Until I got involved with Out of the Shadows, I didn’t really understand the term “grooming”. I thought the term referred to someone who had to “convince” or “trick” their victim and didn’t think it applied to me because my abuser lived in my home … a controlled environment where I had no choice or voice. This was a person whom had already established an atmosphere of extreme fear and total, unquestioning obedience from children, anything less brought on a barrage of abuse.
When I learned that grooming is all about how the victim is manipulated into opportunistic settings, taken advantage of and intimidated into silence, I realized this applied to me.
Why was that important?
It was important because those who have been sexually abused and assaulted become convinced by the abuser that they are the “only” one and no one would ever believe them, or there is too much at stake in telling. It’s a divide-and-conquer tactic. It also gets into our head for a very, VERY long time. When you feel alone, isolated and singled-out … you feel powerless. Helpless. Hopeless.
Even though I had learned to tell my story, I still felt like an exception to the rule – and that is a scary place to be – because it causes you to feel uncertain that you can help anyone else. Thankfully, OTS helped me understand that I share this too in common with other victims and that brought renewed strength and determination for me to continue a journey of advocacy.
To learn more about grooming: http://www.kbsolutions.com/Grooming.pdf