How Molesters Bend Reality Right Under Our Noses
Due to the child’s ability to identify them, a Grooming Predator must exercise control over the child and in all cases seal that incriminating secret with fear.
Top Fears Preventing Children From Reporting Abuse
1. GUILT – fear that others will not forgive them for their role leading up to the attack.
A female friend once confided in me that the pedophile who ingratiated himself into her family and continually raped her over many years started by gaining her complicit affection. He would treat her to gifts and candy and then in private collect kisses for these presents. These affectionate gestures were later translated by him into the claim they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Being in early elementary school and having no boyfriend, she was flattered by this notion along with his kind embraces and generous attention. As he carried it farther and farther, he always built upon her previous compliance and made her feel as though she was equally responsible. She could not tell her parents due to the guilt she felt for her role in the abuse.
Yet another woman shared the following with me in an email, “Another problem with telling about sexual abuse…is that some people believe that if someone is sexually abused, they must have done something to lead the predator on. That was a problem I faced when I told my mom about the attack on me. Despite having been sexually assaulted herself when she was little (by a baby-sitter), she still accused me of having lead (the janitor) on. Looking back, I have to question that thinking. I was only 8 years old. How would I even have known how to lead a man on?”
2. TROUBLE – fear the predator will reveal some other secret that will get them in trouble.
Groomers often build up ammunition against a child to counter the potential reporting. Simply put, it’s an “If you tell on me, I’m going to tell on you” threat. Groomers encourage and allow children to indulge in pleasures parents would forbid, such as unhealthy foods, certain music, alcohol, drugs, and pornography. With the Predator aggressively supplying the opportunity, the child will partake of these off-limit items and later fear punishment if they rat out the attacker.
3. CREDIBILITY – fear that others will not believe them.
Actually, there is no direct negative effect in not being believed. A child’s fear that they won’t be believed is usually just the upper crust of a deeper fear. For instance, will they be ridiculed for sounding crazy, or reprimanded for making up stories about “dirty things.” Perhaps the attacker threatened that if they do tell and are not believed then the child will suffer at the attacker’s hands? Their real fear is WHAT will happen because they are not taken seriously, or what will happen if no one actually does believe them. These are the bedrock fears and can actually be more appropriately categorized by one of the following
4. EMBARRASSMENT – fear of extreme embarrassment, others finding out, ridicule.
Shame is a crippling emotion. For a child, the question becomes—Is it better to suffer the secret shame, or have everyone know what has happened to me? Predators know the power of this and use it liberally.
– Think of everyone in church knowing you actually did this? God hates you.
– You wouldn’t want me to put those pictures on the internet and have everyone in your
school see you naked would you?
– If you tell on me, I may get in trouble, but I’m going to let everyone know exactly what
we did together, and let them know that you liked it and asked me to do it.
5. PHYSICAL HARM – fear that they, or someone they love, or something they love (pet) will be harmed.
Shawn Hornbeck made national attention a few years back when discovered in the apartment of his captor four years after his abduction. The nation was elated the boy was found alive but stunned by reports that the boy, who was often left alone in the apartment and had even been seen playing with neighborhood kids, had never tried to escape. Shawn’s stepfather offered the only possible explanation, “You got to remember that Shawn was 11 years old when he was taken. So he was much more vulnerable…and obviously something was done to keep him there. You know you can be bound mentally as well as physically. You can be so terrified and so afraid that it can control your life, which obviously it did.”
Aren’t Sadism and Sexual Abuse two sides of the same coin? Sadistic Predators have no reservations about threatening the child’s life, or threatening to kill family members or dismember pets. The heightened violence of their rhetoric is something children have never encountered and have no idea the tactic may be empty threats. A terrifying adult who has already proven they’re capable and willing to attack isn’t something a child can easily second guess. Is it any wonder they choose to remain silent?
Learn The Trick, Destroy The Illusion
My mission is to help parents teach their children the tricks Predators will attempt to pull and the spells of fear they will attempt to cast so that children are finally able to see outside the illusion.
Like a cliché’ pick-up line that identifies a creep in a singles bar, cliché’ tactics help identify creepy adults to children. The only way something becomes cliché’ however, is by one’s over-exposure to the content. Children cannot learn this by themselves. As parents we must edify and empower our children to recognize patterns and ploys that will be used against them.
Teach your children that any secret sealed in fear is one that can further destroy their lives and the lives of others. Let them know there are others who will say absolutely anything to scare them into not telling the “secret.” Explain that threats of violence and physical harm are the main lies bad people will use to keep them quiet.
The result of this education will be an increased thwarting of attacks as well as more reporting to authorities. Our frontline of defense will be able to see through the Predators’ cheap parlor tricks and turn the tables.