[Editor’s Note: This editorial was submitted on July 3rd.]
Grooming is now commonly defined as the psychological process of building a dependency relationship in a young person through the establishment of an emotional bond and their hopeful expectation of rewards for loyal and compliant behavior.
This compliant behavior is often a form of exploitation, either sexual or mental, and it can take place in the real world or online. This compliant behavior can also lead to a further compromise of the target’s ethics or may assure their silence and denial when questioned about the actions of their groomer.
The most successful groomers slowly and steadily build the trust of their target by introducing themselves in the context of their professional or leadership position and their reputation in a clique or elite group.
They slowly progress to provide special attention to a few in exchange for the target’s “superior performance”. They offer a patient ear, understanding and even constructive advice. They learn the target’s interests, goals, weaknesses and hopes. They progressively spend more “quality time” with the target in the form of special outings, flying time, conferences or holidays.
Once they have established trust, groomers can further exploit the relationship by isolating their target from any friends and family outside the network in which the groomer has power. In limiting access to those outside the groomer’s sphere of influence, the target’s feelings of dependency on the groomer increase.
Secrets of mistakes may be learned or secrets of intentional violations may be created by the groomer through pressure. These will be used to further control the target to achieve the groomer’s goals.
This article seems to imply that the person being groomed is not yet of age, a minor or a child who will be sexually exploited.
However, this exact same process takes place in Civil Air Patrol with older officers and young officers, older pilots and younger pilots and with cadets about to turn 18 or 21 years of age. You have heard the phrase, “he’s being groomed for command” and it says much more than you may have considered.
Many of the highest ranking people in the CAP have been groomed in just this way and as a result, many are blackmailing each other.
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• FBI Searching for More Sex Victims in Florida Wing
• Florida Wing Officer Convicted of Child Pornography
• Georgia Squadron Commander Indicted for Sexual Assault
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