Learning about long-game sexual predators seems to have taken me far longer than it ought to have, and I’m still not sure I’ve got down anything beyond the very basics. As an ex-hitchhiker, I’m mostly used to the smash-and-grab approach to predation; understanding the long game has been a struggle.
The three main stumbling blocks have been:
- I needed to accept that some predators have the patience and motivation to play the long game, even when the final result doesn’t seem worth it to me. I mean, getting sex by illicit means is so damn easy (not saying that that’s a good thing, mind you, but we do live in a prey-rich environment). Getting sex by licit means ain’t that hard, either. So I found it hard to process that some people would put so much time and effort into ensnaring people. What I was failing to see was that for them the sex is almost immaterial – it’s the hunt that matters.
- I couldn’t understand nice people’s willingness to be blind to this sort of game. I ought to have known that, given that I’m the not-so-proud child of a parent who fought to have a pedophile teacher kept on staff. I thought that event was purely the sign that my mom’s got a bit of the brain missing, though. It completely escaped me that she didn’t achieve that on her own – that the decision involved many other people’s co-operation. A number of other experiences showed me that most self-labelled nice people seem to default to that sort of reaction. I don’t know what they’re hoping for – that if you ignore something long enough, it will go away? that evil only attacks if you make eye contact?
Personally, I’m too much of a coward not to stand up to dangerous stuff. I’m forever hunting the monsters under the bed not because I’m brave, but because I don’t like being scared of something. Without accepting that my reaction is abnormal, that most people would rather ignore nasty shit and live with it than face up to it, I couldn’t understand at all how the long game is played.
Organisations are no better, by the way. Partly this seems caused by the fact that they are composed of people, who can mess up as described above. Largely it just seems that most organisations, regardless of their stated purpose, are largely dedicated to their self-preservation. If ever a time comes that reveals the need for some internal cleansing, what you tend to get instead is a concerted effort to sweep everything under a rug. I’ve seen this happening in clubs, schools, charities, businesses, government offices… People are people, wherever they are.
- I underestimated the enemy. I failed to see that the predators we catch are the ones stupid enough to fuck up. The good ones know how not to overplay their hand, how to keep the game going just as long as they want to in any given environment.