Recruiting counsellors: BAME

CAAGe, the Campaign Against Adult Grooming, is looking for several new counsellors/counselling psychologists for us to refer to.

We particularly want to recruit from BAME communities who can help us make awareness of grooming and services more accessible to others.

Whilst this is not a paid post, but you will be paid for counselling work. (See ‘How we work’, below.)

Role requirements:

  • 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 diversity issues;
  • 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 coast, as well as being able to contribute should you choose. We would expect you to look at the course from a BAME perspective. You do not need to be an expert, just have an opinion.

Background to role: A Good Look at Ourselves

Nice to have:

  • We are keen to have black and Asian applicants, but are aware that we would benefit from the input of other race and reli
  • 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 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 charge for counselling.

Register to hear more about CAAGe for Counsellors

To find out more, contact CAAGe

A good look at ourselves

Wendy and I were talking this morning about the results of the first year of our grooming research/survey. (Wendy is our counselling psychologist.)

When I set up our survey, I deliberately avoided race and religion questions. I think people are people.

Wendy encouraged me to add questions about ethnicity and religion. I realised I had been afraid to include those questions.

I have had to take a good hard look at myself, and am about to step into the fire…. It’s an uninformed look, and a plea for help.

I have come from a diversity and inclusion type school of thought, but having read some of the information put out by CharitySoWhite my thinking has changed. Only activism can change things, and just trying to be inclusive, in the face of what’s happening in the US right now, doesn’t seem enough.

I’ve happily written about Shamima Begum being groomed. This was particularly Islamic issue. What was so bad in this bright young woman’s life that going out to join a terrorist organisation seemed better? (And yes, I’m aware that one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.) I felt, but didn’t dare voice the thought at the time, that it was racism and the uncomfortable status of muslims in our society that might have made going away seem attractive.

At the time of writing the survey, we were living in a society where anti-Muslim feeling was rife. We’d had bombings, Twin Towers, Lee Rigby, Paris and other ‘Muslim’ atrocities.

I was queued up in a coffee shop in Reading when a gentle mannered woman wearing a hijab felt the need to apologise to me – a complete stranger – for what was happening, to distance herself from it. I felt sad, and we chatted for a while, but frankly I should have been angry on her behalf. She should have been able to queue in exactly the same as I was, without having to give account – especially in Reading which has always been proudly multicultural. No-one blames every Christian each time a white ‘Christian’ does something.

Moreover, with all the talk of ‘Asian Grooming Gangs’ I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire, add racism to the mix. I can see now that this was just as inadvertently racist as not including those questions.

(Of course, it’s not just people of colour who experience racism – it’s also traveller communities/gypsies. Immigrants. Jewish people and people from other religions, including Pagans.)

How to put this right?

Here are my thoughts:

  • we will add those awkward questions to our survey and address issues head on;
  • it’s #VolunteerWeek, and whilst all volunteers are welcome, I would love someone with a deep understanding of race issues/racism to come and give us a hand to get it right;
  • we will use more inclusive images around the website. (I’ve been wary of suggesting that these groups might be groomers and adding fuel to the fire);
  • I am investigating the possibility of offering a black (or brown, or both) counsellor/psychologist free training in helping/handling grooming cases.

And here’s the tough one. I am well aware of the number of women who have been groomed into (legal in the UK) marriages by people already married under Sharia law, who wanted nothing more than their British passport and half of their targets’ wealth. I really need some support from within the Muslim community to help me address this and tackle it.

Help me out here, folk. What else can we do?

Get involved

Contact CAAge

Why do groomers groom?

With thanks to Wendy Gregory, our counselling psychologist, for her input.

The results are in from the first year of our adult grooming survey, and we’ve started looking at why groomers groom adults. These observations are taken from answers from the victims’ perspectives.

(What’s this about? Find out here: What is adult grooming?)

To understand why adult groomers target their victims, we asked why victims felt that their groomers had targeted them, We hoped to get a sense of when and why people get groomed, so that future targets can put up their guard.

The figures are based on those who responded to the survey.

Bear in mind that there are communities who can’t answer the question for fear or lack of access to computers/wifi – notably who have been/are involved in human trafficking, as an example. Also many people remain unaware that what’s happened to them is grooming. (We’re working to change that!)

But the data does give us a sense of what’s happening – and mostly it’s a need of the groomer that the victim can fill for them. Groomers are ‘bottom feeders’ who take advantage of any situation or need….

Loneliness And Isolation of Target

Whether it’s after divorce, being an eternal singleton or just having moved, feeling lonely and isolated was a repeated theme for many respondents.

This could simply be caused by a house move, or being tied by children, reducing social circles.

Some groomers had targeted people who are self-employed and working alone.

Over time we’ll look into the ways of identifying and combating that vulnerability.

For the moment our advice remains:

  1. “If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.”
  2. Follow your gut. Many, if not most of our respondents sensed that something was wrong, but didn’t want to believe it.

Groomers’ Desire for Power and Domination

A vast number of victims of adult grooming in our survey reported that they thought the groomer had groomed them to gain power or domination, sexual or otherwise.

Often groomers are abusing positions of power, and parents or senior family members, clergy, and academics all got a mention as groomers. We are also aware of groomers in the police force and working for charities. Sometimes the power is derived from simply being much older than the victim, often by decades. These roles offer an air of respectability to groomers that they  should be living up to, not abusing.

Sadly it was noted that some groomers view their grooming as nothing more than a game or a challenge.

Sex? Apparently not

Unexpectedly to many, one of the least occuring answers for why someone was groomed is ‘for sex’.

We agree.

Whilst sex may well be (and often is) part of the grooming act, it’s rarely the underlying reason. Although trafficking someone into sex acts or the sex trade/sex work is clearly to do with sex, for the groomer it’s not about simply getting sex for themselves.

Money, Money, Money

A high number of respondents, people who’ve been groomed, mentioned money or finance as the groomer’s motivation.

Victim’s Access to Information

Anecdotally, we’re hearing from people who organise or show at conferences and events about organised grooming.

So it was perhaps no surprise to see access to information or contacts appearing on the lists of reasons why people felt they were groomed.

Being A Parent

As if parenting wasn’t already a minefield, many people have been targeted because of their children:

  1. With the groomer using them as access to a child
  2. Single parenthood reduces opportunities to meet people, and groomers use this to gain favour

Experiencing Change

When big life changes happen, we are less certain of how things ‘should be’ and often face an emotional and/or stressful wrench. Examples might be a house move to a new area, where we are going to have to make new friends and find out how things work. Alternatively change may be a result of finding your marriage in a mess, or emerging from divorce. Perhaps someone has died.

Such transitions offer rich pickings for groomers, who will often deliberately target people in these situations. The reasons are varied. They may just have the opportunity to catch you while your guard is down – they may simply see a chance fulfil a need their targets have, such as for information, maps, introductions, directions, recommendations.  Anything to close in on them.

Naivety/vulnerability

In almost a third of responses, victims felt that they had been naive or vulnerable. Some are actually classifies as ‘vulnerable adults’. Most are simply nice and refuse to believe or accept the harsh truths of grooming.

At CAAGe we’d like to change that thinking.

You are not to blame when you’re targeted by someone unscrupulous. We almost all need affection. We ALL have some vulnerability or need. Groomers work hard to find those things: they are the ones who should shoulder the blame, firmly!

Victims Are ‘Shiny Things’ to Groomers

The status of the victim is often appealing to groomers.

Several people mentioned jealousy and revenge on the part of their groomer. Sometimes it’s just because the target is good looking and the groomer is attracted by thought of possessing or parading someone who looks great.

Often, it’s access to money or wealth that appeals.

And sometimes it’s as simple as nationality (see marriage fraud), which, at the end of the day, boils down to the same thing, economic well being.

