The Unspoken


Knowingly useless words are caught in the back of your throat, in hopes that you will stop the soft opening of your quiet mouth before you may speak the truth. The truth is all we have left. Numbers, letters, and even the subtle use of sign language will not express what needs to be said. The things we never talk about are ordinary, yet seemingly shameful to the grown ups. You go on about how you’ve developed into a woman. How you’re “mature” for your age. The carton of cigarettes lie unopened on the passenger floorboard of your sedan. You deeply just want to try one, simply just a puff, and easily blow out the pressure only your wretched teenage lungs can handle. You can’t seem to repel against the tragedy of feeling like a burden. To all your peers, you feel indifferent and judgmental against your so-called kind. All day, every day, you wait for the moment in your life where you can say “I’m finally legal.” Or at least just enough to calm his worries. His fear as a man is to be called out for who he is. Your fear as a young woman is to be pitied as a victim of grooming. What is grooming? And why are there such lengthy labels for something so uncertain to strangers? You never had any doubts that this could be anything but love. Every expectation and ounce of your spirit was crushed by a man that could never be yours to begin with. You ask yourself: “If it’s not desire, or lust, then what can it be?” You watch as girls your age feel the passion and intimacy you desire so deeply. You don’t want to be soothed and comforted as if you didn’t take any part whatsoever.

Kate Elizabeth Russell once composed the quote in My Dark Vanessa: “This, I think, is the cost of telling, even in the guise of fiction. Once you do, it’s the only thing about you that anyone will ever care about. It defines you whether you want it to or not.”

Being a survivor of grooming is a complex topic that involves excessively more importance than what it is sought out for. Now, to restate the question: What is grooming? To answer, grooming is a manipulation tactic at best. Moreover, “grooming is a process of manipulation and trust-building that a perpetrator will use to create an atmosphere where they can exploit the child.” Typically speaking, grooming is not easy to spot right away. Often, it is very subtle and may go on for several months or years. Grooming can occur in friendships, relationships, and even family situations. This is why it is so essential to notice the warning signs:isolating, controlling, giving extravagant gifts, and purposefully making sure to gain the individual’s trust for the sole purpose of establishing sexual contact later on.

You are more than capable of being loved, but this does not mean that you need an older individual to provide the care you deserve. Please take a look at these resources provided below to give warning signs and insight on grooming: