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Sexual Predator Grooming Behaviors

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Sexual offenses are most often planned. They are not usually impulsive acts or mistakes. Sexual offenders do things to “set up” potential victims in an effort to manipulate them into sexual situations. Some grooming behaviors are done to try to get the potential victim interested in the offender or to see how the potential victim may react if a sexual advance is made. Grooming is part of a process in the actions offenders engage in that leads up to the actual offense. Grooming can also involve threats, bribes, or coercive acts. Grooming behaviors are sexual abuse “red flags.” Coercion is when tricks, power, status, threats, bribes, drugs, alcohol, or force is used to manipulating a person into doing something. The pedophile four F’s are Friendship, Fantasy, Fear, Force.

My sexual predator half-sibling set up my sister, my cousin, and myself in a swimming pool by making us think he was just having fun with us by throwing us in the air. I was eight years old. She was five. My cousin was even younger. After a few times of throwing me up in the air, he slipped his hands down the bottom of my bathing suit touching me up front. I swam away immediately. If he did it to me, I know he did it to my much younger sister and cousin. Since my sister was only five, she does not remember this incident. He used the grooming techniques setting us up to be touched by him. To this very day I suffer from flashbacks of this incident. For 36 years, I still have the vision in my head of myself as very shocked eight year-old innocent child swimming away in a fog confused as to what just happened to me. I suffer from nightmares of sharks and whales chasing me, which I feel is related to him touching me in water.

He tried again just after my parents left for an evening out. He was our babysitter. If my parents only knew who they were trusting to care for us. While my sister and I were playing a board game in our bedroom, he walked in saying to both of us, “Show me yours and I will show you mine.” I immediately left the bedroom never looking back leaving my sister behind. I have no idea what happened in that room after I left, but I do know he did not continue the board game with her. I also suffer from flashbacks of this attempted molestation upon me. I also have reccurring dreams of my childhood bedroom being on fire with me throwing things out the window. I feel this dream could be related to his attempted molestation on me in my bedroom. This dream may also be from my parent’s domestic violence since it almost always occurred after 2 a.m. when my father would come home drunk while we were sleeping. I also have nightmares of sharks being in the hallway trying to get into my closed childhood bedroom door, which I feel is also related to the attempted molestation in my bedroom.

I am proud I was a smart little girl knowing what he did in the pool was wrong along with knowing what he kept trying to do was wrong. However, I do have the guilt of not protecting my sister and cousin. Why didn’t I get them away from him in the pool when I swam away? Why didn’t I tell? Why didn’t I grab my sister’s hand and walk out of our bedroom with her? Again, why didn’t I tell? I know my parents would have believed us. I know I was only eight, but I still feel I should have told. I have difficulty coping with this guilt. I also have a hard time coping with how a half-sibling could do this to his sisters and other family members. Imagine the anxiety I felt from the age of eight until fifteen when I began dating, being afraid to be alone with my half-sibling in fear he may try to touch me again or worse. To date, my sister will not discuss details, but she did admit he did subject her to sexual abuse. I do not pressure her on this. When she is ready, she will talk about it. I do know it happened to her more than it did me. This kills me inside. I could have protected my sister and cousins, but I didn’t. I feel he realized he was not getting anywhere with me, so he moved on to my younger sister and cousins. I was also told by my real brother while babysitting my cousins, the half-sibling molested them by tying up our male cousin to a bedpost while his younger sister performed sexual acts on him as he watched. Now we know why he never complained about babysitting any of us. My sister was not aware of what our real brother told me.

A year ago, she told me all she remembers is the half-sibling tying up our male cousin at our Aunt’s one apartment. My real brother told me it occurred in my Aunt’s mobile home; therefore, proving it happened more than once to my cousins. My female cousin told me she was two years old when they lived in the mobile home. She says she does not remember anything. He brother states the same. Their mother is in denial. She told me the half-sibling did not molest her children. I asked her how did she know. Did she have cameras in her home because her children were too young to remember? She then asked me why I am digging up all of this now telling me to leave the past where it belongs. Then she said, “And if you were molested …” At that point she did not get another word in. I snapped because I felt she was calling me a liar. She reacted in a typical manner when someone speaks the truth about sexual abuse within the family. To date, they no longer talk to me.

Although he never succeeded again after the pool incident, it did not stop him from looking at me as if he was undressing me with his eyes even when I was an adult. Imagine knowing your half-sibling is looking at you in this manner. It’s sickening! I always had relationships with men who would have beaten him if I told them what he did to me, my sister, and cousins. In hindsight, I wish I would have told at least one of them because the truth would have come out way much sooner because studies have shown predators do not stop. They just move to the next victim. In 2005, I did report him to the local Children and Youth, but I never heard from them ever again. I told them his daughters were acting out the same as I did. At that time, his fourteen-year old was pregnant, his eighteen-year old was injecting heroin, and his other daughter is just very strange. They informed me they could not contact anyone eighteen and over. They then asked me how could they reach the fourteen-year old. WHAT! I could not believe they were asking me this. I said to them, “How about going to where she goes to school?” At that moment I knew my complaint was falling on deaf ears. Unbelievable! Children and Youth are supposed to be the experts in helping children and here they were asking me what to do.

Then a few years later when the eighteen-year old was twenty-one, I end up in a mental ward with her because she was still injecting herself with heroin. We were admitted on the same day and discharged on the same day. I feel us being there together was a sign from GOD. There has to be a reason why he put us there together. When I first seen her, I said, “Hi, how are you?” She replied, “Okay. How are you?” I replied, “Okay.” These were the only words we exchanged in three days. I brought up at a group meeting the reason I was there was because my half-sibling molested me when I was eight. My niece was present. She immediately walked out. The nurse was calling out to her to come back. I told the nurse I knew why she left. Then I said, “Her father is my half-sibling. Her doctor better ask her what he did to her and if she is numbing herself with heroin because of it.” Everyone in the room gasped. One man got up and hugged me. He told me he admired my bravery telling me to keep talking about what happened to me. I did recently contacted her via email. I told her if she ever needed me I would always be here for her no matter what. She replied by saying thank you. I was so happy she did not reply negatively. By her reply, I feel something happened or else she would have cursed me out about what I am saying about her father or not even replied at all. How ironic is it she is my Godchild?

I have recently seen pictures of the half-sibling with his four year-old granddaughter. He was lying on the beach playing in the sand with her. I could not help but think, “Oh my GOD, he’s still doing it. He is still taking advantage of a child who is enjoying the fun of swimming.” I feel history is repeating itself and there is nothing I can do about it until someone else tells the truth. Then I worry about the expiration of the six-year statute of limitations on sexual abuse, which is exactly happened in my case. I already put some plans in place to get people in authority to watch over this little girl because she will be starting kindergarten either next year or the following year. I feel if my school would have been informed about what was going on in my family maybe something would have been done to put an end to it. I will do whatever I have to do to save anyone from sexual abuse and domestic violence, especially my nieces.

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