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Grooming is NOT what the transphobes and TERFS (or FARTS) want you to think it is.
In the dictionary, grooming is the act or process of preparing someone to fill a position or role or undertake an activity.
You can “groom” a cashier to take over a management position in a store or groom a dog for a dog show.
These definitions are nothing anyone would raise an eyebrow over. However, the OTHER kind of grooming (where people with bad intentions manipulate and coerce others for selfish purposes) has been in the news a LOT lately.
In discussions on grooming, most of the focus is on children, but anyone can be groomed, coerced, and manipulated into an abusive relationship.
Additionally, some people are more vulnerable to coercion and abuse, especially if they were abused in the past (in relationships, workplace, or medical/therapeutic settings) or come from families where coercion and manipulation are standard, normalizing the abuse.
Groomers are predators who can target and exploit vulnerable people into doing things the victims wouldn’t normally do otherwise (primarily through coercion and manipulation, but sometimes even physical abuse).
Grooming isn’t even always about sex, though sexual predators and sex crimes get most of the attention due to their heinous nature.
Predators (groomers) can pick their victims for various reasons, and may have sexual motivation for their evil deeds, but not always.
Groomers latch onto their victims to take anything they feel the victim can give them (whether it’s sex, money, attention, credibility, praise, or any other resource the predator wants).
Conversion and other behavioral “therapies” use coercive techniques to manipulate participants.
These therapies utilize coercion and manipulation to motivate their participants, similar to how groomers and other predators learn and then exploit their victims’ hobbies and passions, using those interests to develop a relationship with their victims to gain compliance and control over them.
Be wary of any “therapy” where the participant is not allowed to say “no,” where the “therapist” demands compliance or punishes the participant for “undesirable behaviors.”
Punishing a child for saying “no” strips them of their autonomy and can have long-lasting psychological effects, leaving them vulnerable to sexual and other types of coercion and abuse throughout their lifetimes.
More info on ABA/Autistic Conversion Therapy
- Why ABA Therapy is Harmful to Autistic People
- Evidence of increased PTSD symptoms in autistics exposed to applied behavior analysis
- Long-term ABA Therapy Is Abusive: A Response to Gorycki, Ruppel, and Zane
- Invisible Abuse: ABA and the things only autistic people can see
- 5 Important Reasons Even “New ABA” is Problematic
- Nonspeaking Autists’ Experiences of ABA
Grooming isn’t something that only happens to children.
I’ve been groomed multiple times (both as a child AND an adult) in various settings.
The people who tried to “groom me” as an adult did so because they wanted something from me that wasn’t sex. These groomers manipulated me into relationships with them (from friendships, and business endeavors, to romances) because they wanted a variety things from me.
As someone who’s the survivor of more than one long-term relationship with people who used coercive and controlling methods to groom and keep me for their benefit (at the expense of my mental and physical health), I am disgusted by how casually the word “groomer” is thrown around today – especially with regards to trans people.
I’m trans and was groomed but not into thinking I was trans.
I knew I wasn’t a woman when I was only four or five years old, but I was groomed (by society) into pretending to be a woman – a title that never fit and always felt like a lie.
The gaslighting and lies of those trying to force me to be something I wasn’t (a woman) when I knew inside that I wasn’t one nearly killed me.
The coercion and manipulation of being forced to deny the reality I experienced fractured my ability to trust my own judgment, leaving me broken and confused for many years (before learning I was nonbinary).
Learning the truth gave me peace and clarity about myself for the first time in my life, and despite this, people are STILL trying to GROOM ME into becoming a woman (something I’m not and have no desire to be).
Trans and Queer People are NOT groomers. Queer and trans people are just trying to survive.
Because real groomers are everywhere and can pick their victims for any reason, if we want to keep ourselves safe we must know how to spot, identify, call out, and escape from coercive, manipulative, and controlling people.
Predators are sinister, and on the surface, grooming can mimimc the ways people show genuine care and affection.
How do I know if someone is trying to “groom” or use coercive control on me?
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