(See also Wendy’s video on Who narcissists are attracted to.)

Just Remember

When a groomer targets you, it’s because you have something they want. This is where your power in dealing with them lies.

Add your vpice to our Adult Grooming research (survey) here

Read about ‘The Psychology of Adult Sexual Grooming’

Life after grooming: sources of support

Contact CAAGe

FOR LOVE OR MONEY

A review of the BBC Series ‘For Love or Money’ by CAAGe Counselling Psychologist partner, Wendy Gregory, and advice.

The ‘For Love or Money’ series has been broadcast on BBC and follows a couple of cases each week of people who have been groomed and defrauded, mainly by people that they have met on online dating sites or apps.

Most cases follow a similar pattern, with the victims often middle aged or elderly and looking for love. The people they meet go to great lengths to create a convincing and attractive online profile, which is, of course, totally fake.

Contact can go on for quite some time online and via telephone, but one thing is quite striking: they don’t actually meet the person face to face.

The perpetrator usually claims to live in another country. Once they have hooked them, they love bomb their victims (often having several on the go at the same time), telling them everything they so want to hear.

Then the hit comes: they ask for money. Initially this is a small amount and seems perfectly plausible, with the perpetrator often claiming that they are on their way to meet up, but for some reason can’t access their bank account, or else that they need the money for an operation for themselves or a relative and again, can’t access their bank account.

This process is repeated several times, with the amounts requested getting larger and larger each time. Some victims have even sold their house to raise money for their groomer.

On the surface it is easy to watch the programme and think, “How could they have been that stupid?” However, the presenters don’t judge the victims and make  it clear that this can happen to absolutely anyone. Whilst they don’t get the victims’ money back, they do usually manage to trace the perpetrator and expose them, which in itself can bring closure. As a victim of grooming it is very hard to give up hope that this person is for real, so once they finally do, at least they can move on with their life.

So what are the warning signs?

From the programme there  is a clear pattern to watch out for: the groomer will find all kinds of excuses to not meet up with their victim, keeping contact via email, Whatsapp or telephone.

Contact will be frequent – often several times a day. They will claim to be a successful business person or professional. They will start by asking for small amounts of money, then up their game.

However, as the programme shows, it is not hard to do some checking up.

  • Most groomers have a fake, stolen identity, complete with photographs. This will usually have been taken from someone’s public Facebook page. By putting a photo into Google and asking for a reverse search, you can find out where it came from.
  • Simply typing in a name to Google brings up a great deal of information and you may find that this person is not who they say they are.
  • Some signs are more obvious; the groomer may claim to be American or European, but actually have a strong African (for example) accent.

If someone asks you for money, however small the amount, run!

No genuinely successful person leaves themselves unable to access any funds.

Finally, if you do find out that someone is grooming you, don’t be afraid to report it to the police: you may find that they are already familiar with this person. Fraud is a very serious crime and you will be taken seriously.

Q&A: Groomed for Money

If you’ve been groomed, for whatever reason, please help us by completing our anonymous research survey: here

Contact CAAGe

Staying safe from Adult Grooming Under Lock Down

So we’re all staying home and thank God for social media! Under the circumstances it feels mean to mention the dangers. But this is a great breeding ground for groomers.

Whether lockdown has left you feeling lonely or given you time to connect, we ‘ve all ‘reached out’ to each other in new ways.

Whether you’ve joined a dating site, whether you’ve joined groups to keep abreast of what’s happening or to pursue an interest with time on your hands, or whether you’re simply joining in with games like ‘Words with Friends’, you are now bumping up against new people.

And this is a fabulous thing. We are connected online in ways that we can’t be in person.

But whilst I’m a huge believer in the fact that most people are good, sadly these are perfect conditions for adult groomers.

Their ‘modus operandi’ is to talk to you.

