Recently, a drama teacher, William Drury, groomed two of his students so that he could watch them perform sexual acts upon each other in the back of his car. Being taken into custody he has been charged with numerous offences and awaits his verdict at the end of October.
Grooming is an unfortunate sub-sector of paedophilia and, because of the breakdown of family contact throughout the last decades, it is more widespread than previously believed.
Gaining complete trust between the predator and the victim…
Like most sexual deviants, predators usually manipulate a child, after using the him or her, will move on to another location to repeat the act. They work near or at places where children are and sometimes even go as far as striking up relationships with adults with access to young children. The majority of victims are those that crave attention, and are usually from dysfunctional homes: not always broken, even those with work-burdened parents is psychologically enough.
The groomers recruit their victims in various ways from rides to school, treats, days out or even a shoulder to cry onto. Gaining complete trust between the predator and the victim so later when the issue of secrecy comes up the victim believes it is a normal thing and does not want to lose their new friend. This secrecy unfortunately comes in hand with threats and guilt: “you can’t tell your mother! It will kill her, and you don’t want her unhappy…”.
Nonsexual touching desensitizes the child.
The forging of an emotional bond through grooming leads to physical contact. Predators use the grooming process to break down a child’s defences and increase the child’s acceptance of touch. The first physical contact between predator and victim is often nonsexual touching designed to identify limits: an “accidental” touch, an arm around the shoulder, a brushing of hair. Nonsexual touching desensitizes the child. It breaks down inhibitions and leads to more overt sexual touching the predator’s ultimate goal.
Sexual predators exist and it’s smart to ask questions of your younger friends and siblings, if they’re acting differently/quiet. At the moment, there is no easily found help centre for those affected by grooming, so if you feel that perhaps something is wrong then the best thing you can do is talk to them.
Image courtesy of Espen Faugstad