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Friendly Atheist Forums • View topic - Child Grooming and Paedophilia

Child Grooming and Paedophilia

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Child Grooming and Paedophilia

Postby hoverFrog on 03 Jul 2009 10:50 am

http://friendlyatheist.com/2009/07/02/t ... cked-them/

I've just left a long response to the above topic on the main site. Here it is again
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.
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.

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.
"Religious freedom should work two ways: we should be free to practice the religion of our choice, but we must also be free from having someone else's religion practiced on us." -John Irving, novelist (b. 1942)
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Re: Child Grooming and Paedophilia

Postby JulietEcho on 03 Jul 2009 12:35 pm

Thanks for posting this. Aside from situations where a family member is the abuser, I wasn't familiar with situations like these. It's definitely scary, because you have to think to yourself, "At what point do I trust anyone alone with my kids?"

Should women be more trusted with children than men because they are statistically so much less likely to commit violent or sexual crimes? That's something I've wondered a lot, because while it seems unfair and sexist, it also seems like it's a much safer policy. I might feel that it's wrong for a business to discriminate that way (a daycare, for example), but I might personally be too nervous to hire a male baby-sitter, no matter how great he seems.
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Re: Child Grooming and Paedophilia

Postby jemand on 03 Jul 2009 1:14 pm

I don't know what to do about it... but I do know that children do not have the knowledge of the proper definitions of "rape" partly because parents deem it something that would "scare" the children to know too much about, but which leaves them defenseless. Of course messages of distrusting the "big bad stranger" if anything may cause more harm than nothing because in the event the child is abused by a known adult, they do not recognize this as one of the warned against situations... and fail to report it.

Of course, young kids won't report things sometimes because talking about it makes it "real" and they don't want it to be real. It's much easier to pretend it didn't happen when you haven't told anyone. That's how I thought at least.
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Re: Child Grooming and Paedophilia

Postby hoverFrog on 03 Jul 2009 2:21 pm

I think that the idea we have of paedophiles is that they are evil monsters lurking in the shadows ready to snatch our kids away to do unspeakable things to them. This demonising of them makes them somehow unreal and can actually allow them to get close. A 2006–2007 Idaho study of 430 cases found that 82% of juvenile sex offenders were known to the victims (acquaintances 46% or relatives 36%) so only 18% were strangers.

As for trusting others I have taken the view that Hil or myself can care for the kids or possibly our parents at a pinch. No-one else. I am certainly being over protective but I don't particularly care. Day care, nurseries and schools should have performed police checks on their staff and you can check this easily enough. Whether men or women are more trustworthy is something I've never really considered. The schools and nurseries my kids went to had male and female staff but there was always a culture that care was given in pairs and never alone. This is as much to protect the organisation as the kids of course but a policy I agree with 100%.
jemand wrote:Of course, young kids won't report things sometimes because talking about it makes it "real" and they don't want it to be real. It's much easier to pretend it didn't happen when you haven't told anyone.
I think that's true of adults as well to a certain extent. Adults have learnt better coping mechanisms so are less likely to keep things to themselves but it does still happen. Children don't have these strategies and are more likely to exhibit PTSD symptoms following an assault or to copy the behaviour of their abuser. In Portsmouth (England, where Hil works) there was a brief spate of older brothers abusing younger siblings. This followed their own abuse and was a way of them coping or even justifying what had happened to them. It was also a way for the adult abuser to get hold of younger children as the elder brothers would introduce the younger kids to him. I'm sure this sort of thing is not unusual for abused children.

I'd like to be angry at them for perpetuating what they've been through but I just feel sorry for them. It is easy to see why they act in the way they do and how they are trapped in this cycle of abuse. Sadly it takes a lot of professional help to break out of it and that costs. Of course it would be wrong of me to imply that it is normal for victims to become abusers. It is only about one in ten that do so even though the scars of abuse will influence everyone who is a victim. That said I did read that a paedophile can have as many as 500 victims in his lifetime so one in ten of his victims turning to abuse still equates to 50 new abusers. Even one is far too many.
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Re: Child Grooming and Paedophilia

Postby jemand on 03 Jul 2009 2:54 pm

500!?!

That's amazing. What is average? Is there a possibility of only one offense? Am I being immoral for not reporting this guy because he's guaranteed to still be harming others?
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Re: Child Grooming and Paedophilia

Postby hoverFrog on 03 Jul 2009 3:22 pm

jemand wrote:500!?! That's amazing. What is average? Is there a possibility of only one offense? Am I being immoral for not reporting this guy because he's guaranteed to still be harming others?
It's hard to say and I don't know the answer. I remember the number from a documentary years ago where they interviewed an old man who was a life long child abuser. He boasted of having abused over 500 kids. Whether this is the telly making it look worst, him making things look worse or a genuine report I can't say. I took it at face value though as a worst case.

As for your moral stance on not reporting an abuser I wouldn't wish to judge or suggest you put yourself through the torment of reporting someone unless it was something that you genuinely feel you can do. I'm positive that there are professionals who could give you much better advice than I ever could. I'm only a stranger on t'interwebs after all and anything I say has as much weight as the opinion of a cab driver. That said I'm the sort of person who likes to think they can fix things so I'd want to do something. I'd probably make things worse though. :oops:
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