Sunday, July 21, 2019

Understanding Community Grooming

“Sometimes we want to believe something so badly that we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of.”
― Aaron B. Powell, Doomsday Diaries III: Luke the Protector





Mary wanted to buy an expensive diamond necklace. Mary had two choices. She could go to the new store that had only been opened for a few weeks, or she could go to the store that Mr. Adams has owned and operated for the past 15 years.

Knowing that she doesn’t know much about diamonds, Mary felt more comfortable going to the store of Mr. Adams. After all, there is good reason why he has been running his shop as long as he has.

Mary found something she liked and she paid $15,000 for her gorgeous new diamond necklace.

After a few weeks, Mary decided that she should probably get this necklace insured. The insurance agent told Mary that she needed to get this piece appraised. Mary was shocked when she was told that not a single diamond on this necklace was real! They were all cubic zirconia!

Not wanting to believe this shocking news. Mary found another appraiser, one not affiliated with her insurance, who told her the same thing.

Filled with a combination of disappointment and anger, Mary went back to the jewelry store where she bought the necklace.

Mr. Adams denied that he sold her anything other that pure diamonds. When she showed him the appraisal and the necklace, he accused her of giving a different necklace to the appraiser.

Mary then started telling people that Mr. Adams conned her.

Mr. Adams sued Mary for slander.

Previous clients of Mr. Adams had their jewelry appraised and when the report came back that they had diamonds, they admonished Mary for trying to destroy Mr. Adams’ life.

Mary couldn’t prove that the necklace she had was the exact one that was sold to her by Mr. Adams and Mr. Adams’ 15 years of honest business was being used as proof that Mary was a liar.

Had this happened at the other store, the new store, Mary would be believed. However, this was an accusation against the store that has such a sterling reputation, thus it was ignored.

Why am I talking about a jewelry store?

Because the script is identical for those who sexually abuse a child.

If someone really wants to swindle someone and get away with it, they will spend time and years making sure that they develop a solid reputation. A reputation that cannot be destroyed by a single accusation.

Just like all those sales of real diamonds doesn’t prove that Mary is lying when she says she was sold a fake, other children saying that they weren’t abused by the accused doesn’t mean that the victim was not abused by the accused.

Just like victims get groomed, family and communities also get groomed.

Some abusers spend YEARS grooming not only their victims, but their families and the entire community as well. 

Sadly, the only way that Mary will be believed is if other people accuse the jeweler of similar tactics.

Sadly, in the current state of our community, victims will only be believed once more victims step forward.




Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.


To contact Yisroel about speaking at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at yisroel@ympicker.com

Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here
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Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Stages of Grooming


“No person is completely wicked, just as no person is perfect. We are all grey”

― Sweety Shinde





You’re either successful or you’re worthless. You’re smart or you’re stupid. You’re a writer or you’re an artist. Your life is wonderful or it’s terrible. Something is right or it’s wrong. These are examples of all-or-nothing type thinking (also called black-and-white thinking).

For example, a person suffering from all-or-nothing type thinking might struggle with a single question during a long job interview. Despite the interview only being 5% bad (only struggling on a single question), they will say the interview was a bad interview.


This is a negative thinking pattern that's common in people with panic disorder, depression, or other anxiety-related issues. It is also not all that uncommon amongst people without the previous mentioned issues.


Recently, I am noticing a new trend with all-or-nothing type thinking. In the past, all-or-nothing type thinking was used more by people judging themselves (e.g. I am a success/I am a failure). Now it is being used more as a way of people viewing both other individuals, and the world at large.


For example, Jessica knows that she disagrees with her Governor on the topics of traffic cameras, the death penalty and increasing minimum wage. Jessica now hears her Governor’s thoughts on fracking. Despite the fact that Jessica knows zero about fracking, she instinctively disagrees with him. In Jessica’s mind, the Governor is always wrong.

Jessica has “all-or-nothing”ed the Governor.


Example #2: Cooper is against any type of gun control. Cooper has recently discovered a radio show where the host shares Cooper’s beliefs against any government action infringing on the rights of gun owners. Cooper likes this radio host and starts believing every single thing the host opinionates, solely due to the fact that they share an identical belief when it comes to gun control.

Things don’t need to be black or white, most things are shades of gray.

One can agree with a Liberal on one issue and a Conservative on another issue.

Agreeing on one single issue doesn’t mean that one subscribes to all of their beliefs.

Groomers (those abusers who use a technique known as “grooming” as a way to get their victims) know about this “all-or-nothing” type thinking, and they exploit it for their advantage.


The first thing that groomers do is they try to give off the impression that they are righteous and upstanding individuals. They will volunteer their time and their money to assist those in need.

