What is Grooming?

Grooming is a destructive stage of sexual abuse, in which a person uses deceptive (and often non-sexual) bait or pressure to lure someone into a situation where they are easier to sexually exploit against their will.

Learning about grooming was vital as I struggled to piece myself back together from shreds. I couldn’t pinpoint, at first, how I was a “real victim,” and yet I struggled for months, if not years, to recover myself from the devastation. Denied permission to acknowledge the damages of abuse, I was nonetheless devastated. If I wasn’t a real victim, then why did I feel so trapped, so alone, so not myself; decimated and unable to get help from even my closest loved ones?

Below I list the resources that helped me understand and describe the harm I experienced and why it was so devastating to my well-being. The information helped me overcome and return to a vibrant life. I can’t tell you how much joy it was to be able to feel the love and enjoyment of simply treasuring my family again, after it was stolen from me for so long. I still struggle daily from the impacts of grooming, but recovery means I can live with an exuberance for life in the midst of it. I hope these resources will help anyone who needs that clarity and recovery for themselves or a loved one.

Allender, Dr. Dan B. The Wounded Heart; Hope for adult victims of childhood sexual abuse. Navpress, 2018.

Ashton, Paul Psy.D., D.Min. Protecting God’s Children for Adults. Grooming: Psychological, Physical and Community. https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/20307/documents/2019/10/2019_10%20VIRTUS%20Monthly%20Bulletin.pdf VIRTUS Online. National Catholic Services, LLC, 2019.

De Becker, Gavin. The Gift of Fear; Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence. Little, Brown and Company, 1997.

Langberg, Diane. Suffering and the Heart of God; How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores. New Growth Press 2015.

Lea, Bronwyn. Beyond Awkward Side Hugs; Living as Christian Brothers and Sisters in a Sex-Crazed World. Thomas Nelson, 2020.

Melendez Fisher Good, Elizabeth. Groomed: Overcoming the Messages that Shaped Our Past and Limit Our Future. W Publishing Group, 2020.

Mullen, Wade. Something’s Not Right; Decoding the hidden tactics of abuse and freeing yourself from its power. Tyndale Momentum, 2020.

Stern, Dr. Robin. The Gaslight Effect. Harmony Books, 2018.

Roys, Julie. The Roys Report: Ravi Zacharias. https://julieroys.com/investigations/ravi-zacharias/

Thompson, Lori Anne. Category: Adult Grooming. https://loriannethompson.com/category/adult-grooming/

Click here to order a copy of Trophy Warrior by Audrey Opp-Waverick.

Photo Credit; Ron Lach via Pexels.com 2022.

Hope for survivors. Insight for professionals. Awareness for supporters. Click the image to purchase Audrey Opp-Waverick’s stunning debut memoir.

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