WARNING TO PARENTS: Do not take your children to see the new movie “Show Dogs.”
Please CLICK HERE to read one critic’s review of the dangers of this movie aimed at young audience.
This movie appears to be a fun movie for kids, but it has a dark and disturbing hidden message. Throughout the movie, there is an underlying story line about the main character being “groomed” to accept his private parts being touched. The main character is encouraged by a colleague and a mentor to go to his “zen place” to disassociate to get through the uncomfortable touching to ultimately win the dog show competition. This is a dangerous plotline for our children to think is “normal” behavior, and should be used as a teachable moment.
According to NSOPW.gov, “Grooming” is a method of building trust with a child and adults around the child in an effort to gain access to and time alone with her/him. However, in extreme cases, offenders may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child. More common, though, are subtle approaches designed to build relationships with families. The offender may assume a caring role, befriend the child, or even exploit their position of trust and authority to groom the child and/or the child’s family. These individuals intentionally build relationships with the adults around a child or seek out a child who may have fewer adults in her/his life. This increases the likelihood that the offender’s time with the child is welcomed and encouraged.
The purpose of grooming is:
- To reduce the likelihood of a disclosure.
- To reduce the likelihood of the child being believed.
- To reduce the likelihood of being detected.
- To manipulate the perceptions of other adults around the child.
- To manipulate the child into becoming a cooperating participant which reduces the likelihood of a disclosure and increases the likelihood that the child will repeatedly return to the offender.
Although not all child sexual abuse involves grooming, it is a common process used by offenders. It usually begins with subtle behavior that may not initially appear to be inappropriate, such as paying a lot of attention to the child or being very affectionate. Many victims of grooming and sexual abuse do not recognize they are being manipulated, nor do they realize how grooming is a part of the abuse process.
12 grooming behaviors every parent should recognize:
1. Seeks out and pays extra special attention to a child
2. Acts overly interested in a child
3. The offender finds opportunities to buy a child gifts and/or treats
4. Touches or hugs them in front of trusted adults which makes the child think the touching is OK or normal
5. Finds out what your child’s likes and interests are and then flatters the child by claiming to have the same likes and interests. The offender may cater to the interests of the child so that a child or the parent may initiate contact with the offender.
6. Pretends to be a good friend to the child, even “best friends” and acts as a sympathetic listener when child is upset
7. The offender frequently initiates or creates opportunities to be alone with the child.
8. Tells the child dirty jokes or shows the child pornography
9. Befriends the child’s parents as a trusted ally to gain more access to the child, such as offering to babysit
10. An adult befriends a family and shows more interest in building a relationship with the child than with the adults
11. Develops a friendship with the child that is facilitated through social media, text messages, phone calls, or apps that may not be monitored by the child’s parents. Parents need to be aware of their children’s online activities.
12. An adult gives special privileges to a child (example: rides to and from practices, etc.).
According to the website, “Protect Young Minds,” there are 3 Red Flags Children Should be Aware of:
Big Red Flag #1: Bribes
A person might offer a reward (such as money, toys, treats or something else) for doing something that violates a body safety boundary. These are examples of bribes that can lure children and keep them engaged:
“If you touch my private parts, I will give you candy.”
“If you show me your private parts, I will be your best friend.”
“If you do this, I will give you money.”
“If you keep this secret, I will buy you things.”
“If you keep this secret, I will be your best friend.”
“If you keep this secret, you will be special to me.”
Big Red Flag #2: Threats
A person might scare a child by threatening to take something good away or do something bad if the child won’t cooperate or the child won’t keep a secret. These are common examples of threats:
“If you tell, I am not going to be your friend.”
“If you tell, nobody will believe you.”
“If you tell, It will make your parents mad because you wanted to do it.”
“If you tell, I am going to hurt you or hurt your family.”
“I will tell my mom it was your idea.”
Big Red Flag #3: Normalizing Abuse
A predator who is grooming a child may start with “Safe touches” in front of other adults, such as hugging the child in front of his or her parents, so that the child thinks this touch is okay. This can escalate. A person might try to manipulate a child into believing body safety boundaries are not really important and that most people do not obey body safety rules. To make safety rules seem unusual and sexual acts seem normal, an abuser may try to show a child pornography. An abuser may also use statements like these:
“All the cool kids do this. It’s no big deal.”
“It’s just a game that feels good.”
“It will be our little secret. It’s okay as long as no one finds out.”
Source: Protect Young Minds
Are you interested in learning more?
Mission Kids has specially-trained staff members who can provide an adult-focused prevention program that empowers individual adults and community members to protect children from abuse. Please contact us today for more information, or to schedule a Darkness to Light Training!
Please Contact: Michelle McDyre at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-687-2990 ext. 1016.
We look forward to hearing from you!