asking to meet up.
He was so grateful I was there for him, to support him whilst he was struggling with his depression. I felt he was honest, genuine, and needed me.
I broke all by boundaries, let go of all my defence, dropped my leadership - and left myself open.
I felt honoured to be “chosen” as his confidant. That he would call me when it was all too much. That I got to comfort him…
Little did I know that these quiet spells were in fact times when someone else was flavour of the month, and that the whole scene from the grooming, the insults, the compliments and the “can’t live without you’s” to the suicide threats, and the makeup sex all the way through to the dumping was in fact a well-rehearsed routine.
Like many of the women involved, I kept contact with John for a long time after we romantically finished.
I publicly defended him.
I turned away women who turned to me for help.
They didn’t now him like I did. He needed me.
They misunderstood or where ‘overly sensitive’, I had to be strong for him and stand for him as his friend.
In November 2018 I asked John to teach at my retreat. Beautiful private hotel, 12 of my Mastery students, free meals provided, laughter, hot tubs, fun, connection, a safe haven – my retreats are EPIC.
He threw me under the bus immediately after I gave him a warm and welcoming introduction. Literally his opening line was;
“So, this is going to be different. Forget everything Christina has told you about “drive”, I don’t subscribe to all that nonsense. I do things differently”
To this day I have no idea what he meant, but it does highlight his dogged determination to use a platform to diminish others and
Perhaps ‘drive’ (which I presume he means using a functional reinforcer) would be a useful thing for him to consider, given his ‘American bull terrier’ couldn’t be removed from a branch later that day during his demo.
I digress, that sentence said a lot, isn’t relative, is bitter, and is also true.
I continued to be a good friend/sucker/’under the veil’/manipulated.
I have learned as a businesswoman that generosity can absolutely be your weakness, but you can turn it into the strongest asset you have.
This was an example where my ‘generosity’ screwed me (and lots of other women) over. Actually, if we dig into it – it’s not generosity, it’s seeking acceptance, a safety behaviour and a trauma response, but that’s for another day.
In November 2018, John confided in me that he was struggling in his business finances, and I asking him if he’d like my help pulling together a Mentorship program. My very words were “it’s crazy that you’re not training trainers, let’s do this!”
We met up at Costas, he offered to take me back to his place afterward – which I not so politely rebuffed as we were now ‘friends’ who could ‘banter’ and, sorry feminism - who doesn’t want to be told they are hot by a hot guy! Look how 21st century we all are! #modernwoman
We hashed out a plan, and I gave him free access to my 10K Mastery Program. He released his own Program later that week and cashed about 3.5K in the bank immediately and secured an income of 30K over the year. You’re welcome buddy!
He later told several people that I owed him money. If anyone would like to see the paid invoices from his contracted hours at the facility, his facilitation fee at my retreat, or his account in my academy – which sits at £0 – they are open to you.
Next came Woof in February 2019.
I enjoyed meeting John at events.
It was like we had a little secret that no one knew.
We were connected on another level.
I didn’t know at the time that a significant proportion of the room felt the same.
He was struggling to make further sales into his program so, over a whisky on the first evening - I gave him a sales process and a quick tutorial on what to say to adequately demonstrate the value of this program if the client was a right fit to benefit from his teaching.
As I’m explaining this, he pulled out his penis and asked me if I’d like to suck it.
By this point, I am so used to all the lewd behaviour, it didn’t even land. No thank you, and he put it away.
The next day a renowned trainer approached me, her hands shaking and asked if we could speak privately. She had been through a tough time and wanted to talk to me about Johns abusive behaviour toward her. We agreed to call each other after the conference – neither of us wanted to miss Susan F talk – obviously. [edit 16/03/2020 - A helpful fan of Johns has rightfully pointed out the 'inconsistency in my story', I'm pleased this is what she took away from it. I thought it was Susan we were waiting to see, and I can't remember who was on later that day, perhaps Dr Joe Layng or someone else equally awesome. As established I sat with Steve White as testimony to my whereabouts. Unfortunately John made his presence very known at the last conference I attended - ClickerExpo, so it's all a bit jumbled and unfuckingnecessary - onward]
I felt a strong unease.
