The Long Game

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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One thought on “The Long Game

  1. Just a couple comments on points 1 and 3. I’ll start with 3 first.

    Yeah, you’re right, it’s generally the stupid ones who get caught, no matter which kind of predator. And the ones who finally get caught after getting away with it for years typically got complacent and sloppy. The truly dangerous ones are those who maintain a “good reputation in the community” through volunteerism and networking, then get themselves a position where they have authority (control) over their target demographic. Lots of evil people working with troubled youths, runaways, the mentally ill, addicts, and foster kids. Very little oversight as long as your background check is clean and you have references and credentials. And who will take the word of a “lying ingrate” over that of a benevolent director of a charitable institution? It generally isn’t until there are multiple serious allegations or an actual dead body that any sort of investigation begins.

    As for the “long game” predators for whom sex does not seem to be the payoff, some predators get off on manipulation. There is a very well known and once respected member of the local BDSM community who reminds me of this. I dated one of his exes and was friends with two others. They all had nearly identical stories. The man was charming, brilliant, funny, talented, and into all sorts of geek/nerd culture, which was what drew them in. But he was a master manipulator, and he used to get off on nonconsensual brainfucks. He would play insidious mindgames that took weeks or months to play out, making his victim doubt their own memories in hope of driving them insane. This is known as “gaslighting,” but he took it to a whole new level. That was what he enjoyed, and apparently the sole purpose for his seeking out relationships with women. And whenever someone called him on it, his status in the community protected him . . . until he pulled this shit on someone of equal status and similar intelligence, who started taking written notes and using a hidden digital recorder to verify what she remembered was accurate, because she DID doubt herself and it was unbearable to her. But she got the evidence she needed to prove he was doing this deliberately and methodically, and threw him out of her house and told her friends who told others. Still, it took a couple of years and a few more victims to come forward before his reputation was actually damaged to the point that people were blackballing and red flagging him. He was able to act with impunity before he was outed with solid evidence.

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