Grooming is not always between an adult and a child, although it is commonly portrayed as such. It is possible for a child to groom another child into sexual abuse, particularly if there is a significant age or developmental gap between them. Grooming is a process by which somoene gradually gains the trust of their intended victim, often by building a relationship with them or offering them special attention or gifts, and then uses that trust to manipulate and control the victim for sexual purposes. Grooming can happen in different contexts, such as in-person or online, and can target both children and adults.
The goal of grooming is to break down a person's boundaries and make them more vulnerable to abuse. The abuser may use various tactics, such as flattery, attention, gifts, or physical contact, to create a sense of trust and dependence in the person they are grooming. They may also try to isolate the person from their support systems, such as family or friends, and/or convince them that the abuse is normal or even desirable.
Child-on-child sexual abuse is a complex issue that can involve power imbalances, coercion, and manipulation. It can be really difficult to recognize and therefore is quite commonly processed in adulthood. If you believe you experienced grooming as a child, do not be afraid to reach out for support. You are not alone.