A PSYCHIATRISTS AND A SURVIVORS TAKE ON GROOMING
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH GROOMING By: Isabella Grand
Grooming, that word really does stop me in my tracks, I find grooming to be one of the ultimate betrayals, it's where it all begins ,only we have no idea at the time. I didn't know much about grooming until I became an adult, possibly even 23 years after I was ever first groomed.
The more I learned about grooming, the more it started to affect me. I already knew what happened to me was wrong, despite so many people allowing it to continue but it wasn't until I realised my whole brain was being controlled that I felt violated all over again.
The distortion in my mind started at grooming stage, where from that day forward it would take me on the hardest journey of my life, of any child's life. It runs deeper than the molesting itself, you may tell me to block images from my head and I will agree with you but you can never forget how to eat with a fork or walk once you have learnt it. Grooming distorts the mind, the earlier it happens, the greater the life long implications, why? because what your taught is normal isn't.
MY GROOMING EXPERIENCE,
With my first abuser, Presents were a big thing, I used to think he was Santa Claus, all year round. I never felt harmed , he was with me everywhere, or should I say, he took me with him everywhere. I was always on his lap or on his shoulders, photo after photo you would see me with the biggest smile always at his side. He made me feel like a real princess, I was very young when this all started, I was living with the abuser from age 1 to about the age of 3 but grooming continued many years after that.
Learning games was a big thing where the abuser gained my trust and I was completely clueless. We would often play a doctor game where the abuser would touch my body parts, all parts so when he got to my vagina or put my hand on his penis I did not think anything of it. I did feel a bit funny about it but I had full trust. I never knew what was happening so when I moved away from the abusers house I was really sad and always wanted to go back. I used to get hit a lot at home so seeing the abuser brought me much joy, it was always that friendly, welcoming face, my Santa Claus waiting with his arms wide open. looking back the biggest reason why I never told anyone about the abuse with this person, until a few days prior to my wedding was because of the grooming and distortion in my mind. Once the abuse stopped when I was 12 years old, grooming was already long at play with abuser number two. In fact so had the abuse started.
Abuser number two was different yet similar, the use of authority was used more here and it was more forceful, do this or there will be a punishment. The surrounding was also very different. Here with abuser number two it didn't take much to groom me because I was already used to it all and thought it was the norm anyways.
Grooming here consisted of buying me everything that I needed or wanted within reason, feeding me, clothing me, creating a confusion so that in my mind I could not register how wrong the actions towards me really were. The abuser would often save me from other physical abuse inflicted by another member. This abuser however also had a heavy hand and I always did as I was told even if I didn't want to.
You could say that the grooming that came from abuser number one was much more focused on making me happy and with abuser number two it was focused on being my friend but with an authority, here I am giving you everything, teaching you life skills but I also hold a power over you.
Once I accepted that grooming was where it all began, it wasn't easy, I questioned how much of my childhood was fake and how much was real. When I came to the conclusion that it was mostly fake, I had to take a deep breath in, we live once and it's gone but I proudly tell you I got through it with a smile.
Grooming is something every parent and guardian should look out for, it is without a doubt the robbery of a lifetime.
If you notice a child is too drastically attached to a family member, friend or stranger or you are noticing odd behaviour and/or gifts for no reason please have a serious think to yourself about approaching your child or looking up our early prevention programme. Programme available soon.
MY TAKE ON GROOMING: PART TWO- How The Abuser Grooms The Parents Way Before He Grooms His Victim. By Isabella Grand
When we think of grooming, we often think it's something that is solely done to the victim, WRONG. Grooming can start long before it has ever started on the child, it can all start with the parent, guardian or friend, somebody with easy access to the child. The main trust is established and once the abuser has full control of your mind, there isn't really much behaviour that you're going to question.
A few years ago I was doing some research, I was at home and eager to get into the minds of a pedophile, I had questions and I wanted answers. I stumbled across this YouTube video which I will link if I can find it again. Anyhow, I quickly realised what I already knew but was too confused or blinded to really identify.
I finally understood why so many of my relatives had not cared to help me and or continued to think of my abusers as an amazing men. Yes, they should know a lot better, and yes they are an accessory to a crime but their view has also been distorted. I was the only one groomed, every time the abuser would buy his partner weekly flowers that wasn't an honest action that was grooming. Yet is saddens me to say that most people never do the maths and never realise that they were groomed, they remain distorted In their views and thus continue to protect people they shouldn't.
