This week on the CAAGe blog we’re talking about the police, about penises, and sometimes about both. We’ll be using the hashtag #PAP on Twitter and elsewhere.
We want to raise issues concerning the police and grooming, notably those around police reactions to grooming, how many police officers have actually groomed vulnerable women who have presented at police stations, and demonstrate how the issues around grooming (perpetrators commit more than one offensive act in general) are handled.
We have seen more and more cases where police officers just laugh at cases of online exposure. Whether it’s embarrassment or puerility, this needs to stop.
Epstein died in prison. The judge still encouraged the victims’ testimonies, and I’ve extracted some quotes below showing the long term damage done by the man. Maxwell is known to have recruited his victims.
She cannot be allowed out of prison on bail. After the Epstein case, and his subsequent death in prison, she went into hiding. She paid for a New Hampshire hideaway in cash. A list of rich, famous, powerful people as long as your arm want to stop testifying.
In 2005, I moved on. My on-off partner of eight years was finally off the day before we were moving into a new home, but I started in a new life in a new town, Port Talbot, anyway. My confidence was low, but I knew my new home from visits. My uncle was a cab driver there.
I can’t even remember why we were at the hospital one day, but it was a day that changed my life. I needed to call a cab. Even though my mum and uncle had fallen out, it felt safer to call the firm my uncle worked for, in the Neath/Port Talbot area.
At the hearing of victims’ stories following the death of serial groomer Jeffrey Epstein, Annie Farmer, speaking on behalf of her sister Maria Farmer, said:
Although conspiracy theories abound that Epstein never really died but escaped, little has been said of Ghislaine Maxwell, who is nowhere to be found.
Born into a privileged life as the daughter of disgraced publishing magnate Robert Maxwell (who incidentally also escaped justice, having apparently drowned in a boating accident), her life was a million miles from those that Epstein selected for abuse. She had influence, beauty and wealth, and no need to stand by Epstein. Yet by all accounts she was responsible for the procurement of young girls for abuse by the wealthy financier.
A British socialite, she has been friends with, and photographed alongside, the rich and famous, now linked to Epstein, including Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton (she was a guest at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010).
She supported his grooming, without a doubt, befriending the girls and then throwing them to the wolf, sometimes even participating in the abuse herself according to the victims.
For this she has currently escaped justice, and there are suggestions online of all kinds as to where she might be, ranging from Brazil to a London mansion. It is to be hoped that in the search for justice for the girls she procured that she will be brought to justice.
A broader pattern in adult grooming
Alarm bells started to ring when the Ghislaine Maxwell story appeared as part of the series I was reviewing, Filthy Rich. I had already noted a broader pattern in adult grooming – an anchor person; the groomers safe place.
This week I spoke with a woman who had been groomed by her physiotherapist. He had a girlfriend, mother of his child, who he kept returning to. Nothing to do with the grooming, other than saying on occasion that he wanted to make her jealous, she was an apparently safe place for him. (I would be amazed if he didn’t have other victims.)
My own groomer had a wife. She was upset when the bubble burst, publicly, about him sexually grooming multiple women over many years. Despite having sent me a message asking me to contact her, when I did her response was ‘You’ve had your fun, now leave us alone,’ or words to that effect. As far as I’m aware she has stayed with him. For many years he also had a girlfriend who kept returning to (including whilst I was ‘dating’ him) to the point where her children called him ‘Daddy Simon’ (name changed to protect the guilty). These anchors, again, seemed to offer him a safe place.
Harvey Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, didn’t leave Weinstein until around 90 sexual harassment accusations meant charges were being brought against him.
In marriage fraud cases, existing wives are often complicit in what we (in the UK) would consider bigamy, but which they claim is allowed under Sharia law.
In another case, where a woman was groomed via a dating site, she confronted her abuser with his girlfriend, who she had contacted. He continued to maintain that he only had eyes for the girlfriend, even in front of the target, who was left feeling confused. The girlfriend remained with him.
And in a further case, a psychologist dated a man whose groomer appeared to keep returning to his ex-girlfriend. He left her regularly and just went off with more women, trying to take their money.
So I had slowly started looking into the safety net, this anchoring – the place groomers often go to between old and new ‘supply’. It felt like something just out of reach, that deserves research. They know something about their partner’s grooming habits. But remain connected.
