What Behaviour Should Alert Us?
Sexual Abuse begins with grooming, a covert friendship, establishing trust, BEFORE it becomes touching or progresses to anything of a sexual nature.
Sexual abusers carefully introduce “grooming” the child into a sexual abuse relationship over a long period of time, normally years. Careful preparation is the key to its success!
Sexual abusers often test the child to see if it tells. They play on the child’s natural fear, embarrassment or guilt about what is happening to them. Then they use this to convince them, no one will believe them. Sometimes, they may use threats and punishment (or threat of punishment?) to dissuade a child from telling.
Other things you should know about sexual abusers:
- Sexual abusers may have adult sexual relationships even with the child’s parents.
- Sexual abusers may be abusing their own children or stepchildren.
- Sexual abusers may use pornography.
- Sexual abusers use the Internet.
- Sexual abusers tell the child lies about their parents in order to keep control.
- Sexual abusers seek opportunities to be alone with a child.
- Sexual abusers can be extremely plausible and parents are convinced the interest in their child is very innocent.
Sexual abusers also often use ‘grooming’ techniques. Grooming could be compared to an old fashioned courtship. Slowly paced and thought through, it’s more than friendship; it has a well-planned end goal!
As parents and carers, we should be teaching our children to protect their private space. For instance, we should tell them “You don’t have to sit on someone’s lap if you do not wish to do so, or kiss them, or be hugged”.
Some sexual abusers use bribes, favours or gifts. But ALL sexual abusers use force even if it’s simply the misuse of power of authority over a child.
Some sexual abusers lead the child into “fun games” which appear to be “innocent” tickling or cuddling, encouraging children to sit on their laps which may turn into UNWANTED physical touching or masturbation. This may progress into sexual intercourse.
Sexual abusers tell the child that what is happening is not wrong!
Sexual abusers distort the power of secrets!
Sexual abusers are well organised, very patient, manipulative and sophisticated in the ways they attach themselves to a family.