The technical term for abusers grooming communities to be enablers is probably either 'grooming the environment' or 'environmental grooming'. In the quotes below this issue is explored in detail in relation to both children and adults. The processes, I'm sure, will be very similar whatever the abuse.
What's fascinating is the way in which abusers groom the environment to actually push the target towards the abuser. And with adults, abusers groom the environment into believing that the target is resilient and capable of looking after themselves.
Tanner and Brake
There is, however, another form of grooming which is equally important in many sexual assaults. This is the grooming directed towards individuals other than the actual victim. In many sexual assaults, the victim's environment must be groomed prior to, during, and after the assault to ensure continued access to the victim and minimize discovery or disclosure of the assault. The term "environmental grooming" will refer to the behavior focused on manipulating the perceptions of individuals in the victim's life.
Grooming The Environment
Grooming is commonly thought of as targeting only the victim of sexual assault. However, sex offenders often groom other individuals in the victim's environment as much as the victims themselves. The purpose of environmental grooming is to find victims, reduce the probability of being reported, and if reported, reduce the probability of the victim being believed. Finding victims involves establishing oneself in the victim's environment such that both the victim and the others in the victim's life see the association between the offender and the victim as positive and valued. In fact, successful environmental grooming results in the environment actually pushing the victim into association with the perpetrator. For example, establishing oneself as a skilled soccer coach in a community league will result in parents actively seeking to place their children under the offender's tutelage. Increased attention of the offender towards the victim will be viewed positively rather than with suspicion.
There are three primary goals in grooming the environment of an adult:
Affiliate - gaining access to potential victims by joining social circles
An offender has to gain access to potential adult victims. The easiest way to gain access is to affiliate with the victim’s environment. Joining social groups, feigning shared interests, and participating in group activities all serve to promote the offender as a part of the social network surrounding the adult victim.
Accept - get the environment to accept the offender
At the environmental level, acceptance means the offender manipulates perceptions so (s)he is accepted as an appropriate member of the social group. Feigning shared values, promoting group goals, and taking leadership roles are all examples of increasing acceptance. Ideally, the offender seeks to be seen as a valued individual within the group and a good “match” for the victim. The goal is to get the environment to support and approve of a relationship between the victim and the offender. Properly groomed environments actually push the victim toward the offender. Acceptance minimizes the chance the environment will raise difficult questions and serves to keep the victim in the relationship with the offender. Secondarily, in ongoing abuse situations, the offender manipulates the environment to accept the victim withdrawing from historical associations with the group.
Assure - generate disbelief of offending behavior within the environment.
A third goal of environmental grooming of adult victims is to assure ongoing access to the victim. This is generally accomplished by the offender generating disbelief within the environment that (s)he could be doing or would do anything harmful. Thus, the environment repeatedly supports the relationship, and thus, serves to diminish the ability of the victim to escape it or be believed.
With child abusers, we must be careful to guard against widening the net (suspecting well meaning, non-offending individuals). With adult victims it is somewhat different; we must guard against assuming victim resilience. The purpose of grooming an adult victim’s environment is to build a two fold belief:
•The offender is a great person or perfect match for the victim and cannot be seen as a threat or harmful.
•The victim, as an adult, would be capable of removing themselves from a harmful situation.
Within adult environments we rarely widen the net because we tend to see adults as capable of taking care of themselves and do not readily suspect abuse against an adult. Therefore, it is this second belief, the assumed resilience of the victim - the ability of the victim to remove themselves from harm - which we must guard against. The grooming of adult victims is designed to reduce resilience in victims and minimize their ability to remove themselves from harmful relationships. When victim grooming is combined with environmental grooming, it can lead to a false impression within the environment that the victim is a well functioning adult with the ability to make good decisions and protect themselves. In fact, decisions that are forced upon the victim will often appear to be voluntary to the environment. The problem with adult environmental grooming is not us seeing bad guys when they don’t exist (as with children victims), but rather us not seeing bad guys when they do exist because we assume the victim is resilient.
Offenders often systematically promote the impression of victim resilience. The attribution of victim strength is enhanced by the offender’s portrayal of the victim to the group as resilient. The offender then systematically increases the victim’s isolation from the group, while continuing to portray the victim as resilient. The decreasing contact between the victim and the group combined with the on-going messages of victim resilience by the offender, continues the environment’s assumption of victim resilience.
‘Exploring Sex Offender Grooming’ by Jim Tanner and Stephen Brake
Copyright 2013 by Jim Tanner and Stephen Brake. All rights reserved.
Kbsolutions (dot) com/Grooming.pdf