Later that day, a text message came into my phone, then an email with the subject line ‘help me’. The two individual senders were both at woof. Both feeling threatened, both stating John was using nearing as an aversive.
I asked him to come and talk to me.
“What is fuck John. You HAVE to stop this now, there is a trail of collateral damage following you around. This isn’t fair, you have a problem, and you need to get help”
John: [seething, and through his teeth]
“You are making me feel very uncomfortable right now. EVERYTHING I do is consensual”
“It’s fucking predation!!! It’s EVERYWHERE I go!!! You have a problem; you need to acknowledge that and get help”
John: [Eerily calm]
“Predation would imply force, and I’m never forceful.”
That’s not what predation implies, for the record.
Me: [my finest hour, hysterical by now]
“Fuck you, and fuck off”
Let’s talk about consent.
In his statement me remarks:
“did everything I could for them to be consensual interactions” and “All my interactions with the women who I was directly involved with were consensual and reciprocated.”
Consent, by law requires two parts, both freedom and capacity.
Freedom ensures the other party is agreeing freely and out of choice not pressure or circumstance.
The freedom element of consent is drastically compromised when a public figure is involved. There is a power dynamic at play with flattery, admiration, all at play and feelings for a man they want to “keep”. It is further compromised when in personal encounters are arranged by picking up the other person and driving them in your car to your home so they are in your domain before you make any sexual advances, where they then relying upon to get them home and have no independent escape route.
Capacity means they are able to consent to what’s happening, they fully understand what’s happening, and not under the influence of mind-altering substances, old enough, no language barrier etc.
Section 74 of the Sexual Offences 2003 states that ostensible consent in relation to sexual offences was considered not to be true consent, either because a condition upon which consent was given was not complied with or because of a material deception.
When consent is given it is given conditionally to the paradigm and beliefs you have about your relationship and the dynamic to believe to be true. If you believe you are building a life/relationship/future with someone, that they are not sexually active with any other people, that is what you consent is conditional upon. To learn that your partner is in fact in a relationship with several other people, none of which he’s using protection with, exposing your body to sexual health risks and that your relationship is in fact solely to satisfy his sexual need and you are little more than a warm body, this is a violation of the consent you gave.
When a partner promises to “pull out” as your contraception attempt, because he wants to ‘feel close to you’ – take your judgment elsewhere – if he then ejaculated inside of you, this is violating the conditional consent you gave to engage in that sexual act.
Being manipulated into doing things with your life, your body, your emotions based on lies and deceit hurts, a lot.
Here’s what John would have needed to say in order to be genuinely ‘seeking consent’;
“I’d like to dehumanise you, fuck you for a few weeks, lie to you about having a future together so you’ll give me your body and agree to do things in you’ll deeply regret later. I will fuck with your head, alternate between making you think I’m going to kill myself and making you think we are going to get married and ‘rule the industry’ until you don’t know what the fuck is going on to ensure that my ‘vulnerability’ appears to your better nature and you’ll give me anything I ask for. Additionally, I’ll also be screwing several other women with my unprotected penis and expose your body to potential sexual health risks AND I’d like to tell graphic stories and share your personal intimate details with said women. Finally, I’d like you to ‘be discreet’ so none of you find out about each other (unless I choose to tell you as an ego boost at who I’ve conquered) and to ensure you feel isolated and ashamed after I discard you so you never speak out. Furthermore, I’d like to maintain the guise of a friendship after I no longer need you for sex to ensure I can continue to influence your opinion of me, and if I am no longer able to do that for any reason, I’ll cut you off and talk shit about you to anyone who will listen. I’ll pull strings to ensure you are blocked from the international speaking circuit and I’ll make sure I’m super charming, charismatic and believable and that you look completely hysterical and unreliable because I’ve worked on this for a long time now. Is that cool?”
