‘Groomer’: An empty slur, or based in reality?

By Jonathon Van Maren

There has been quite a bit of debate on the Right over the past few months about the use of the term “groomer.” A “groomer” is defined as someone who develops a relationship with a child for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and the term has been used by those fighting against the sexualization of children and sexual indoctrination in schools.

In response to LGBT activists dubbing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill — which prohibits teaching kids in the third grade and younger about sexuality — the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, parental rights advocates coined the phrase: “Ok, groomer.”

During one of their Backstage events, Daily Wire hosts Andrew Klavan, Matt Walsh, Ben Shapiro, Michael Knowles, and Jeremy Boering discussed the use of the term, with Walsh noting that he thinks the term applies literally to many of those pushing sexual ideologies in schools, while Shapiro stated that it is a rhetorically brilliant quip that should not be used literally.

Columnist (and gay rights activist) Andrew Sullivan and Douglas Murray also discussed the term during a conversation on Murray’s new book The War on the West, with Sullivan strongly objecting to its use.

Sullivan in particular has excoriated conservative activist Christopher Rufo on Twitter for mainstreaming the term, accusing him of smearing educators. Rufo has pushed back by posting a growing list of news stories exposing sexual abuse in public schools by teachers (although no specific evidence that these assaults are connected to the sexual indoctrination in question.)

Rufo recently told Fox News that the lack of research is appalling: “The public school system has a serious child sex abuse problem.” The last significant federal study on this topic, which was conducted by the Department of Education in 2004, suggested that millions of American schoolchildren are victims of teacher sexual misconduct in each generation of K-12 students—and there hasn’t been any significant research since then.

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