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THE THREE TYPES OF SEXUAL PREDATORS
1. Pedophiles have a sexual preference for children. This in itself does not make them criminals. They get into trouble when they act on their impulses and, for example, start paying for viewing or collecting child pornography which is a serious victim-exploiting crime.
2. If pedophiles act on their impulses they become the second type of predator; preferential child sexual abusers. They have no interest in having sex with adults, only children, usually pre-pubescent. These are generally male and have a distinct pattern to their predatory behavior, including recruiting victims – referred to as ‘grooming’ – and retaining them in an ongoing pattern of sexual abuse while ensuring that they do not disclose the abuse - see 'The Secret' below and on how homepage here. These first two kinds of predators are called preferential; meaning that they have a distinct sexual preference for children.
3. The third kind is the situational sexual abuser. This abuser is one of opportunity. He or she enjoys having sex with adults and have sex with children when the opportunity arises. For example, when they are left alone with a child, they’re drunk, they’re angry at the child or mother and assault the child to hurt the mother – there’s a long list of reasons. They key word is opportunity.
All three are dangerous to children all the time. What is a distinctive feature in their behavior is their lack of conscience.
How do we identify a predator?
Grooming: how predators and abusers choose their victims.
An important element in the grooming process is the selection of a victim. Many abusers have multiple concurrent victims and, if left to run their life course un-arrested, some will have had hundreds if not thousands of victims in their lifetime.
Grooming: how it's done
The 'secret.' As already mentioned recurrent abusers rarely hurt the child as that would encourage disclosure. They encourage the child to understand that the behavior be kept a secret – just between them. They do this by keeping photographs, warning of the embarrassment to the child and family should anyone find our about what has happened; by blaming the child for initiating it; by rewarding the child with gifts and outings; by telling the child that disclosure would break up the family structure; that the sexual abuse is a demonstration of their ‘love’ for the child. On and on. And the child, being a child, believes them. They know no differently. The 'secret' is the key component of this disturbing relationship, one that is a cornerstone of a child sexual abusers success and survival.
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