Yes, it’s that simple. They just talk to you. They are interested in you and will tell them about themselves in a way that slowly draws you into their web. They will be an unbelievable match for you. Slowly but surely you’ll develop ‘really like’ feelings.

This is a perfect time for groomers, because whilst you might expect someone to suggest a coffee or a date, right now no-one can, so the normal slow burn, getting to know you of adult groomers has the perfect cover. No-one can meet up just now.

So groomers and other scammers have the perfect excuse for not meeting and getting to know you. Why? because they want you to fall ‘in love’ with them.

But a mutually respectful, loving relationship isn’t their goal.

For some it’s just the thrill of sexual conquest. For others it’s money. For another group it’s a new nationality (through marriage), and another it’s professional information (work or campaign related). For others it’s to lure into modern slavery or prostitution.

Why did the narcissist choose you?

Grooming usually feels good. Great even. If it didn’t the targets would walk away.

Our own research shows that around 80% of adult targets who know they were groomed were love bombed (made to feel really special about themselves).

Trust was established by sharing stories about themselves and their lives (73%) and by expressing views close to the target’s own views. Because they have researched and know their target’s public likes and activities, this isn’t too hard.

And whilst some groomers may ‘catfish’, the large majority of groomers check out on and off line – they use their own identity and simply omit a fact or two. This makes them incredibly hard to spot, and a high number hold positions of trust or volunteer in respectable roles.

However, most people sense that there is something not quite right. If, like me when I was groomed, you think you’ve just been watching too many movies, take a deep breath and listen to your doubts.

Most groomers don’t even know what grooming is. They think they’re unique. Challenging them is likely to result in excuses that make you feel like you’re in the wrong. Listen to your ‘spidey senses’. Ask yourself what you’d say to a friend in the same situation.

Groomers are hard to spot. Most have tried and failed many times before they get to you. So give yourself a break if they DO pick you. It’s because you’re shinier, richer, nicer, better located or just in the wrong place at the right time for them that they pick you. Hold on to that thought. You did nothing wrong, just drew the short straw.

Coping under lockdown

Notes from our counselling psychologist, Wendy Gregory.

How to avoid being groomed.

CAAGe is here for people who’ve been or are being groomed, and for those who care about them. Contact us.

Self Care: Pranic Healing, parts 4 &5

Despite having seen the results of Pranic Healing on Adrian, I was a little sceptical about energy healing at a distance. The geeky part of me wants to know why it works. The egotistical part of me wants to snap when he describes Reiki (which I used to practise and have recently dabbled with again) as last centuries technology. He talks of protocols, of not needing gifts. Yet there’s clearly something in it.

I think the best way for me to tell you about the final two sessions, where Adrian worked on my (from a distance, before you get saucy thoughts!), is to tell you what I texted him ‘the morning after’.)

Read about the first two sessions here: Self Care: Pranic Healing

Read about session three here: Self Care: Pranic Healing Third Session

Session 4, Monday 26 August

I knew Adrian was planning to do a healing, but he didn’t text before starting.

My WhatsApp:

Trust me, from where I’d been the day before emotionally, this was massive!

Session 5, Friday 30 August

This was my final session.

Again, I’m going to let my message to Adrian speak for itself!

In Conclusion

Pranic healing, especially at distance, has to be treated as complementary to other things we do, in my opinion,

Certainly I’ve heard anecdotes about cancer, but I’ve heard similar from Aloe Vera product sellers. I don’t want to play down the power of these things, even if it’s a placebo effect it’s worked for someone. But suggesting pranic as anything other than complementary seems to me to be irresponsible.

As a ‘heightener’ I suspect it would help make traditional medicines more efficient, if only for the more positive mental state that it creates.

I certainly got considerable benefit. It may have been the time to relax. It may have been the focus. It may have been the extra water. Or it may just be that there’s a little magic in here.

It certainly worked alittle magic on me. I’m not cured. I still have CPTSD, but I never asked Adrian to work on that. (And I have been able to laugh about my last ‘trigger’, which I will share in another blog because at the end of the day it was quite funny.)

