Abusers find ways to get closer to child

The Marietta Times

By Sam Shawver
The Marietta Times

The sexual abuse of a child often begins innocently enough-perhaps with just a simple conversation, according to Helen McGrail, Belpre clinic director for Tri County Mental Health and Counseling Services.

The clinic provides counseling for child abuse victims.

“Initially it seems there’s nothing inappropriate going on,” she said. “The abuser makes a child feel special, maybe buying things for him or her long before the victimization begins. And children love attention.”

McGrail said abusers can be very patient, noting that some pedophiles will take weeks or months to gain a child’s confidence.

But she said the sexual abuse can start without the child being involved at all.

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