They do this so that community members will be like Cooper in the second example. Just as Cooper took this one shared belief and expanded it across the board, likewise communities often view groomers as “righteous and upstanding” due to their volunteerism, and expand it across the board (i.e. he can’t be an abuser, look how much of an upstanding individual he is!).

The second thing that groomers do is they attempt to select victims who will not get them, the abuser, into trouble. One way of doing this is by selecting a victim who lacks believability within the community. Just like Jessica in the first example immediately dismissed what the Governor had to say about fracking, the community will immediately dismiss what this victim has to say about their abuse and their abuser.

Couple the two examples together and you have yourself someone who has mastered the art of grooming.

There is another flaw within all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to abusers. People mistakenly believe that an abuser not abusing a specific child or children is proof that he hasn’t abused any other child. The fact that ten out of the eleven boys in the karate class insist that their teacher never abused them does not mean that the eleventh boy is automatically lying.

If we want to start believing victims and stop protecting abusers, one of the things we must do, on both an individual level as well as a communal one, is to stop this poisonous all-or-nothing type thinking.


Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.

To have Yisroel speak at your child safety event, or to discuss a personal issue, please email him at: yisroel@ympicker.com
Follow Yisroel on Facebook Here
Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here








Monday, June 17, 2019

Child Abusers and All-or-Nothing Thinking


“No person is completely wicked, just as no person is perfect. We are all grey”

― Sweety Shinde





You’re either successful or you’re worthless. You’re smart or you’re stupid. You’re a writer or you’re an artist. Your life is wonderful or it’s terrible. Something is right or it’s wrong. These are examples of all-or-nothing type thinking (also called black-and-white thinking).

For example, a person suffering from all-or-nothing type thinking might struggle with a single question during a long job interview. Despite the interview only being 5% bad (only struggling on a single question), they will say the interview was a bad interview.


This is a negative thinking pattern that's common in people with panic disorder, depression, or other anxiety-related issues. It is also not all that uncommon amongst people without the previous mentioned issues.


Recently, I am noticing a new trend with all-or-nothing type thinking. In the past, all-or-nothing type thinking was used more by people judging themselves (e.g. I am a success/I am a failure). Now it is being used more as a way of people viewing both other individuals, and the world at large.


For example, Jessica knows that she disagrees with her Governor on the topics of traffic cameras, the death penalty and increasing minimum wage. Jessica now hears her Governor’s thoughts on fracking. Despite the fact that Jessica knows zero about fracking, she instinctively disagrees with him. In Jessica’s mind, the Governor is always wrong.

Jessica has “all-or-nothing”ed the Governor.


Example #2: Cooper is against any type of gun control. Cooper has recently discovered a radio show where the host shares Cooper’s beliefs against any government action infringing on the rights of gun owners. Cooper likes this radio host and starts believing every single thing the host opinionates, solely due to the fact that they share an identical belief when it comes to gun control.

Things don’t need to be black or white, most things are shades of gray.

One can agree with a Liberal on one issue and a Conservative on another issue.

Agreeing on one single issue doesn’t mean that one subscribes to all of their beliefs.

Groomers (those abusers who use a technique known as “grooming” as a way to get their victims) know about this “all-or-nothing” type thinking, and they exploit it for their advantage.


The first thing that groomers do is they try to give off the impression that they are righteous and upstanding individuals. They will volunteer their time and their money to assist those in need.

They do this so that community members will be like Cooper in the second example. Just as Cooper took this one shared belief and expanded it across the board, likewise communities often view groomers as “righteous and upstanding” due to their volunteerism, and expand it across the board (i.e. he can’t be an abuser, look how much of an upstanding individual he is!).

The second thing that groomers do is they attempt to select victims who will not get them, the abuser, into trouble. One way of doing this is by selecting a victim who lacks believability within the community. Just like Jessica in the first example immediately dismissed what the Governor had to say about fracking, the community will immediately dismiss what this victim has to say about their abuse and their abuser.

Couple the two examples together and you have yourself someone who has mastered the art of grooming.

There is another flaw within all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to abusers. People mistakenly believe that an abuser not abusing a specific child or children is proof that he hasn’t abused any other child. The fact that ten out of the eleven boys in the karate class insist that their teacher never abused them does not mean that the eleventh boy is automatically lying.

If we want to start believing victims and stop protecting abusers, one of the things we must do, on both an individual level as well as a communal one, is to stop this poisonous all-or-nothing type thinking.


Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.

You can email Yisroel at yisroel@ympicker.com
Follow Yisroel on Facebook Here
Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here








Sunday, June 2, 2019

"Just Get Over It!"

There are life lessons to be seen everywhere, one just needs to have the right spectacles in order to properly see them.
-Unknown



The camp that I went to used to take us to a racquetball club on Fridays. This location had racquetball courts, basketball courts, aerobics classes and fitness equipment.