Has Pranic changed my mindset? It seems to have. I do have some moments. I’m still workiing on me. But it certainly seems to have helped, to the point where I’m going to find out more, and maybe even learn to practise pranic healing myself.

Find sources of help and support for adult grooming: Life After Grooming

Contact the Campaign Against Adult Grooming: Contact us

Unravelling Marriage Fraud

Following our article on UK Marriage Fraud, I have talked with Kim Sow of Immigration Marriage Fraud Consultancy (IMFCO).

Kim has kindly shared a lot of contacts that will be useful for anyone groomed into a marriage for immigration purposes. I’ll make sure that all of these are added to our list of useful resources (Life After Grooming)

What has amazed me is the complexity of fraud marriages and the lengths people go to.

So, in an attempt to unravel and explain where this fits, the following is a summary, which will also help with some of the terminology. Note that this is topline only, and does not pretend to offer legal definitions.

Arranged Marriage: the bride and groom are chosen third parties, not the couple themselves. This will often be parents or professional matchmakers, and is often culturally driven. It is consensual, legal and very different from a forced marriage.

Forced Marriage is illegal across the UK, and applies to UK citizens’ marriages forced abroad as well as in the UK. It is where an individual is coerced into marriage, and it doesn’t need to be physical coercion – suggestions that not to marry will bring shame, or familial pressure, are also criminal.

Marriage Fraud is a type of romance scam. One partner is lured by a foreigner feigning romantic interest into marriage, usually to gain legal rights (such as citizenship) or money.

Sham Marriage (Fake Marriage) is a marriage entered into with no real intention to enter into a marital relationship – a marriage of convenience of convenience where people gain from the marriage – perhaps money or citizenship rights. (Note that definitions of sham marriages differ across countries/jurisdictions.) Sham marriages are illegal,,

Grooming?

Both forced marriage and arranged marriage are grooming if an individual or individuals formed a relationship with the express intention of tricking another into marriage.

Sham marriages include two people who consent to the arrangement and this is NOT grooming (although it’s usually illegal).

But marriage fraud is always grooming. One partner’s intent was unclear and the other would almost certainly not have consented to the relationship had they known its true purpose.

Change is Needed

As I learn more, my own thoughts on marriage fraud are refining.

There are issues around marriage legality and bigamy thrown up under sharia law. There are calls for a register, which CAAGe would back:

  • Marriage fraud should be treated as a criminal offence in line with sham marriages;
  • Foreign marriage fraudsters should be unable to claim money and assets from British citizens;
  • Foreign nationals should be deported in marriage fraud cases;
  • The Data Protection Act should be exempted in cases of marriage fraud;
  • The UK should seek international agreements with other countries to seize money and assets held overseas in marriage fraud cases;
  • The Home Office should have a specialist hotline fore reporting Fraud & illegal immigration.

Stay tuned to hear more as I discuss further ways forward with Kim.

Places to find help and support after grooming: Life after Grooming

If you’ve been groomed as an adult and would like to help us understand better, please participate in our (totally anonymous) ongoing survey: Adult Grooming Survey

Self Care: Pranic Healing Third Session

So today I had my third of four pranic healing sessions with pranic healer Adrian Worger

This session was a little different to the previous two and Adrian talked me through beforehand.

Up until now, Adrian had been working on the trauma and stress caused by grooming and what had followed. He had some questions, which I answered. He had spoken to his guides and they had decided that perhaps I needed to work on forgiveness and anger.

Catch up on the previous two sessions here

This was hard for me to hear. Channelling anger about groomers on behalf of myself and others into CAAGe helps me turn something negative into a positive, and my take on anger is that it’s an underrated emotion, that we bottle it way too much. Especially the English. Latin cultures let it all hang out, and they’re way more sociable.