That would be seeking consent.
And I did not consent to that.
In May 2019, I flew to North Carolina to host a retreat with a colleague (then coach) Maggie Christina with some of my mastery students.
Whilst at the retreat, somebody referred to “McDickpickins”, and one of my students asked questions.
After a brief explanation several of the six students there admitted to having advances from John and pulled out their phones to show their proof.
The exact text message I sent to him was;
“You’re a piece of fucking work” – again, not my finest hour.
We decided to act at that point.
This had now involved dog owning clients of his, students of mine, colleagues in the industry, vulnerable women who were struggling as a consequence, and I’d lost count.
I created a social media post for women to be heard and be supported. I detailed the behaviour but protected his identity so that other victims would recognise it immediately.
I shared this in a private message to all my industry friends.
We wrote this letter to all the relevant the affiliate bodies.
Subject line: Serious professional concerns
"To whom it may concern,
I wish to draw a very serious matter to your attention.
I have serious concerns about a John McGuigan, The Glasgow Dog Trainer, regarding his behaviour towards many women in our industry.
There are a significant number of examples of communications over text and Facebook messenger, whereby Mr McGuigan has initiated interactions and sent obscene photographs to women. There is no ambiguity, this isn't hearsay or vicious rumour or misinterpretation. Not only is his erect penis in the pictures, so is his face. Incidents that we are aware of have occurred as recently as 6 weeks ago.
My main aim in bringing this to your attention is to ensure that other, possibly more vulnerable, women are protected from experiencing this abuse.
Over the last year or more, I have heard about many examples of Mr McGuigan’s behaviour towards women who are students, colleagues, friends and acquaintances within the dog training industry globally - many in the public eye. However, I was not in a position to directly address the concerns, until he engaged my services professionally. Mr McGuigan was a student of mine focusing on business development for a short period of time, before obscene messages from him to some of my female students came to my attention. I subsequently directly challenged him and voiced my serious concerns over his behaviour. However, as I have previously had a personal relationship with him, he has used this to suggest my challenge was also personal.
As a professional in the industry, I posted my concerns about the behaviour, not the person, on social media giving women a place of confidence to come to. The response was unanticipated, and warranted a police investigation into serious professional misconduct, bullying, sexual harassment, violence and more serious sexual crimes.
The police investigating details are as follows.
DS Danny Clark - investigating officer
Incident number PS-20190709-1722
0141 532 5510
His position of influence as an educator and mentor gives him a duty of care to those people who seek to learn from him, and I feel strongly that this is being abused. This situation needs to be ended. I have no desire to ruin Mr McGuigan’s business, and I am concerned about his mental health. However, turning a blind eye is granting permission for his behaviour to continue, and I am not prepared to be complicit in this.
I hope you understand this will require you to do your due diligence and research my position on this for yourself to discern its reliability and significance.
I hope that you will give this situation the serious attention it deserves and am very happy for you to contact me if you require further information. I have several other professional dog trainers in the public eye who will speak to you if helpful to confirm their first-hand account.
The letters started to pour in from individuals and mentors.
I won’t share their stories, but the volume and dynamics of the abuse flawed me.
One lady on her own had 30 complaints logged in the states complete with photographic evidence.
It turned out many women, standing alone – or so they believed - had been fighting him and the affiliate bodies who they couldn’t get to listen, for years.
This was horrific.
In response to his fundraiser for abused women. I contacted the charity. They had already been inundated with concerns about him and immediately pulled his opportunity to donate under their name, meaning he had to start again with his application as there is a legal requirement to return the money – and did so, asking donations to give again. On the third attempt, and presumably his insight, he changed the donation charity to ‘local women’s charities’.
So, I called them - all, one by one and shared my concerns.
I was contacted by many concerned speakers, and I told them my truth.
