It’s can be difficult for young Black women to define a healthy relationship. Black love is the ultimate goal but predators camouflage their manipulative tactics to lure women. They easily make toxic behavior appear to be love. Grooming is exerting dominance over a younger victim to engage in a sexual relationship.

Generational trauma, gender roles and toxic masculinity foster an environment where abusers easily groom young women, Chase Cassine, Black licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist says.

Cassine states groomers deal with mental disorders like narcissism, PTSD, and sexual trauma. He also believes since Black women are often unprotected and marginalized, they are more easily preyed upon by groomers. Cassine notes we live in a patriarchal society where young women are vulnerable and prone to abuse. To avoid falling under the traps of grooming, here are four common signs to avoid being groomed.

Love Bombing

Photo credit: Any Lane

Older men will shower young victims with gifts and compliments, to lure women that may come from complicated broken homes. Cassine suggests setting boundries. There should never be unhealthy pressure in a relationship. Cassine says if a person pushes your standards then they are using “covert manipulation” to disregard your feelings. The term, “covert manipulation,” describes abusers hiding under false premises. Cassine says, some men in polyamorous and polygamous relationships groom women. He said abusers manipulate to avoid a consequence and gain a person’s trust.

Keeping Secrets

Predators will force younger victims to keep secrets to avoid any consequences.

“An adult having a relationship with a minor, saying ‘It’s a secret between us,’ that is definitely a red flag. That’s so inappropriate on all kinds of levels,” Cassine said.

Inappropriate Conversations

Photo credit: Viktoria Slowikowska

Abusers will talk inappropriately to gauge a reaction from victims. Abusers will force vulgar conversations pertaining to their failed marriage or sex life according to Cassine.

Photo credit: Ketut Subiyanto

Predators will use substance abuse to alter your consciousness. Cassine says abusers use substance to isolate the victim from their loved ones. Substance abuse is a common tactic abusers force on victims to establish manipulation and power.