Grooming. For most people, grooming is what one does to prepare a horse or dog for a show or competition. Or, it’s the way someone dresses and fixes their hair. In fact, until the 1980s, the terms groom and grooming were innocuous little words one could use without raising an eyebrow.
Then, the Chicago Tribune ran with a story that gave a whole new meaning to these terms. Yes, grooming has become a dirty word to many people because it can describe a process that leads to disgusting, illegal behavior.
So, you ask. Why am I writing about disgusting, illegal behaviors today? Well, there are several reasons. First, there was an incident of grooming involving family members many years ago that still haunts them to a degree. Second, an old acquaintance was recently accused of such behavior, and his response to the accusation reminded me of the old saying, “a hit dog always hollers.”
Finally, there is way too much of this in places where one should feel safe. And, as I have noted before, I am an unapologetic “red-flag-waver!”
Grooming, as it is being discussed here, is nothing new. People, male and female, have groomed others to do their bidding for ages. Whether it was to seduce someone into sexual activity or other activities the person might not have done normally, the process involved a form of grooming.
The incident triggering this piece involved a male teacher who allegedly groomed a female student into a sexual relationship. This occurred more than twenty years ago, but such activity on the part of teachers was nothing new, then or now.
One of my favorite teachers in high school lost her job for becoming involved sexually with a male student. This incident was in the 1960s. Of course, it probably didn’t take a lot of grooming to get a testosterone-fueled high school athlete interested in an attractive older woman.
The preceding notwithstanding, teachers, relatives, coaches, and others working closely with younger people or vulnerable people of any age are not the only problems. Consider a predator who grooms a single mom to gain access to a child. I know of one who met the mom in a singles support group and married her to gain access to her daughter.
I know of another who convinced his wife they should adopt orphans from another country. He raised the boy as his son and groomed the girl to be his lover. He’s in prison, and she is receiving counseling. The other victims of his misdeed, his wife and parents, are doing the best they can to carry on with their lives.
If you or someone you know has been or is a victim of a sexual predator, help is available. One source for information or help is referenced in the image above.
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