I thought I had found something unique, something not noted previously, something that was unique to grooming. I mentioned it to our counselling psychologist, Wendy. She immediately used the term enabler.
This enabling is not uncommon in crimes – take the Ian Huntley murder of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, teaching assistant Maxine Carr provided an alibi for Huntley.
Whilst most groomers are narcissists, not every narcissist is a groomer. But it is common for narcissists to have someone ’enabling’ them. Narcissists are often dependent on others for the self-assurance and definition they lack. The enabler props up their persona, their sense of entitlement, and their abusive behaviour. Enablers, apparently unquestioningly, accept the narcissists version of reality. They don’t stand up to their abuse, often hiding or cleaning up the mess the narcissist makes. They will apologise for him/her, and blame others (including the real victim) for his/her behaviour.
The enabler can be a spouse family member, co-worker, employee, someone they’ve met online – but in the cases I’ve witnessed of sexual grooming, they are often partners or lovers. Ex-girlfriends and boyfriends believe that the groomer is in love with them and wants them back – which is hugely flattering and often groomers offer the hand of friendship.
The true abuser may have eroded an enablers self confidence, burdened them with responsibilities, isolated them from friends, and/or have financial control. They will use this and/or access to children as a way to make the enabler stay and/or support them.
Whilst it can be hard to feel for someone who’s enabling grooming, they are often themselves from damaged backgrounds, and may need help to create boundaries and rebuild what the groomer has damaged.
Co-dependency is behaviour pattern: one person enables another’s wrong doing. Co-dependents rely on others for approval and for their sense of identity.
Enablers can cross the line and become co-conspirators themselves. It seems it is often to avoid being targeted themselves.
Sometimes they are so invested in believing the narcissist’s lies (to justify abusing others) that they can’t leave.
Often abusers use share secrets to bind victims to them. They are lured, over time, into giving up private information, contacts, money, property or sex. Victims may be persuaded to allow unsafe inappropriate, or illegal acts. The victim is thus drawn in to being a co-conspirator with their abuser.
A bond of secrecy is created, reinforced by threats, shame and guilt to keep the victim quiet about what they’ve done.
(Is this Ghislaine Maxwell?)
The reverse can apply, of course. Shamima Begum was groomed into leaving her home to join a terrorist group – but then participated in horrors. There will be very few people, possibly even only her, who know why she went or why she participated. But the spectacle of interviewing her in a refugee camp, having just lost a child, was vile. It was well known that ISIS had personnel in that camp (including her). What would have been the consequences for her had she renounced the group publicly? Or had she just become so vilified, so hated, that she could justify her own actions?
Manipulators use ‘forced teaming’ to make victims appear to have as much as possible in common with them to gain their confidence. Intent on deceiving and exploiting, they appear to the victim to have their best interests at heart. They create a ‘team us’ and use the term ‘we’ a lot to reinforce this sense of belonging. They make the rest of the World the ‘other’, present them as something untrustworthy, damaging or to be feared. (This is a particular favourite of cult groomers.)
Flying monkeys were used by the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1930s version of The Wizard of Oz to carry out her wrongdoing.
The term is often now used by psychologists to refer to anyone who believes the narcissist’s fake persona. Psychology author Angela Atkinson believes that ‘flying monkeys’ are usually unwittingly manipulated to believe the smears about the victim
The ‘flying monkey’ is used by the narcissist to torment the target. They are often part of a bigger group of ‘flying monkeys’, sometimes unknowingly, forming a gang or mob against the victim. The narcissist may ask them to spy, sometimes innocuously (“Just keep an eye on their Facebook page and report back”). They may be fed gossip to spread. They may help persuade others that the narcissist is the victim and the target is the guilty party.
Whilst the ‘flying monkeys’ are useful to the narcissist, and may make it seem like the narcissist is not really behind their actions, they often have no idea that they are being used. Indeed, the ‘flying monkey’ is disposable to the narcissist, who won’t hesitate to pass blame to flying monkeys when and if needed.
For example, entire families are involved in marriage fraud grooming – they are conscious of what’s happening and befriend the victim, knowing that the only reason they are being welcomed to the fold is, ultimately, nationality/money for which the groomer is marrying.
Friends can’t believe their drinking buddy or team mate could be so nice and still do something bad. Before they know it, the victim themself is revictimized and accused of lying.
The phenomena of the enabler deserves more attention with particular regard to adult grooming. It’s hard to research – they may not see themselves as enablers, just wronged partners; they are unlikely to come forward.