But English I am, and I trust Adrian, so anger healing it was was to be. I would, he assured me, be able to come at CAAGe with a far better more balanced perspective if I let it go. Two thoughts came to mind:

  1. Ouch! My approach to CAAGe is angry and unbalanced? (Insecure? Me?)
  2. Anything I feel for my groomer, who at one point I believed I was truly a soul mate to, doesn’t feel like bitterness and need to forgive him. Have I buried it deep? Do I feel anything towards him at all any more? Other than calling on my own experience with him to help relate to others or deal with ongoing police things, I rarely give him a second thought.

But in for a penny….this session I lay on the bed. I didn’t record myself this session, just went with it.

Similarities with previous sessions were the first half on back feeling part conscious, the need to turn over half way through, a second half in which I feel half asleep but miraculously ‘wake up’ at the point Adrian finishes his session.

A difference this time was that my hands and feet, and definitely more pronounced in my feet, were burning. Not just warm, burning. The sort of sensation I sometimes feel if reiki-ing someone with a damaged limb.

Afterwards I again felt light and energetic (although the bathroom scales, sadly, refused to play ball!) That feeling has lasted into today, and it’s certainly a feeling that piles of anti-depressants haven’t achieved.

Three sessions in, I do feel calmer. I do feel happier. I do feel less worried. Whether that’s the pranic healing or the conversion of other factors, who knows? I can only relay my own experience and feelings.

Adrian describes the way that pranic healing works as follows: psychology will help you through the maze, pranic healing helps you break down the walls.

I expected Wendy, our counselling psychologist, to guide me away from alternative practises, for some reason. She always seems so grounded to me. Far from it.

“Sounds like you needed the healing session” she said when I spilled out a stressful tale of woe to her. As usual, I think she’s right!

Keep an eye on the CAAGe Twitter account or join us on Facebook.

Self Care: Pranic Healing

In the warm up to a focus on self care after grooming, I have been trying out pranic healing to see if it might be of help.

Yep, I know it sounds a bit ‘woo-woo’, out there, but I’m a somewhat lapsed Reiki practitioner and know, placebo or not, that the mind can do powerful things.

I came to pranic healing by accident. I was cat/house sitting and the owners asked if I would mind if Adrian Worger used their back room for a couple of nights. I’ve met Adrian, he’s a family friend and of course I wasn’t going to say no.  Three weeks in a house alone, I was delighted to have the company.

Adrian turned up, and gone was the nervy, edgy ‘gotta find a partner’ man I knew, replaced by a calmer Adrian with an inner glow.

Adrian has become a pranic healer after pranic healing worked for him.  So what is pranic healing?

According to the Pranic Healing Research Institute, “Pranic Healing is an energy “no-touch” healing system based on the fundamental principle that the body has the innate ability to heal itself. Pranic Healing utilizes “life force,” “energy,” or prana to accelerate the body’s inborn ability to heal itself.”

Adrian knows something of my story, being groomed by a complete shite on top of a whole load of other mini traumas. He persuaded me to give it a try. I was initially concerned – I suffer (less now than before) from cpstd and at one point last year was close to being suicidal as my world fell apart. I didn’t want those things dragged up carelessly in the way a counsellor with no understanding of grooming had.

First Session

The first healing session was odd. I was on the beach, so lying still for an hour was not going to look odd or unusual. However, would my phone hold out for the hour?

Didn’t need it.

Five minutes after a ‘we’re going to start in five minutes’ call, I lay flat on my back, hands upwards, nothing crossed, and waited for a call. When it didn’t come, I closed my eyes and focused on nothing. Over the next hour I had various sensations.

At the half hour point I had a series of really rapid ‘mini-nightmares’, of traumatic ‘things’ leaving my life.  An attractive but bad match (for me) suitor; the cats I fear I’ve been dumped with after agreeing to a short term fostering arrangement; my ex husband; and, of course, the groomer I thought I had pretty much consigned to history, along with others.

