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As a practical matter, this lies on a continuum.

For example, the old Italian man who gave infant Son #1 a dollar while we were walking down the street was not grooming. When I cover the cost of the coffee for the young person fiddling with his/her change, it's not grooming. I'm just trying to make both of our days a little brighter by passing that dollar from long ago along. It's a Mediterranean thing.

Same act(s), different person, vile motive, hideous outcome. That's grooming.

In other words in a person who has never committed abuse, one only can determine what is and isn't grooming retrospectively.

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11 minutes ago, qwazse said:

As a practical matter, this lies on a continuum.

No it doesn't.

Grooming refers to a specific thing:

1) Befriending and establishing an emotional connection

2) With a child

3) to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse.

In order to be "grooming" it has to meet all 3 criteria. If it doesn't meet all three, it isn't grooming. There's no "spectrum" here.

A person can "groom" a child and never actually commit the sex abuse, that doesn't mean it wasn't grooming, it was simply grooming that failed to result in sexual abuse.

And research has shown most abusers will "groom" many more children than they actually abuse. That doesn't mean the children were not "groomed".

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I think we're talking two sides of the same coin:

The first two components are not specific. All humans are about "befriending and establishing an emotional connection", and sometimes that's "with a child". So, let's rephrase those to say: deploying normal human behavior so as "to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse." That definition remains problematic, because unless the perpetrator makes some declaration as to his/her intent, there is no way to use it without being Time Cop. The few pedophiles who I wish I had never met did not have objectives of sexual abuse ... at least not the first time around.

17 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

A person can "groom" a child and never actually commit the sex abuse, that doesn't mean it wasn't grooming, it was simply grooming that failed to result in sexual abuse.

Failed? Maybe not. Some recipients are "simply" receiving kindness while others are being preyed upon. One person can be doing both. The most successful predators did just that. My seventh grade reading teacher was very kind to many of us. On the weekends, to particular boys, he was also a pedophile. Were we being groomed? Or was he deluded by his double-life -- maybe offsetting his evil to some by attempting kindness to others?

So, until people know the outcomes of every social interaction each of us has with every person in our lives, they will not know if any of us were grooming.

I would prefer a definition that is not dependent on the outcome. The closest I can get are strategies by an individual that:

  • encourage the recipient to engage in an exclusive relationship,
  • withdraw the recipient from the public view,
  • ask the recipient to witness or engage in culturally unacceptable activities,
  • form contracts with the recipient to shun known means of social accountability.

As you can see, I don't mention "child" or "sexual abuse" because some sources don't apply grooming to just those situations.  I'm still not entirely comfortable with these definitions. They are far from universal. But,  youth need something to help them to be resilient against abuse.

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35 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I think we're talking two sides of the same coin:

The first two components are not specific. All humans are about "befriending and establishing an emotional connection", and sometimes that's "with a child". So, let's rephrase those to say: deploying normal human behavior so as "to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse." That definition remains problematic, because unless the perpetrator makes some declaration as to his/her intent, there is no way to use it without being Time Cop. The few pedophiles who I wish I had never met did not have objectives of sexual abuse ... at least not the first time around.

Failed? Maybe not. Some recipients are "simply" receiving kindness while others are being preyed upon. One person can be doing both. The most successful predators did just that. My seventh grade reading teacher was very kind to many of us. On the weekends, to particular boys, he was also a pedophile. Were we being groomed? Or was he deluded by his double-life -- maybe offsetting his evil to some by attempting kindness to others?

So, until people know the outcomes of every social interaction each of us has with every person in our lives, they will not know if any of us were grooming.

I would prefer a definition that is not dependent on the outcome. The closest I can get are strategies by an individual that:

  • encourage the recipient to engage in an exclusive relationship,
  • withdraw the recipient from the public view,
  • ask the recipient to witness or engage in culturally unacceptable activities,
  • form contracts with the recipient to shun known means of social accountability.

As you can see, I don't mention "child" or "sexual abuse" because some sources don't apply grooming to just those situations.  I'm still not entirely comfortable with these definitions. They are far from universal. But,  youth need something to help them to be resilient against abuse.

I would say that it's likely that some pedophiles are able to compartmentalize and have more normal relationships with children that are not suitable targets for one reason or another much the same way serial killers and other psychopaths do. Ted Bundy had a long time girlfriend. The BTK killer had a family, yet he killed a family. I would also say that those other relationships are also part of the pathology because the perpetrator uses them to help hide or cloak his or her true nature and intentions. Pedophiles are frequently cited by incredulous bystanders as someone who seemed to love children. You were groomed by your 7th grade teacher. You just would have no reason to recognize it as such. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

... You were groomed by your 7th grade teacher. You just would have no reason to recognize it as such.  ...

Groomed by him? But I wasn't groomed by all of the Syrian men in my family who lavished physical affection (read sloppy kisses) on little boys, or the driver who I rode around with on deliveries at Dad's beer distributor, or a host of other would-be 'ner-do-wells?

I will put forward that most of us were not groomed by this man. He was genuinely kind and concerned for the well-being most kids, and put forward the effort that most teachers would to provide an orderly world for them. But, for reasons known only to him, he didn't see all kids as worthy of that dignity. Some were seen as tools for his using, and getting a play-book from God-knows-where* he treated those kids accordingly.

