The “grooming” process is the term known for molesters gaining trust of their future victims. This might entail extra attention, gifts and/or innocent (albeit inappropriate) physical contact, such as a hug. By the time that behavior crosses the line, the athlete is already entangled in a relationship with the perpetrator and coming forward is difficult.
A number of factors make it difficult, attorney Jonathan Little says. “First, the victims often feel that somehow they may be at fault,” he says. In addition, by coming forward, victims must overcome any fears that no one will believe them, publicly admit what happened and face the perpetrator in court.
Experts say there are numerous warning signs exhibited by children who have been abused or molested. The majority of warning signs are emotional and difficult to detect. Physical warning signs are rare, but if observed they should be reported immediately. The following are some of the potential warning signs abused children may exhibit. The presence of any of these signs does not necessarily guarantee abuse, but should be taken seriously and the child should be closely monitored.
- Poor personal hygiene
- Depression or anxiety
- Distracted or distant at odd times
- Sudden changes in eating habits
- Sudden mood swings
- Depicts frightening or sexual images
- Exhibits adult-like sexual behavior
Emotional warning signs do not necessarily indicate maltreatment and may be attributed to another cause. Reporting child abuse can be difficult and uncomfortable, but failure to act can lead to tragedies. Remember that most children are unable to help themselves.
If you are ready to report sexual abuse, contact attorney Jonathan Little for a free consultation.