Signs & Tactics of Abusers

Strategies of a Sex Offender



One Sex Offender Strategy


The following offending story was used against Suzi.  It is a common strategy, with many variations.  It is NOT the only strategy used by the offenders in our midst,  but it is a darn good illustration of the fact that sexual offences are premeditated, predatory acts of manipulation, deceit, intimidation and careful planning.  They are not usually acts of sexual impulsively.  Understanding this will help you to know that you are not responsible for your victimization.  You were manipulated into a vulnerable position and your vulnerability was exploited.  You are without blame.


Step One:

Identify the potential victim. Assess vulnerability and opportunity.


The offender will identify the potential victim well before initiating a sexual offence.  Offenders use sexual fantasies and day dreams to rehearse possible offending scenarios.  When these fantasies are accompanied by masturbation, the inclination to proceed with the offence will be strengthened.

Few people realize they have been chosen as a potential victim during the beginning stage.  Personal appearance is not a factor in victim selection.  Appearing to be provocatively or seductively dressed is not the issue.  The potential victim is selected because she or he is seen by the offender as vulnerable, and because the offender sees an opportunity to offend without getting caught.  The problem exists with the offender, never the victim, NEVER!


Vulnerability and opportunity to offend are the main reasons for selecting the victim. Sexual offences are primarily a crime of power-- of domination.  The desire for control, power, and domination is the numero uno motivator.  Sexual gratification is a lesser consideration.   The sense of power comes not only from the violent act itself, but from the charge that comes from manipulating and controlling another human domination and power becomes linked with sexual gratification.


The vulnerability of the potential victim is evaluated by the offender.  The offender will consider whether the victim appears to be in dire need of attention, affection, acceptance, pr approval, to determine whether these needs can be exploited.  The offender will observe who is close to the potential victim, to evaluate the risk of getting caught or exposed.  Gullibility and naivete are considered.  Offenders will asses whether there is opportunity to safely isolate the potential victim and to commit a sexual offence, undisturbed.  It is a manipulative power-play, right from the beginning.

The fantasy life of the offender is the forum for offence planning.  The details are worked out, and contingency mentally and emotionally vulnerable.


Step Two:

Establish positive rapport with the potential victim.


Offenders aren't necessarily strangers who appear out  of the blue to commit the crime.  Many offenders know their victims socially, or are members of their family.  The opportunity for ongoing contact is already established in these instances.  Offender take advantage of opportunities to interact with the potential victim in order to assess vulnerability and to evaluate the opportunity to offend.


Some victims blame themselves for not realizing the con job that they were being subjected to: " I should have seen it coming.  I should have known better. " Have you blamed yourself in this manner?

Let's debate the thinking mistakes that are behind this self-blaming.  For starters,  it assumes that you have a level of ability to handle life, that borders on perfection and being able to read minds.  It also assumes an ability to know the future.  Is this reasonable?  It further assumes that you are responsible for someone else's actions.


It is not only  children who are taken to the cleaners by accomplished con artist, but teenagers and adults too.  The manipulative skills of the average sex offender are sophisticated.  Who among us cannot be conned?  You? Kick that thinking error around the block a few times until it leaves you alone.  You aren't responsible for the calculating, deviant maneuvers of a sophisticated con artist.  You do the best you can--just like the rest of us.  Armed with understanding, you will do better in the future.

Offenders using this strategy will flatters, pay special attention, and generally do what can be done to be seen as wonderful and attentive by the potential victim.  That is their objective during this stage of the offending strategy.


Step 3:

Test the victim.  The offender will now test the vulnerability and the defense responses of the potential victim.  At this stage,  actual victimization begins.


Sex offender may test victims with off-colour jokes, getting physically too close for comfort, by touching,  or by making suggestive remarks.  They may try intimidation, persuasion or guilt-tripping to get the victim to take risks or put themselves into vulnerable positions-- just to see how they will react.  Have another drink, Loosen up.  Don't be such a prude.  Your hurting my feelings.  The offender wants to find out how to control the victim, and to experiment with ascending stages of control.  Accidentally touching the victim's body is common- accidentally on purpose that is.  If confronted, there will be a ready excuse: I was just kidding. It was an accident.


When the victim does not stop the action, it is signal to progress.  If possible, the victim will be engaged in sexual foreplay.  This is seen by the offender as license to offend.  It can be mistakenly seen by the victim as cooperation in the criminal act that follows.  This leads to enormous guilt.  That's the con.  Many offenders manipulate a victim into sexual situations in which they are suddenly out of their depth.  Embarrassment and fear of rejection combine to ensure silence or ineffectual protest.  The offender is now in charge.


Step 4:

When the offender is assured of being able to control the victim,  the offence is simply a matter of isolating the victim. 


Here again, the victim may not even realize the danger, having been conned into a false sense of security, or being so fearful of rejection and embarrassment,  that danger signals are ignored.  Physical isolation is arranged in private, out of view places.  Any place that provides security for the offender.  Psychological isolation is arranged through the testing phase.  Many offenders are excellent at improvising.


Step 5:

Victimization takes many forms. 


Everyone handles these situations in the best way they can.  It is traumatic in every sense of the word.  It can be so traumatic that the victim goes into shock and cannot do anything but submit.  Some people mentally and emotionally retreat from the psychological and physical splitting.  Children will often use this kind of retreat from the horror of the moment.


Some people cooperate with their victimization- it is a means of survival, often misunderstood by themselves and others, to mean that they wanted the assault, or that victimization has not occurred.  It can leave the victim confused, uncertain and prone to shame and secrecy.  To make matters more difficult,  the relationship between the victim and the offender may be one of love and affection, as well as victimization.  Some children who have been sexually abused by a parent experience this love-fear-shame-hate confusion.  It makes for a secrecy-maintaining mental set.


Sexual victimization occurs when an offender has achieved a measure of psychological and phsical control.  The average person of any age is truly unprepared for this.  There is no such thing as a perfect way of handling it.  Whatever it was that you did to get through those horrifying moments-Good for you!



Ensure Secrecy.


An offender's biggest fear is of being exposed- of being caught and held accountable.  Threats, violence, and bribery may be used, but there are trickier methods too.


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