A member of our team at Abstinence Clearinghouse recently heard a harrowing story of a teacher grooming a high school student for sexual abuse during this pandemic. It all started because of the cover that distance learning over Zoom and Google Classroom provided the teacher. Thankfully, the student's parents were extremely vigilant about their child's safety, recognized the signs of grooming, and were able to report the teacher to the school and the police before sexual exploitation took place.
If this were happening to your child, would you recognize the signs of grooming?
- Victim Selection: Children are particularly vulnerable right now because of the ease of access due to distance learning.
- Isolating and Controlling: An abuser will often attempt to isolate their victim from family and friends and control their actions.
- Building Trust and Keeping Secrets: An abuser will try to gain a victim's trust through special attention and gifts. They will manipulate their victim to keep secrets for them.
- Testing Boundaries and Desensitization: An abuser will test the sexual boundaries of a victim and start desensitizing them to their abuse. For example, trying to set up a one-on-one, in-person meeting with a victim during pandemic restrictions.
- Normalization: Through the grooming process, the victim will come to think that the behavior of their abuser is totally normal.
If you recognize any of these signs, please reach out and report it to your child's school administration and the police as soon as possible. In addition to being aware of the grooming that may occur online, here are a few distance learning best practice tips for parents, students and teachers.