When you think of "grooming," you probably think of rushing to shave or trim "down there" before sex. And you're not wrong—that's an accurate (and relatable) definition. However, we need to talk about another type of grooming that defines a type of sexual abuse. In short, it's when groomers—who are typically sex offenders and/or pedophiles—gain someone's trust by "supporting" them, then abuse them. This can happen both in person and online. The confusing and insidious nature makes it hard to spot, so here's what you need to look for and know.
Grooming 101: How it happens
First, the so-called groomer targets a person who is vulnerable. These people may receive little parental oversight, lack self-confidence or experience mental health challenges. While adults can be victims, an abuser's efforts are typically focused on children and teens because they're more vulnerable to manipulation and don't yet have fully developed brains.