The most obvious grooming methods are those used in sexual harassment.
I class sexual harassment as a type of bullying – not to demote it in any sense but rather to look at it alongside all the other behaviours abusive adults use, and often those behaviours overlap.
All the bullies and harassers I’ve encountered groom because they know what they want to do is wrong – so they assess potential targets first, as getting caught would be humiliating. Humilation is what bullies and harassers fear most. The most overt bullies can do this by being aggressive on mass to see if anyone will object. I did on one occasion and got exactly what I wanted from the perpetrator as a result! Being reasonable, polite, and assertive works!
The most obvious grooming happens in sexual harassment and is always one or more of the following.
- The perpetrator tests the ground with sexual jokes and or discriminatory statements.
- The perpetrator says something very quietly to their potential target, quiet enough so that no one else can hear. It will be sexually explicit – the intention is to shock, to assess the potential target’s reaction – do they freeze, will they object, or are they compliant? Are they sexually exploitable?
- The perpetrator will increasingly encroach on the target’s personal space.
- The perpetrator points out the positive and negative effects they could have on the target’s career.
- Bullies and harassers often use shock tactics to assess how a target responds to uncertainty.
We tell our children not to accept sweets from strangers, but we offer them no warnings about predators at work? The single most important word to end sexual harassment is “No.”
As a runner, a director told me, “Runners are a director perk” because of having to set a sexual boundary as a child, and courtesy of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, I knew exactly what to do and was assertive about doing it. “I said NO runners are not anyone’s perk.” I never had another problem with that director because he knew what he was trying to do was wrong. Twenty years later, I ran into him again, and he remembered me. “Hello, Jane,” he said with the utmost respect. We can stop sexual harassment if we train our children to be assertive and respectful.
Knowledge is power; please pass this on. You’ll find a breakdown of the behaviour of ” a master” harasser who uses all 5 here: https://tinyurl.com/373j8j79