*Actually, upon reflection, I can guess where. He joked to the entire class about abusing stray cats as a child. Knowing what I know now about conduct disorder, I suspect that story betrayed a more tumultuous childhood where he was inculcated with categories of "users" and "used".

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1 minute ago, qwazse said:

Groomed by him? But I wasn't groomed by all of the Syrian men in my family who lavished physical affection (read sloppy kisses) on little boys, or the driver who I rode around with on deliveries at Dad's beer distributor, or a host of other would-be 'ner-do-wells?

I will put forward that most of us were not groomed by this man. He was genuinely kind and concerned for the well-being most kids, and put forward the effort that most teachers would to provide an orderly world for them. But, for reasons known only to him, he didn't see all kids as worthy of that dignity. Some were seen as tools for his using, and getting a play-book from God-knows-where* he treated those kids accordingly.

*Actually, upon reflection, I can guess where. He joked to the entire class about abusing stray cats as a child. Knowing what I know now about conduct disorder, I suspect that story betrayed a more tumultuous childhood where he was inculcated with categories of "users" and "used".

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Are you trying to rationalize that a pedophile was actually a really good guy at heart because you were somehow lucky enough that he did not target you? Pedophiles use kindness and concern as a way to disarm and attract children. Surely you've heard this before? Affection and kindness among normal families and people does not lead to or mask pedophilia. Just because you come from a family that was demonstrative does not mean they were potential pedophiles. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, yknot said:

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Are you trying to rationalize that a pedophile was actually a really good guy at heart because you were somehow lucky enough that he did not target you?

That's how I am interpreting it too. I guess the (sick) argument is that grooming is ok as long as the pedophile is not able to actually abuse the child/is lucky enough to escape.

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6 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

That's how I am interpreting it too. I guess the (sick) argument is that grooming is ok as long as the pedophile is not able to actually abuse the child/is lucky enough to escape.

I keep running across viewpoints on this forum that scare me. 

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A person's heinous acts does not mean they didn't also perform kindnesses. And a person performing kindnesses does not mean we can trust that person with opportunities to hurt and abuse, especially the vulnerable, especially if the person has a history of such behavior. Kindnesses do not negate hideous abuse. 

We were discussing just yesterday the adults in our lives who took us under their wings as children and of how their innocent behaviors would never fly today. A neighbor of mine basically functioned like an aunt and I went on random shopping trips and such all the time.

The difficulty is in having the broadest healthy social circle while keeping it safe for all. Grooming absolutely happens. How do we on the outside tell the difference between that and healthy neighbors BEFORE abuse occurs so we can include one and protect from the other? I understand this thread to be navigating that tightrope, which is a healthy discussion. 

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On 3/13/2021 at 4:25 PM, GiraffeCamp said:

A person's heinous acts does not mean they didn't also perform kindnesses. And a person performing kindnesses does not mean we can trust that person with opportunities to hurt and abuse, especially the vulnerable, especially if the person has a history of such behavior. Kindnesses do not negate hideous abuse. 

We were discussing just yesterday the adults in our lives who took us under their wings as children and of how their innocent behaviors would never fly today. A neighbor of mine basically functioned like an aunt and I went on random shopping trips and such all the time.

The difficulty is in having the broadest healthy social circle while keeping it safe for all. Grooming absolutely happens. How do we on the outside tell the difference between that and healthy neighbors BEFORE abuse occurs so we can include one and protect from the other? I understand this thread to be navigating that tightrope, which is a healthy discussion. 

And that is exactly why abusers use this strategy to gain the confidence of their victims and the public.  They do great acts of kindness and seem to be genuinely concerned for the well-being of youth.  Wolves in sheep's clothing.

Unfortunately, the ones who are truly kind and genuinely care can get lumped in with the abusers as  "groomers."  I have seen this, and have had to defend several people's reputations.

The behavior of mis-identification is also greatly discouraging some adults from getting involved. 

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On 3/11/2021 at 3:53 PM, CynicalScouter said:

No it doesn't.

Grooming refers to a specific thing:

1) Befriending and establishing an emotional connection

2) With a child

3) to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse.

In order to be "grooming" it has to meet all 3 criteria. If it doesn't meet all three, it isn't grooming. There's no "spectrum" here.

A person can "groom" a child and never actually commit the sex abuse, that doesn't mean it wasn't grooming, it was simply grooming that failed to result in sexual abuse.

And research has shown most abusers will "groom" many more children than they actually abuse. That doesn't mean the children were not "groomed".

I have to agree.  A predator decides to prey, and then engages in behavior to accomplish that goal targeting victim(s).

I am not sure the word "grooming" fully connotes the insidious nature of the process/goal.  It sounds too benign to me.  Maybe a new word is needed.

But clearly, a predator sets a course toward abuse, and then grooms.

(Perhaps another element of YPT training-grooming techniques to be aware of-perhaps becoming alert to pre-abuse activities will prevent actual abuse.)

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6 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

It's more like luring or baiting a trap.

Good observation.

A process:

decide to act on predatory impulses;

take steps to identify likely vulnerable youth;

initiate precursor grooming activities looking benign to casual observers;

identify malleable youth; intensify grooming activities;

identify camping or other opportunities to follow through with abusive activities;

engage in abusive activities as they opportunistically arise;

engage in cover-up activities (as needed).

 

And there may many other steps and sub-steps. Not my field but just trying to stimulate discussion.

 

The point of this exercise is to identify steps and identify the types of behavior associated therewith, so that predators can be identified prior to actual abuse.

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