I've just left a long response to the above topic on the main site. Here it is again
I would welcome comments on the subject of paedophiles and on child grooming. I feel the need to offload at the moment. As with many aspect of her work Hil sometimes offloads on me when she encounters the darker parts of humanity and what I've written above comes from her understanding of the subject and on her experiences with parents and children who have or are being "groomed". It really makes me want to slap some sense into the parents of kids who are being set up for abuse but I know that they would defend the abuser as their friend, even defend them to the police.I’m kind of happy that so few people understand what “child grooming” means in the context of paedophilia. It means that you’ve had little contact with that aspect of human nature and little reason to think about it. However I think that it is a topic that people should have some knowledge of, for their own safety and for the safety of their (future) children if nothing else.
People like Hector Ayala don’t stalk children and grab them on their way home from school. Instead they befriend the family, become helpful to the parents and a friend to the children. They are surrogate uncles or aunts to the kids. They want to take them on camping trips or to the cinema or ice cream bar. They’re giving the parents a weekend off or providing a place for the kids to go to when they want to talk to an adult who won’t judge them.
I know paedophilia is a sexual behaviour and not a mental illness but in this context the actions of child grooming should be seen as something that the paedophile does to help rather than to harm. Their mindset is such that their actions are not manipulative or wrong. The sexualisation of their actions comes about through opportunity and the help they offer merely sets up the opportunity for them. Interviews with some child rapists often indicate that they don’t think what they have done is wrong and that they don’t think they belong in a cell block with “those perverts” who act differently. Perhaps one might view sexual maturity as coming at age 12 and be horrified at a rapist who harms an 11 year old or might view girls as sexually mature at 13 and boys at 15. I don’t mean the biological meaning of sexual maturity but the emotional or chronological age where a person is ready for sexual exploration. It is a complex issue and each paedophile is different in their own thoughts on the subject. Many of them take their views from their own early sexualised behaviour or their own assaults.
Anyway back to the specifics of this topic. This playing with tarot cards is simply a game in the ongoing actions that Ayala must have set up. He’d gained the childrens’ trust and we must assume the parents’ trust as well. If he hadn’t played on their fears of the tarot, which he may well have set up anyway, he would have played on their fear of a god or of spiders or horoscopes or something else. There is no way that these girls could be held responsible for anything that Ayala had set up or for anything that was done to them.
Should the children have been skeptical of an adult being involved in their lives? Perhaps but would they be skeptical of a doctor, a priest (if that’s your thing), a teacher or scout leader? Of course not. Should their parents have been skeptical? Bloody right they should but it is important to remember that months had passed if not years when Ayala had presumably demonstrated his trustworthiness. The only one I can see who is actually at fault is Ayala. These girls and their parents, the teachers, carers, and social network that support the family in one way or another are not wrong to act in the ways they did, they just aren’t right to do so either.
One thing that makes me particularly angry on this topic is that the paedophiles often get themselves into positions of trust in society. Everyone knows about paedophile priests but there are paedophile teachers and paedophile scout masters who are just as bad.