Personally, I have a sense that the role of the enabler goes much deeper in grooming than with most other forms of abuse – it feels like the partner becomes a groomer’s ‘safe place’ in a World where they are otherwise enjoying, and thriving upon, risk.
More than ever before, I’d value your opinions, your thoughts and your experiences to help us advance our understanding and for what you’ve found are useful tactics for dealing with it.
Review of Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a four part series looking into the life of notorious groomer, Jeffrey Epstein (director Lisa Bryant)
This powerful Netflix series, Filthy Rich, looks at how Epstein, an attractive, wealthy ‘financier’, silenced his victims (called survivors in the series), despite prolific grooming out of his Palm Beach mansion (one of the most exclusive areas for private ‘real estate’ available to the super rich. He not only groomed, but went on to persuade his victims to recruit further victims to fulfil his seemingly voracious appetite for young women (many of whom, but not all, were minors).
His incredible wealth was used to silence and protect, and the rot went deep. His link with Britain’s Prince Andrew is well documented (and there is a current battle over getting him to give witness in the USA), but there were also images made available of him with Bill Clinton, a connection with Weinstein, and the current US President, Donald Trump, who described Epstein as a great man with a penchant for beautiful women, particularly young ones.
There were also links to ‘senior academics’ mentioned, something I’ll come back to in a later post.
Epstein, accused of sex trafficking, was placed in jail awaiting trial. His response to the original deposition was one of a man hiding something, a man hiding behind his right to remain silent.
In jail, Epstein was found to have commited suicide, However this documentary series raises serious questions about the veracity of this. His brother Mark hired a specialist who concluded that it would be incredibly unusual for Epstein to have committed suicide with those wounds.
Epstein had been denied bail, and there is every sign that he would have fled had he been given bail. He was in the Metropolitan Correction Center (sometimes called The Tombs), a high security prison described as a ‘hell hole’ with cameras and officers everywhere.
Lots of people didn’t want Epstein to testify. He had videos in every single room of his mansion, was monitoring, watching the rich and the powerful (usually both!) abuse young girls. The web spread wide, internationally – and the sex trafficking was international. There is more work to be done to bring these people to justice, made harder by Epstein’s death.
The hero of the hour was Judge Richard Berman. Realising the bravery of the victims, who had each waited 10-15 years for justice, to be denied it by Epstein’s ‘death, he gave them their day in court. Their statements are on record. But Epstein stole from them a chance to see him pay for what he did for them.
We all know there were more, who didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t give testimony. These brave women were the tip of a fairly awful iceberg, and I can’t help feel that the series’ description of what happened to them was somewhat sanitised.
The is little justice (yet) for victims of grooming. Epstein weasled his way out of being caught for as long as he could. As one of his many victims noted:
I would add that in typical grooming style, Epstein worked his charm, his money, his power to pull rank on anyone who tried to expose him – including journalists whose stories around Epstein were ‘spiked’. Chances to expose and prosecute were missed.
Conclusion on the series:
Recommended viewing for anyone who wants to see the power dynamics of grooming, and how it works against the victims.
The Domestic Abuse Bill is reaching fruition. What is it and what significance doe it have for adults who are being, or have been, groomed?
The aims of the bill are:
to make legal provision in relation to domestic abuse;
to establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner;
to prevent cross-examination in person in family proceedings in certain circumstances;
to make illegal certain violent or sexual offences, and offences involving other abusive behaviour, committed outside the United Kingdom.
So far so good, although many feel that the bill doesn’t go far enough.
What is Domestic Abuse (DA)?
The government definition of Domestic Abuse for the purposes of the bill is:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. It can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
Domestic abuse is one of the most common crimes in England and Wales. According to Government statistics, an estimated 2.4 million adults aged 16 to 74 experienced domestic abuse in the year to March 2019, two-thirds of whom were women. Police recorded 1.3 million domestic abuse incidents; 57% were recorded as domestic abuse-related crimes – accounting for a full 35% of violent crime. Yes, that’s just over a third of all violent crime is what police used to define as ‘a domestic’ (an attitude that still prevails with SOME officers in our experience).
Furthermore (again, government figures), of the 366 domestic homicides recorded by police between April 2016 and March 2018, 270 of the victims were women (almost three quarters). So whilst men have every right to say ‘what about the men?’, women are disproportionately affected. (Or men aren’t reporting?) This is clearly a life or death issue.