At least three professional ethics boards have assessed the situation and ALL of them have found sufficient cause to revoke his credentials and/or membership from our affiliate bodies and some have banned him from all public events.
You can see that he no longer displays affiliate badges on his website and in the hashtags he uses in his social media are now omitting these names.
He has been removed from several speaking gigs and online platforms.
The police have an investigation wide open.
Until today, I have never publicly used his name, disclosed this info to any of my students unless they asked me – in which case I have told the truth.
I haven’t used my social media platforms, my student base – a total number of around 28,000 people - to EVER raise awareness of who he is or what he done. John has now given me that opportunity this week by outing himself on social media.
Do you know what sucks, I’ve sat with him many evenings chuckling as he said to me “watch this, I’m going to wade in and shut that shit down” when his social media page was kicking off with angry people. Gleeful that he is in the fat controller’s seat able to rile so many people, and then play god with people’s lives. I can’t help but imagine him revelling in the notoriety of the implied “survivors of JM Support Group” (not an actual group).
Being a behaviour practitioner, a personal growth nerd and having spent much of my adult life in recovery – I know a thing or two about mental illness. I know the defence the selfishness that goes alongside any addiction and it’s this which had posed an additional sticky point for me.
As a human, I largely believe in compassion over punishment. But there comes a time, when standing by this belief becomes complicit in the harm of other. As always, predators rest their belief that women won't directly speak out because of their own shame, and guilt.
His supporters will publicly defend him and add to the assault when we tell our truth, and it doesn't matter. He's told them, just enough truth to create smoke and mirrors.
It doesn't matter if you “don't believe”, I'm not trying to change your mind. You probably as behavioural practitioner understand that consequences drive behaviour, and know that all behaviour has a function, I was caught up in the place for a long time too.
It doesn't matter if you "don't have enough info to make your mind up”. You are not entitled to hear the full account of anyone's trauma in order for you to make a judgement call, this isn't jury service and I am not seeking your approval.
It doesn’t matter if you are still "under the veil", I was for three years. I get it, believed him over EVERYONE, and defended him time and time again. For all the time he has a hold on you, and feels able to manipulate your view of him, you will not get the full force or see his true colours.
It doesn't matter if you think this is “mean, inappropriate, or the wrong way to handle it”. In order of appearance, I have taken many approaches over the last few months or so; friendly, concerned, desperate, angry, corporate, legal AND now thanks to his post, we are here on FB.
It doesn't matter if you believe “he needs help”, so do I. I've pleaded with him, yelled at him to get it, and a social media show down isn't helpful for anyone. Meanwhile his behaviour continues, and more women suffer. I am not prepared to stand by and allow that irrespective of my personal ethical stance of whether he can help it, I don’t think he can, and I hope he gets the help he needs.
This post is only for those effected to know they are not crazy.
As a voice for those who can’t come forward, who can’t even “like” this post they are so afraid of consequence.
As a response to Johns statement for those of you who appreciate detail and value two sides of a story.
And in an attempt to stop the repetition of this pattern and protect vulnerable women future harm.
Our understand and belief system is largely a result of our experiences. This is why we find it so hard to change our opinions.
I used to get angry at the #metoo movement – For god sake ladies, let men be men and learn how to play the game. I used to be a pole dancer - you just need to be powerful, masculine, YOU are in control. That was my world view. I am sorry I didn’t see the massive problem our world was facing for so many of you, now I see it in all its ugliness, and I stand with you.
I didn’t support women when they were telling me their truth. I am sorry your voice wasn’t heard by me in in your most vulnerable moment when you chose me to confide in. The must have been lonely, and hurtful and I will never make that mistake again when I get the opportunity.
I created his mentorship program, that on me – I am deeply sorry I orchestrated a situation which allowed that man to get that close to you if you have been one of those who suffered. Especially when I knew what I did and was too blinded by him to serve you the way I should have.
For his fan club, I ask that you give our side of the story the same energy as you gave his.
There is nothing brave or courageous about his actions in posting what he did.