I felt the need to lie on my stomach half way through, and I did feel like someone was trying to release the tension in my shoulders.  But as Adrian hadn’t been able to call, or so I thought, I paid little attention. A good recuperative lie down in the sun by the sea would normally leave me wanting to sleep for the rest of the day, but I felt surprisingly energetic.

I felt bad (as in naughty!). I was wide awake and energised and after 50 minutes, itching to move, I got up and moved about. I couldn’t stay still any more.

But afterwards we talked – the healing session had happened. And I found a text on my phone from Adrian. The session had been shorter than usual – just 40 minutes.I have no idea whether what I was experiencing was down to the pranic healing. But I’d know what to expect the next time.

Second Session

Adrian waited patiently for me to extract myself from the meeting I was in and we started a little later than expected. For this session I lay out on my bed, in a cool, shady place.

The first half hour was again slightly awkward, with me initially wondering what was happening, if anything, and then taking notes of what I was experiencing. Warmth in different parts of my body, the feeling of releasing pressure in my shoulders, of tension increasing and releasing around my neck and throat area, and colours behind my eyes. Again at the half way spot I felt the need to turn over.

During both sessions I cried. This is unusual for me. I rarely cry on my own account. It felt like a release.

After both sessions I felt energised.

The day after the second healing I had a ‘cold’ which lasted just a couple of hours. It felt like getting rid of a load of ‘muck’. Was it anything to do with the healing? No idea, but I felt better, less stressed around the face and sinuses, once it was over.

Whether it’s the stopping and being mindful, whether it’s the time to focus or whether Adrian has mystical healing powers, remains to be seen. I have two more sessions to go and feel emotionally a whole lot lighter. My libido is returning – I hadn’t even realised it was low. I’m breathing easier and carrying less tension in my shoulders.

Given that there’s no touch, no reliving traumas, I can’t see how pranic healing can be harmful. If some of what I’m experiencing is down to the pranic healing, bring it on. If it’s just a placebo effect, I don’t care.

There have been uncomfortable moments, painful emotionally, but brief, manageable, and feel like a relief when released (although having ‘experienced’ what it would be like for the five cats to actually leave me I’m not now entirely sure I want them to go. Crazy cat lady beckons!)

Importantly for me at this stage of my own recovery journey was the following:

  • I didn’t have to articulate, again, the mishmash of events that were my grooming;
  • I didn’t have to share my personal pains and thoughts;
  • All I had to do was sit still for an hour.

I have two more sessions to come and promise to report back. And I’m hoping Adrian will share what he was doing at his end too!

In the meantime, if you’ve tried something that’s worked for you, please let us know in the comments below or contact us, and we’ll try it out and/or cover it here.

If you’ve been groomed, please considewr completing our research survey, which is totally anonymous: survey

UK Marriage Fraud

A few days ago I saw a documentary* on women who had been duped by foreigners into marriages. It hit me immediately. This is classic grooming: love bombing, often going as far as marriage, just to get their British passport or visa, or to scam money, then vanish.

I made contact with Michelle Nawar, founder of Stop UK Marriage Fraud, who has been campaigning for protection of UK citizens from marriage fraud. She has been campaigning since 2012 and is both knowledgeable and articulate.

Michelle has a wealth of knowledge and understanding and is happy to hear out anyone who has fallen foul of a marriage scam. Like most grooming, until you see it up close and personal it’s fairly hard to understand what happens.

I know when I met my groomer for the first time, I was silently laughing at myself for having feelings for someone I’d never actually met. Cranking that up a gear, if you’ve met them and are being groomed, go figure how you work that one out. Unless you’re hard-hearted enough to believe that love can’t exist across borders, across cultures, across ages (and there are thousands of ‘this works’ examples), it’s almost impossible to tell, especially if their families have apparently welcomed you into the fold and/or there are children involved.

In the year that I’ve been looking at grooming closely, few of the groomers have gone as far as marriage, but in this case, the goal of the grooming IS the marriage, as a passport (almost literally) to something else.

