When we hear the word 'abuse', we immediately think of a person being violent and another person resisting or feeling helpless; in reality, most victims are not aware that they are victims until it is too late, this is especially true for children.
Abuse takes time, it slowly builds up. Often, the abuser first studies the situation and starts the grooming process were he/she gains the trust of the victim and their support network.
The grooming process, at first looks like normal behavior such as attention, light conversations and care. At this point the red flag is the underlying motivation behind the behavior and not the overt actions and this is why in the early stages in can be difficult to catch.
The implementation of grooming tactics can take days, months and even years. One of the many tactics is 'Gaslighting'. Its goal is to slowly confuse the sense of reality of the victim and their support network through phycological manipulation. Victims end up second-guessing everything: how they feel, what they think, who to trust. When the victim loses clarity and confidence, the abuse gets to the next level: physical/sexual.
Learning how to identify red flags, helps us identify and stop abuse before it happens, or in the early stages. We must remember it is never to late to intervene.
We don’t have to live in fear, we just need to keep our eyes open.
To learn more about read flags and be part of the solution click HERE