In tonight’s episode, viewers just saw Jacob tell abuser Maya that he loves her.
Fans will know that 15-year-old Jacob is being groomed by his dad’s girlfriend Maya Stepney.
He threatened to expose their secret if she didn’t leave him alone and with, Maya being a school teacher, she would lose her job and go to prison.
Maya fell from a chair trying to pack up her belongings planning to flee the village but slipped and hit her head. She ended up in hospital and when Jacob found out he rushed to the hospital to see her.
The teenager felt bad for threatening to expose the secret believing he was at fault for her accident.
He then went on to tell Maya that he loved her.
Barnardo’s has now explained why Jacob told Maya he loves her.
Two reasons why grooming victims may believe they love their abuser is guilt and shame.
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.
Chief Executive Javed Khan issued a statement, explaining: “When a young person is manipulated, controlled or forced to take part in a sexual act, that is sexual abuse. Even if the young person thinks it’s a consensual relationship, it is still abuse.
“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 themselves into dangerous situations that may be violent.
“Sadly, thousand of children and young people across the UK are being sexually abused every year.”
Representatives from Barnardo’s have been working alongside the ITV soap on the child abuse storyline.
Barnardo’s arranged for their researchers, story team and actors to meet experts and young men who have been supported by Barnardo’s called Better Future Cymru.
If you have been affected by this storyline, please visit Barnardo’s website.
Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays
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