This post was provided by guest blog contributor, Suzy Imel.
As women, when we think of grooming, we think of getting our hair blown out, or our eyebrows waxed, or any number of other treatments to enhance our attractiveness.
But there is another kind of grooming that relates to crime, that we all need to be aware of. Grooming is the act of gaining someone’s trust by building an emotional bond for the purpose of sexual abuse, exploitation, or trafficking.
Often, grooming is conducted by pedophiles to win the trust of a targeted child and one or both parents. These predators often prey upon children with vulnerabilities – often from single parent homes, where the parent is sometimes too busy to notice that their child has been targeted. The best way to protect you and your children from grooming, is to know the signs that it is occurring.
Here are the stages of grooming:
- Targets almost are always chosen because they have a vulnerability causing them to be easily manipulated or seduced.
- Gaining Trust And Information. Knowledge is vital to the predator’s scheme.
- Filling a Need. The information gained of a need, is leveraged to get the target dependent on the predator (for money, drugs, love, friendship, etc.)
- The predator attempts to distance the target from friends and family.
- Abuse Begins. The perpetrator demands repayment of the need that has been being filled. Often, sex with the predator himself is required of the victim, and/or the victim is forced into prostitution.
- Maintaining Control. Threats, violence, and/or addiction to drugs is often used to maintain control over the victim.