It Works Better if They’re Nice

This story in the New Yorker about what grooming looks like–how child molesters test kids and isolate them in order to see if they’ll make good victims–is really something everyone should read.

It just reminds me of how homophobia also feeds into this–both in that it works superstitiously by keeping men who the molesters think might recognize what they’re doing as sexual out of the picture and in that it makes it doubly hard for boy victims to come forward, for fear they’ll be thought of as gay. Which is not to say that child molestation wouldn’t happen in a more tolerant society, just that this particular hedge would be mowed down.

The whole thing is deeply troubling to me, but I think it’s important to see how it works, how they test boundaries and cross lines, not just of children, but of the adults who should be protecting those children. Everyone is groomed to accept as okay something that, to anyone entering the situation with fresh eyes, is simply not.