What IS brave is all the women who have endured hours of interviews and personal, embarrassing, shameful details of their intimate life to take appropriate action or share their story, and risk judgement, ridicule and backlash to stand for others.
I am grateful to all the AMAZING men and women I have met along this unwanted journey, your support for each other and truth is magnificent, and I love you.
To my sisters in this,
The media presents a key democratic space by which to ensure that long suppressed accounts of sexual violence and trauma surface and are taken seriously, we must ensure bad men can’t use the law to silence women.
No one can quiet you without your permission.
Unfortunately, many women can’t give themselves permission.
Courage, like fear, is contagious.
𝗔𝗻 𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻.
Risk your truth. You have an opportunity to hold you hands up, not defensively, but in honesty and accept there is a problem you must face through the appropriate channels.
Do no harm is an important part of courage, and you are still doing harm. Our biggest fears are our route to our growth plan IF you choose to be the Leader you could be. You are influential, and the advancement of that for you is to allow yourself to be influenced by the people around you have highlighted the truth, not the ‘yes men’ responding to the version of it you see. Or, you can trade growth for sticking to the comfort and security of your belief that you are the victim here.
Your next level of performance relies on your next level of truth.
This post is an honest and true account of my experience. Written with the protection of Article 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights which states "everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
It is protected from claims of defamation of character even if this harms his reputation as it is all true and only my experience. It is protected from claims toward “rights to privacy” because John brought his side of the story to social media first and this is my response.
Original post this is in response to, dated Friday 13th March for John McGuigan, The Glasgow Dog Trainer.
"As some of you may be aware, I have suffered from severe depression over the last decade. When people have mental health issues, they seek ways to make themselves feel better; shopping, gambling, drinking, drugs, risk taking. For me, I sought the company of women. I made connections with women and always did everything I could for them to be consensual interactions. I realise my actions have caused some upset and distress and I sincerely apologise for that. It was never my intention. I will apologise to anyone who had an interaction with me which upset them. I have developed healthier strategies to deal with my depression.
Some women with whom I was involved
have contacted each other and over the last year have engaged in an orchestrated campaign against me. They have been supported by a handful of people who don't like me and have kept these rumours going. They have contacted friends and family, many times anonymously, leaving voicemails and sending emails and messages, accused me of serious sexual assault, sending unsolicited sexually graphic communications, told others I am a sexual predator and engaged in other activities which have damaged my business and reputation. I deny these allegations entirely. All my interactions with the women who I was directly involved with were consensual and reciprocated.
As a result, my physical and mental health have been seriously affected. I don't want retribution against these people, I just want them to stop and leave me alone. All I want to do it live my life peacefully, help people and their dogs and develop good business relationships.
If you have been involved in the spreading these rumours, I ask that you give my side of the story the same energy as you gave theirs. I foolishly waited this long before giving my side of the story. Unfortunately, I will never face my accusers or have any way to formally clear my name. I ask you to base your interactions on your direct dealings with me, how you witness me dealing with others and not on false third-party stories."
What can you do?
If you are a victim of John's and want to stand for action contact the the Police Officer here;
DS Clark - Investigating officer
Incident number PS-20190709-1722
0141 532 5510
If you are a victim of sexual abuse by ANYONE please know that we all stand together. Click here to find your nearest Rape & Sexual Assault Referral Center and talk to someone who can help.
To support other women to be able to come forward with their stories you can share the hashtags #IbelieveTheWomen (in all cases) and #DearJohn (for this specific case) and help make the world a safer and more accepting place to be vulnerable.
It takes everything you have to stand in this level of truth and face it head on, please don't pressure anyone who isn't ready. It's more than simply saying #metoo. You are potentially asking someone to stand in court and face down a monstrous person, in front of everyone whilst their most intimate secrets are broadcast and picked apart by a professional who's trying to prove they are a liar. It's fucking brutal and the sooner the law changes in protection of abuse victims the better.