With the word ‘grooming’ being used a lot recently, I wanted to present a deeper explanation as to why this is the case without being partisan or speaking in a hyperbolic manner.
Before I get started, I want to make it clear; I'm not a clinician but I am someone who is highly interested in psychology, human behavior and childhood development. I encourage you to do your own research & ask questions based off of my statements.
Grooming is the activity of methodically preparing a child for eventual sexual activity. This definition implies intention to commit sexual activity by the person grooming but it doesn't need to be. I'll go further into this later. Let's first discuss what the prepping involves.
It is not uncommon for child predators to work in positions or have roles close to children; coaches, teachers etc. The child they are pursuing likely knows them well and/or has a level of trust with the child & could have authority over them like a step-parent or a relative.
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Much like any other predator, they typically target vulnerable children. For example, children who are socially awkward or from single-parent homes. They are looking for an exploit to gain the child's trust. Many times it's by filling in an emotional void for the child.
If a child feels emotionally alone, the predator gives them a lot of attention. If the child feels ugly, the predator tells them how they are special & beautiful. They are filling an emotional void by becoming that adult re-assurance for them. It's very insidious.
Once trust has been built, they will slowly introduce sex or some form of sexual activity, like discussing touching themselves or showing them pornography. Since they are trusted, they are using that trust to introduce something foreign to them & comforting them along the way.
Sex is a foreign concept to children and their naivety surrounding sex makes them vulnerable to engage in it for the purpose of pleasing their abuser. The purpose is for them to see sex as normal, even for someone their age, allowing for them to feel comfortable engaging in it.
With permission, I'll use my friend/staff writer @audraf637 as an example. She was groomed at the age of 12 by a man she met online. He filled that fatherly void for her. She was also dysphoric at the time & he told her she was beautiful. She was subsequently raped for 3 years.
Her abuser put himself in a position online to encounter children in a seemingly innocent manner. That's what allowed for him to interact with her. Now, how does this matter for the hot-topic of teachers introducing sex to very young children?
First, let me say that no reasonable person thinks all teachers are sex predators or every teacher is discussing sex. However, there is a real danger about how some are endangering children by normalizing sexual discussions at an age where they can't fully grasp the impact of sex
Teachers are an authority figure & have the trust of children. They are going to take information into mind when it’s brought to them by these very people. Now, imagine one of their students is vulnerable & meets a predator. There is a chance he’ll be less resistant.
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Essentially, people are concerned that early discussions of sex with children could prime them for a future predator. Educators who are engaging in this could be seen as grooming children, not necessarily for themselves, but for a future predator.
I think it's also extremely troubling not only discussing sex with very young children but also speaking about it from a pleasure standpoint. Yes, sex is pleasurable but I would hardly call this appropriate conversation for young children.
If your child's baseball coach was discussing the pleasures of sex with your child, you'd be extremely upset with this. It shouldn't matter about the profession of the person discussing it but the activity of discussing sex with your child, especially without your permission.
Let's say you don't agree with me about the age of certain sex conversations, that's fine but then you as the parent should use your own discretion & have these discussions with your children & not leave it up to someone else to do so. Parents are more than capable of doing this.
Everything I've stated so far has nothing to do with any particular orientation & it bothers me that the topic of preventing grooming has been mixed in with being hateful of a particular sexual orientation. Parents like myself don't like it regardless of orientation.
The protection of children is incredibly important to me. I've seen what early exposure to sex looks like and I've seen what these people go through as adults to overcome it. I've met victims of grooming & I've seen the amount of turmoil it brings them as adults.
We should be careful of throwing around labels like pedophiles & groomers when it's not appropriate because it can diminish the belief over real scenarios much like calling everyone a racist diminishes the belief of real racism. @elizableu has made this point before & I agree.
We should also be careful with thinking that concerns over the safety for children is purely a political concern; I assure you it isn't. I am in full support of @GovRonDeSantis @ChristinaPushaw for their attempt to protect kids in grades K-3 & I'm not a Republican.
Lastly, if the concern is about protecting children, we need to stop being such absolutists about thinking it's happening everywhere or remove hyperbolic language. To me, this is not a partisan issue. The protection of children is something we can all absolutely unite over.