When I was 17, a man in his forties befriended me. Because he was older than me, I listened to him, sort his advice when making decisions, and honestly considered him a good friend. Fast forward a few years later, he subtly led me into a relationship that turned abusive over the years. It took about five years for me to break out of the circle because I had been with him for a very long time. Being older now, I can see how he had groomed me and taken advantage of my naivety.
Last week, social media was buzzing with the topic of grooming. Grooming is the act of an older man or woman befriending a younger person in the hope that sometime down the line, they might have a sexual relationship with them. For example, a man in his mid-thirties can groom a 19-year-old girl. Some people argue that if the younger person is above 18, the age of consent, it is acceptable to be in a sexual relationship with a much older person. Fam, this is not true; it is not okay for several reasons.
At 18 or 19, we think we are smart and know everything about the world when we don’t even know ourselves completely. It takes getting older and having different experiences to get in touch with yourself and what you want to do with your life.
The huge age difference in a relationship creates a power imbalance, and we all know that where there is a power imbalance, abuse is not far away. When I was younger, that person I dated began to control me because he helped me pay my bills. He had financial power, and I did not. He used that power to his advantage and would disparage me at will. He would remind me that I bring nothing into the relationship, that I had nothing to offer anyone. Over time, I began to believe it too. Ah! Person have suffered in this life.
Have you ever asked yourself why some older men go for really young girls? Why do they not date women close to their age/their age mates? The excuse some of them give is that women get older faster because of childbirth (there’s no proof of this.) But if you listen closely to what they are really saying, men like that want a woman they can control, a woman who cannot challenge their decisions. So, while it is true young girls above 18 can give consent, I think it is morally wrong for an older person to prey on them. Or what do you ladies think?