During the YouTube video it was interesting to hear the reporter tell the convicted pedophile and I quote " I would never leave my children around you" unquote. The Pedophile responded with and I quote " you would never know, so yes you would. I would be your friendliest neighbour, I would be minding your kids if you had to rush out, you would borrow sugar from me if you ran out" unquote. I don't remember the reporters response after that but I remember he couldn't really say anything, the pedophile was right.
The point here is this, we must live with trust, without it, the world becomes a very paranoid and horrible place but do remember that grooming can start with you. Don't dismiss a child's cry for help just because you cant picture the accused harming anyone. Remember that is exactly what the abuser wants you to think.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: 6 Stages of Grooming By: Dr. Michael Welner,
Dr Michael Welner has also been a guest on popular shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and The View.
Child Sexual Abuse: 6 Stages of Grooming
Grooming is when an offender lures a victim into a sexual relationship and maintains that relationship in secrecy. There are six stages of grooming according to Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner. The six stages that can lead up to sexual molestation.
The grooming sex offender works to separate the victim from peers, typically by engendering in the child a sense that they are special to the child and giving a kind of love to the child that the child needs.
Different law enforcement officers and academics have proposed models of the "stages" of grooming. Since there are a variety of these models, it's best to think of the grooming by sex offenders as a gradual, calculated process that ensnares children into a world in which they are ultimately a willing part of the sex abuse.
Stage 1: Targeting the victim
The offender targets a victim by sizing up the child's vulnerability—emotional neediness, isolation and lower self-confidence. Children with less parental oversight are more desirable prey.
Stage 2: Gaining the victim's trust
The sex offender gains trust by watching and gathering information about the child, getting to know his needs and how to fill them. In this regard, sex offenders mix effortlessly with responsible caretakers because they generate warm and calibrated attention. Only more awkward and overly personal attention, or a gooey intrusiveness, provokes the suspicion of parents. Otherwise, a more suave sex offender is better disciplined for how to push and poke, without revealing themselves. Think of the grooming sex offender on the prowl as akin to a spy—and just as stealth.
Stage 3: Filling a need
Once the sex offender begins to fill the child's needs, that adult may assume noticeably more importance in the child's life and may become idealized. Gifts, extra attention, affection may distinguish one adult in particular and should raise concern and greater vigilance to be accountable for that adult.
Stage 4: Isolating the child
The grooming sex offender uses the developing special relationship with the child to create situations in which they are alone together. This isolation further reinforces a special connection. Babysitting, tutoring, coaching and special trips all enable this isolation.
A special relationship can be even more reinforced when an offender cultivates a sense in the child that he is loved or appreciated in a way that others, not even parents, provide. Parents may unwittingly feed into this through their own appreciation for the unique relationship.
Stage 5: Sexualizing the relationship
At a stage of sufficient emotional dependence and trust, the offender progressively sexualizes the relationship. Desensitization occurs through talking, pictures, even creating situations (like going swimming) in which both offender and victim are naked. At that point, the adult exploits a child's natural curiosity, using feelings of stimulation to advance the sexuality of the relationship.
When teaching a child, the grooming sex offender has the opportunity to shape the child's sexual preferences and can manipulate what a child finds exciting and extend the relationship in this way. The child comes to see himself as a more sexual being and to define the relationship with the offender in more sexual and special terms.
Stage 6: Maintaining control
Once the sex abuse is occurring, offenders commonly use secrecy and blame to maintain the child's continued participation and silence—particularly because the sexual activity may cause the child to withdraw from the relationship.
Children in these entangled relationships—and at this point they are entangled—confront threats to blame them, to end the relationship and to end the emotional and material needs they associate with the relationship, whether it be the dirt bikes the child gets to ride, the coaching one receives, special outings or other gifts. The child may feel that the loss of the relationship and the consequences of exposing it will humiliate and render them even more unwanted.
BE AWARE OF ONLINE GROOMING By Isabella Grand
Online Grooming is a massive problem in this day and age when children as young as six or younger have access to a smart phone. Remember that anybody can pose as another child or teen, yet who is truly on the other side of that screen is another story. Talk to your children about stranger danger and fake online accounts. Depending on the child's age, I would highly recommend having a computer that is in a living room area, away from the bedroom and limit smart phone usage.
Children and Teens, even adults often get set up in a nasty online grooming trap. On social media, make a habit of only accepting friend requests from people known or being a part of large groups.
NEVER, and I repeat, never met up with a stranger if you are under age. Any online meetings should be made from secure online sites and even then always go with a family member or friend and always let people know where you are going.