Many of us are welcoming this change in focus from violence as a crime to abuse being mentioned as a crime. It backs up coercive control legislation, which also sees financial abuse as a crime.
What is Controlling Behaviour?
Controlling behaviour is where someone behave in a way to make the other subordinate or dependent on them, by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their ‘resources and capacities’ for personal gain, depriving them of their independence, ability to resist or escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
What is Coercive Behaviour?
Coercive behaviour, (according to the act) is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. (For me this understates coercive control.)
Does this offer hope?
Whilst it will clearly need to be tested in court, at least some forms of adult grooming would appear to fall under domestic abuse, giving us hope that for future victims/targets there may be some justice.
What’s happening to the bill?
The bill is going through Parliament. There is a helpful explanation on the government website: here. The bill has had its first readings and the reports and recommendations are due back on the 25th of this month (June).
It will then go through the required approvals.
What’s the bill about?
In a nutshell, the bill:
creates a domestic abuse commissioner, with powers to be heard and taken seriously; and a support committee;
gives powers to create notices and protection orders;
puts onus on local councils to make some provisions for victims;
special measures in courts, including preventing abusers from cross examining their victims;
allows, at least in part, acts committed abroad to be dealt with under UK law;
permits the use of polygraphs and sets conditions for their use;
addresses tenancies and housing issues to help victims;
suggests that the police need guidance on handling.
The bill is a significant stride forwards. It is sad that it doesn’t seem to go further, especially where children are stuck in the middle. However, it may offer some hope, in their description of coercive control, that sexual grooming at least may fall under this umbrella and see justice for victims.
Disclaimer: this is not legal advice. It is merely a summary/opinion of the government bill in its current form – a bill to which you should refer before taking action based upon it. Always seek legal advice.
We particularly want to recruit from Jewish communities who can help us make awareness and services more accessible to those Jewish communities.
Be of the Jewish faith and understand the wider context of being Jewish ie beyond their own Jewish experience (for example being black and Jewish, being an Israeli Jew, being Hasidic);
Fully qualified and with at least two years experience;
Capacity to take on additional counselling clients;
Prepared to invest time in understanding why grooming requires a different approach to other types of counselling;
A passion for involvement in CAAGe and its aims of raising awareness of, and campaigning against, adult grooming, some of which should clearly be criminalised, some of which is a case of raising awareness, and some of which is already criminal;
Prepared to work as a team and help other team members better understand issues facing the Jewish community specifically;
You will be prepared to help us with the direction that CAAGe takes in future.
You would be working alongside our existing counselling psychologist, Wendy Gregory.
We expect to be offering training courses for counsellors in the near future. You will be offered this training free or at a nominal cost, as well as being able to contribute should you choose. We would expect you to look at the course from a Jewish perspective.
There are some very specific issues around being groomed as a Jewish person, and the prevalence of high profile Jewish groomers such as Epstein and Weinstein. These are tough waters to navigate, and ones that deserve our attention head on.
See a sample example of the debates to be had: HERE
(Posting this doesn’t mean we agree, just that we need help to understand)
Nice to have:
Experience of (adult) grooming or understanding of a related part of grooming – such as elder abuse, cults, modern day slavery, clergy abuse, human trafficking;
Experience of campaigning organisations;
Awareness of women’s rights. (We believe, based on ongoing research, that women make up 80-90% of people who have been groomed.);
Awareness of men’s rights. (We believe that there is a degree of acceptance of grooming of men, and perhaps a reluctance to admit that they have been groomed.);
May optionally undertake work as as a spokesperson for the organisation;
Understanding of gender issues.
That’s a big list – and we absolutely don’t expect anyone to have it all.
How we work with counsellors
CAAGe does not take any money from counsellors in exchange for what are, effectively referrals, but ask instead that you offer us some time to guide our direction and check over materials that we are going to issue publicly.
At present we are not registered as a charity – we are primarily here to listen, signpost help, research and raise awareness.
We may decide to become a charity in future, but at the moment we have no income sources and don’t feel that adult grooming is well enough understood yet.
So we are looking at raising funds ourselves to help sponsor the counselling we offer, but at the moment must, sadly, charge victims for counselling.
This is a chance for you to become expert in a truly under-investigated but common behaviour pattern.