Emmerdale – Barnardo’s explains why abused Jacob tells Maya that ‘he loves her’.

“When a young person is manipulated, controlled or forced into taking part in a sexual act, that is sexual abuse. Even if the young person thinks it’s a consensual relationship, it is still abuse.” – Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan

In 2017-18, Barnardo’s supported 3,300 children, young people, parents and carers, through their child sexual exploitation direct support services. So the body is in the perfect position to explain to ITV viewers the latest goings on with Jacob and Maya in Leeds produced saga Emmerdale.

Guilt and shame – these are two of the reasons why vulnerable and confused grooming victims might believe they love their abuser, Barnardo’s experts explain following the latest development in the teacher/pupil abuse storyline. In last Thursday’s (7th February) episode increasingly vulnerable Jacob, tells manipulative Maya that he loves her.

In the ITV Yorkshire produced soap, teacher Maya, (Louisa Clein) is in a relationship with David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden), but she has been seen kissing and grooming 15-year-old Jacob, (Joe-Warren Plant), David’s adopted son.

Maya has been using familiar grooming tactics, playing with Jacob’s affection for months, emotionally blackmailing her pupil to keep quiet about their illicit liaisons. When abusers befriend and groom a child, they create emotional ties whereby the child believes them to be their boyfriend or girlfriend and believes they are in a loving ‘relationship’ initially.

A bond is often formed and children will often experience extreme feelings of guilt and a desire to be loyal to the abuser who will try to sever or damage relationships with their family and friends to create a sense of ‘us and them’. Abusers will particularly draw on children’s feelings of loneliness, their need for care, and their desire to be loved. Children will feel shame and be made to feel they are to blame – that they led the person on.

To help Emmerdale tell the abuse storyline authentically, Barnardo’s arranged for their researchers, story team, actors Louisa, Matthew and Joe-Warren, to meet experts and young men who have experienced child sexual abuse and been supported by Barnardo’s.

“Vulnerable young people may think that their abuser is their friend, or even their boyfriend or girlfriend. But in reality they may force the young person to do things they don’t want to do. They can put them into dangerous situations and may even be violent. Sadly, thousands of children and young people across the UK are being sexually abused every year.” – Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, UTV and STV. An additional episode airs at 8pm on Thursdays.

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