Sexual predators tend to be patient. At times they're even willing to put in days or months of prep-work before actually doing anything illegal; this is called grooming. Of course, by the time sexual boundaries are crossed, the grooming process has left the victim nearly indefensible. He or she may believe they can't live without the predator (whom they see as a friend or lover). The victim has grown to trust the predator and can point to several occasions when the predator seems to have acted in the victim's best interest. Predators often look for an area of great material or emotional need in the victim, and make sure to meet those needs. This creates a bond. Many predators tell victims that this is "our little secret," and nobody can know. Because of the power differential, a victim may interpret this to be a threat to her safety. Sometimes, of course, the predator does explicitly threaten physical harm if the victim tells.
Goals of Grooming for Abuse:
- gradual sexualization of relationship
- control over victim
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