Groomed is the intimate story of filmmaker Gwen van de Pas as she returns to her hometown in search of answers about the man who sexually abused her as a child and as she finally seeks justice after decades of silence. To understand the root of her ongoing traumas, Gwen travels across the United States to meet with other child abuse survivors, psychologists, and even a convicted sex offender. The film addresses a very common yet unknown type of psychological manipulation called “grooming”: how it holds survivors back from reporting abuse, how to recognize it, and—ultimately—how to stop it. What begins as an exploration into grooming becomes a dramatic journey where Gwen encounters unexpected revelations in her case, finally finds her anger, and boldly confronts the evil that has been a major part of her life.
Groomed is a story which is both small in its close portrayal of one woman’s journey, and large in shining a light on the extent of the problem and its call for change. In the U.S. alone, one in six women and one in thirty-three men have been victims of sexual assault, many before they reached the age of eighteen. And despite the recent rise of global attention on sexual abuse, there is a troubling lack of education on recognizing and preventing grooming. By understanding how grooming works, parents are better prepared to protect their children, survivors are better equipped to relieve themselves of their guilt, and perpetrators are more likely to be reported and face justice.
The film pre-screening will be followed by a discussion with director Gwen van de Pas as well as filmmaker and Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer Bill Guttentag. The discussion will be moderated by Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer and former assistant managing editor of The New York Times Glenn Kramon.
Free and open to the public.