The last Friday that we went there, one of the campers got hurt on the treadmill. For reasons known only to him at the time, he set the treadmill to start at the fastest setting. Since he couldn’t start that quickly, he immediately fell, and his skin was damaged from landing face first on this fast moving treadmill. It took quite a bit until someone came and shut the machine for him.

Someone finally asked him why he started it on that setting. He replied “Last week I was on the treadmill for 45 minutes, and by the last five minutes, I was on that setting. I figured I would continue where I left off.”

This logic sounds so flawed when it comes to the treadmill, yet people try to apply this flawed logic to other areas as well.

One needs to build gradually in order to reach the level where they can run at the fastest speed. Starting at the fastest speed is a recipe for disaster.

You can’t start at your goal, you need to work towards your goal. Starting at your goal either means that your goal is too low, or that you won’t be able to successfully maintain your goal, due to the lack of buildup.

As foolish as this sounds when it comes to the treadmill, people do this all the time when it comes to dealing with trauma.

People tell others (or the victims try to tell themselves) that they “just need to get over it”.

If there were a pill that people who suffered from trauma (whether it be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, or any of the countless other traumas a person might have to deal with during their lifetime) that would help them “move on with their life”, trust me, they would take that pill.
Dealing with a trauma, any type of trauma is a process. No different than many of the other processes in life. There are many steps, and there is a basic order than one must go through.

Please don’t try to convince someone (or yourself if you have had trauma) that they can circumvent the process by cutting to the finish line to “acceptance”

If you want to help someone suffering, be empathetic, be a listening ear. Assist them in getting the help that fits their need. Connect them with resources that are available to someone in their situation.

Under no circumstances should you tell them that they need to move on. Trust me, they already know that they need to. They want to. 

Processes take time. Sometimes they take much more time than one would like.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety. 
You can email Yisroel at  yisroel@ympicker.com
Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hang Up, Call Again

“You can delegate authority, but not responsibility.” 
— Stephen W. Comiskey




HUCA

It is one of the first rules that one needs to know when self advocating a customer service issue.

Hang up, call again.

It means that you don’t need to just accept the answer you were given. You can try again and see if you have better luck with the next representative.

I remember my first HUCA. My laptop stopped working two weeks after its warranty expired. I called customer support and the agent condescendingly reminded me that it was a one year warranty and not a one year and two week warranty.

So I waited a bit and called back. The new agent checked with his supervisor and they decided they would still honor the warranty. Within two weeks I had a repaired and working laptop back in my possession at no cost.

Sometimes all it takes is to try again.

Sometimes speaking with one person is not sufficient. Sometimes a “victory” only happens after the second or third call.

There are so many stories of abuse where witnesses and people with suspicions forget that speaking with one person is not sufficient.

These people don’t “try again”.

Rather than a HUCA mentality, they employ a “pass the buck” (e.g. I told someone so I did what I was supposed to do) method.

Let me use the famous case of Jerry Sandusky to illustrate this point. (Taken from the case timeline on cnn.com)
1. 2000 - James Calhoun, a janitor at Penn State, tells his supervisor and another janitor that he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in the Lasch Building showers.
2. March 2, 2002 - Graduate Assistant Mike McQueary tells Coach Joe Paterno that on March 1, 2002, he witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the Lasch Building showers.
3. March 3, 2002 - Paterno reports the incident to Athletic Director Tim Curley.

In all of the above cases, the person with the information reports it ONLY to a higher up. None of these three ever go to the police.

It would take until 2009 for an investigation to begin, leading to an arrest in 2011.

If only the janitor kept telling people until one of them took appropriate action.
If only he just went to the police.
If only he went back to the police a second time if he felt the police were not following through after his initial visit.
If only Mike McQueary went straight to the police.
If he only spoke with activists and organizations who work in the area of child sexual abuse.

If only…

Instead this one told their supervisor and this one told their boss…

It ends up getting to a point where even if someone EVENTUALLY goes to the police, they have 5th or 6th hand testimony, which doesn’t assist them in opening a case.

The goal with reporting abuse should never be “do just enough to cover your own skin”, it should be “do what you can to protect ALL CHILDREN”.

In cases where police can intervene, the police should be brought in to intervene.

In cases where you are a third party and you see that there are red flags/suspicious behavior, but nothing yet illegal, let people know that there are red flags and previous suspicious behavior.

People as in plural.

People as in many.

Don’t just play hot potato with your information. Never give it to someone else and run away.

Make sure you are getting the desired outcome. Otherwise, hang up, call again.

One should never do more for a laptop than they do to protect children.



Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.  
You can email Yisroel at yisroel@ympicker.com
Follow Yisroel on LinkedIn here