Michelle identifies the four primary motivators:

  1. Money;
  2. Visas;
  3. Sex;
  4. To avoid military service.

You’ll see below (related criminality) that the motives, if not the consequent actions, can be far more sinister.

Marriage Scam v Marriage Fraud

A marriage scam is where one party pays the other to marry them. The marriage is fake, and both parties are aware. It’s illegal in most places.

In a marriage fraud, only the fraudulent party is aware of the lack of sincerity, and the other partner is duped into believing it is real. IT’s not given the same treatment as marriage scams.

Michelle’s Experience

Michelle met , and was swept off her feet by Walid. She was welcomed into his family, and married him, bringing him to live in England with her where she supported him through a diving qualification.

Eventually he obtained a British passport and visa, and the following day left the marriage. He had what he had married for. What should have been a day of celebration was the day the truth unfurled.

He then went on to marry in his homeland. He retains rights as a British citizen and faces no repercussions for this blatant fraud.

Criminality

Like most grooming, it usually takes another kind of crime for this to be taken seriously.

In her time campaigning, Michelle has seen:

  • Violence: Murder or attempted murder, arson
  • Rape or domestic violence:  false allegations of rape and domestic violence made against the ‘Sponsor of the Foreign National’
  • Financial: Obtaining money by deception, fraud of financial institutions, benefit fraud, tax Evasion
  • Identity fraud: fake identities and false passports
  • Theft or handling of stolen goods
  • Bigamy
  • Drugs
  • Child abduction and child abuse
  • Organised crime: Support of terrorist groups, human trafficking, prostitution,honour killings
  • Corruption/attempted corruption of police and officials both overseas and in the UK
  • Blackmail
  • Cheating in English tests (ie sending somebody else whose English is better)

This has to be taken seriously.

Campaign Action

Michelle and UK Marriage Fraud are campaigning for various things, and CAAGe is happy to join them in campaigning for the following:

  • Marriage fraud should be treated as a criminal offence in line with sham marriages;
  • Foreign marriage fraudsters should be unable to claim money and assets from British citizens;
  • Foreign nationals should be deported in marriage fraud cases;
  • The Data Protection Act should be exempted in cases of marriage fraud;
  • The UK should seek international agreements with other countries to seize money and assets held overseas in marriage fraud cases;
  • The Home Office should have a specialist hotline fore reporting Fraud & illegal immigration.

We will look for practical ways to support these aims going forward.

CAAGe position

Although I bow to Michelle’s wider knowledge and understanding of marriage fraud, I personally feel unable to support anything targeted at specific ethnic groups, so our campaigning is less broad than the Stop UK Marriage Fraud ones. I hope she’l forgive me on this front.

However, our campaigning against grooming also extends beyond the UK. Although much of our campaigning is, by dint of location, UK focused, we are happy to help where we can with grooming in other countries. Notably, we are often approached by US citizens, and are happy to offer what help and advice we can.

We look forward to supporting Michelle’s anti-marriage fraud campaign going forward.

Victim Blaming

As an aside, I have rarely seen more victim blaming than in the case of marriage fraud. These women (and men) have been persuaded, often against their better judgement, by these grooming individuals and their complicit families and friends, that this relationship is genuine. They often end up with debt, the pain of a broken relationship, broken relationships with family…. and then the World wants to call them stupid.

We must inform people better about grooming. It works because it’s credible, insidious, creeping. Their targets got duped, but I’d stake my life that they’ve tried before, failed and refined their MO (modus operandi -way of operating). Let’s put the blame where it belongs: with the groomer, not their victim.

UK Marriage Visa: conditions

UK Marriage Fraud: Facebook page

Ways to get involved with CAAGe: Take action

If you’ve been the victim of marriage fraud, please help us by adding you experience anonymously to our survey: Survey into adult grooming

*Channel 5, Holiday Love Cheats

Photo by Lanty on Unsplash