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Archive for August 23rd, 2010

On my blog entry entitled Removing the Secrecy to Remove the Shame, a reader posted the following comment:

Would you be able to do a post on grooming for sexual abuse and how a child can be made to think that they have ‘chosen’ to engage in sexual activities with the abuser and the shame that comes with that belief? ~ Dawn

Today I am going to share a story I read in a magazine on this topic. Tomorrow, I will address this question from other perspectives.

I cannot remember where I read about this, or I would credit the source. In a magazine, I read an article written by a convicted child sexual abuser about how he groomed his male victims. Here is a condensed version of what he shared:

This man targeted prepubescent boys. He would hang out at the mall at times when prepubescent boys were likely to be there. He knew that parents would drop boys off to take care of themselves, so they were unsupervised. He would look for boys who walked around alone and looked lonely. He observed where they went and would casually appear in the same places, occasionally making eye contact and giving a smile of acknowledgment. After he “happened to show up” at the same places a few times and reached the point of saying hello, he was no longer a “stranger” and could move in.

This man would notice that the boy was flipping through a particular magazine or looking at a particular game, and he would strike up a conversation. He made sure he knew a lot about the interests of prepubescent boys, so he could carry on a conversation with them.

This would move into something innocent like grabbing a bite to eat, where he got to know the boy better. He offered the boy what he was not getting at home – a father figure/friend. The “friendship” would deepen as he filled the void in the boy’s life. When the boy trusted him, they would spend time together in private.

Then came the “price” of the friendship. If the boy wanted to continue the friendship, then he has to have sexual relations with the man. This was not forced, but it was the “cost” of maintaining the friendship. The boy was welcome to walk away from the “friendship” at any point, but the end of the sexual “relationship” meant the end of the friendship. The boys he targeted were so desperate for the father figure/friend that they would give the “sex” in order to keep the friendship.

Then, when the boy wanted to end things, the man would let him go, no questions asked. The boy believed that he “chose” the sex, so he would not tell. The man got away with this many times before he was finally convicted of raping boys.

All of this man’s victims were groomed. The man took a normal need that all children have – to be loved and feel special to an adult – and used that normal need against the boys in order to have access to their bodies.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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