How do sexual abusers gain the trust of their young victims and why do parents “let” them? How do they get by with it? Why don’t the child victims say anything? How can a mother insist she had no idea what was going on? These are questions that trouble people whenever the subject of childhood sexual abuse comes up.
I found an article online that offers a concise explanation of the “grooming” process. It is all valuable information, but I wanted to highlight this:
Mother blaming tactics
The myths around child sexual abuse often describe the reasons the offender sexually abused the child as being the mother’s fault. Some of these reasons could be that the mother was sick, worked long hours, or was frightened of the perpetrator. As a mother, you are not to blame for the sexual abuse. The sexual abuse of children is just one part of a system of trickery and abuse created to maintain secrecy, isolation and the offender’s absolute power over the child and all others in the child’s life. The offender sets up a web-like structure of traps, lies and distortions to isolate the victim and recreate the child as problematic in the eyes of siblings, the mother, friends, family and neighbours. In particular, offenders admit that their prime target is to destroy the child’s relationship of trust with the mother (Morris, 2003).
The relationship problems between mother and child that are commonly seen after the abuse is disclosed are more likely to be the result of a campaign of disinformation orchestrated by the offender. The offender’s actions create a context in which the mother and child are blind to his role in creating the difficulties in their relationship (Laing and Kamsler, 1990). In fact, one of the most common tactics by the offender is creating a division between the mother and child. The mother blaming shifts the focus from the offender to the mother, in search for someone to blame.
Research shows that the vast majority of mothers do not know that sexual abuse was occurring, and this is part of the offender’s campaign to keep the abuse secret. Offenders work hard to be seen as the idea father, uncle, grandfather, brother or a trusted family friend who is wonderful with children.