Tricks Used by Abusers

The abuser is usually, but not always, someone you know and trust; it could be a relative, friend of the family, neighbour or someone you know through school, college or work. They are usually, but not always, older and may be in a position of trust. 

Abusers often use tricks as a way of getting close to you and as a way of keeping you silent - these are known as grooming and silencing techniques. Grooming is when a perpetrator seems really caring and gives you lots of attention, affection, flattery and gifts, and may pretend to share your hobbies or interests. 

This is to trick you into trusting them. If this person then does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, it can be very confusing and hard to know what to do. They may have physically hurt you or they may have touched you in a way that felt strange but also nice. 

If you are unsure about anything that has happened or you start to feel nervous about being with this person, even if it is your partner or a relative, then you could use our telephone helpline or email support service or talk to someone you trust. 

Often abusers start off with gentle touching but gradually increase the abuse and use threats, force, and violence to stop you from telling anyone so that they will not be caught. Sometimes children and young women do not know that there is anything wrong in what is happening, particularly if it’s been going on since they were very young. 

It can be very difficult to speak out about abuse when you feel scared of the abuser and don’t know who to tell or whether you will be believed. We will believe you and our specialist services are here for you. 

There are some people who don’t know a lot about sexual abuse so they may not give you accurate information or appropriate support e.g. they may tell you that this person’s behaviour is nothing to worry about. You need to trust yourself - if you feel confused, uneasy or scared when you are with someone, then you may not be safe. 

The following points are all warning signals

  • The abuser telling you that what they are doing is okay even if it feels strange or uncomfortable to you.
  • If you feel embarrassed and don’t want anyone to find out.
  • If they tell you to keep it a secret.
  • If they tell you that something awful will happen if you tell.
  • If they make you do things you don’t want to do and then blame you for it.
  • If they say that you deserve what is happening.
  • If they make you do sexual things in exchange for treats, attention and privileges.
  • Saying that if you loved them, you’d want to make them happy by doing these things.
  • If they make you feel horrible, unloved and worthless, then treat you really well.
  • If they make you look at pornographic pictures or films.
  • If they tell you to look, dance or move in a sexy way while they watch or film you.

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