Summary by Emerald O’Brien

Emotional grooming is a process by which the perpetrator or “Con” manipulates their target’s emotions to seduce, coerce, or con them into sexual behavior.  They most likely learned their behavior from peers, media, or other adult role models.  Most Cons have never seen or experienced the mutual respect and selfless behaviors it takes to maintain or create a healthy relationship.

Unmasking Sexual Con Games: Chapter One - Free Teens Youth - Changing Minds, Transforming LivesUnmasking Sexual Con Games: Chapter One - Free Teens Youth - Changing Minds, Transforming Lives

Perpetrators of sexual crimes and that is what it is, can be male or female.  They need two things, first to control their victim to create a false sense of trust and second, secrecy.  They will be in a hurry to gain control and will talk a lot about trust.  Lines or without the “n,” lies will be told over and over again about their “special” relationship.  They will claim no one can understand their relationship and possibly coerce through threats to their target or their family.  Subtly they might say, “You wouldn’t want your little sister to get hurt, would you?  They often use bribes, gifts, alcohol, and/or drugs to cloud the mind of the target and the perpetrator uses it as an excuse for themselves as to why they went “a little too far.”

Characteristics of the language of a sexual groomer are geared to attempt to try to make teens feel that premarital activity is not only acceptable but also expected.  Young people who are lonely and looking for love can be especially susceptible to their ploys.  Teens need to understand that Cons’ use of language to trick, manipulate, and deceive is to take advantage of them.  They need to be aware that these people are selfish and untrustworthy.  Observe how a person treats others, and listen to what they say about dating, relationships, and sex.  The person who uses Cons’ language will be quite persistent and use many different angles. You have to be just as persistent and not give in to them.

Some useful language to say no to someone who is very persuasive will take skill.  You can stay in control by responding to their “lies.” And don’t be afraid to get help from an adult or trusted friend to help watch your back.

“You don’t really want me; you want sex.”

“I’m not ready for sex.  Don’t try to push me into it.”

“If you really care for me, you’ll understand”

“You don’t own my body and I’m certainly not renting it out.”

“I respect myself.  Why can’t you?”

“My brain’s between my ears, not my legs.”

“I want real love, not an imitation.”

Source: Unmasking Sexual Con Games: Helping Teens Avoid Emotional Grooming and Dating Violence by Kathleen M. McGee, Laura J. Buddenberg, Boys Town Press

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