Child molesters generally use a process called grooming. The goal of the grooming process is to increase his or her chances of being successful, and to decrease his or her chances of being discovered. Children are like adults, emotional seduction is a very successful way to manipulate them.
Grooming begins when the molester chooses a target area. He or she may visit places where children are likely to be: schools, shopping malls, playgrounds, parks, and the like. They might choose work and volunteer opportunities at and around businesses that cater to children. Some molesters build relationships with adults who have children in their homes. Single parent families and foster parents are good targets.
FILLING THE VOID Once an emotional bond has been built through grooming, the molester will try to make physical contact. The grooming process is used to break down the child’s defenses and increase the child’s acceptance of touch. The first time the molester touches the child, it is often nonsexual. The first touch may be played off as an accident. The molester is trying to see how accepting the child is to it, and is trying to desensitize the child to his or her touch. This first touch breaks down any fears the child might have and makes the child comfortable with being touched by the molester. This first touch leads to more overt sexual touching.
If you or someone you know is a victim of child abuse and/or sexual molestation, help is available. Call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD