GROOMING



You Promised The World – and I fell for it

From generation to generation, some older individuals have abused their power, whether it's through authority, the acknowledgement of private information or inflicting mental, physical and sexual harm towards the younger individual. Many people don't realise just how severe grooming can be and just try to push it to the side, not listening to victims.

Grooming has become a huge issue in recent years, with almost a 50% increase in sexual offences recorded in the latest six months compared to the same period in the previous year. Many people don't always realise when they are being groomed, making it very difficult to identify and stop. Groomers can build relationships in different forms such as a romantic relationship, a mentor or a dominant and persistent figure. They may also try to build a relationship with the young person's family or friends, to make them seem trustworthy or authoritative.

Grooming defined
During a survey for Tag '20 with a group of 13 students, age 17–20, you were asked how you would define grooming. There was a range of answers, ranging from "the manipulation of younger people", "trying to attract someone underage", "no different to a paedophile" and "someone who is trying to get photos of me, or following me". According to the Oxford English Dictionary, grooming is described as "the action by a paedophile of preparing a child for a meeting, especially via an internet chat room, with the intention of committing a sexual offence".

Anybody can be a groomer no matter their age, gender or race. They usually come across as a friend or someone you can just talk to, however they use psychological abuse, making it impossible to leave, even when you want to. When a victim of grooming was interviewed, they said the groomer "made me feel like I didn't need anyone besides him. He made me feel like even the people he didn't know, like the people at college, were just bad people".