Jackson accusations 'align with child abuse patterns'

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Monday, 11 March 2019, 11:33AM
Michael Jackson had fame, power and loyal fans behind him. Photo / Getty Images

A child abuse expert says the allegations against Michael Jackson align with many predatory patterns.

An explosive documentary called Leaving Neverland, which detailed Michael Jackson's alleged child abuse, hit New Zealand screens last night.

It focuses on two men who say they were sexually abused by the King of Pop when they were children.

The film paints the King of Pop as a manipulative child abuser.

Dr Nadia Wager is a Reader in Forensic Psychology at the University of Huddersfield. She told Kerre McIvor Mornings a lot of young children who may have experienced sexual abuse have no idea that it's wrong.

"How would a child know what is wrong and right at that age? There are a lot of things we do to children as parents which they don't like. From making them eat Brussel Sprouts to not allowing them to have sweets before bed.

"It may just be another thing for young children which they don't particularly like, but many of them wouldn't know what to say. "

Wager says as parents, it's important to make sure you know what is going on in your children's lives and to have open and honest conversations with them.

"It's a big thing now to not encourage secrets. It's very easy to get into, to say 'it's our secret', we have to stop doing that. There is nothing wrong with surprises, but when you have secrets with kids, it's not a very healthy situation"

Contrary to popular belief, Wager says predators often aren't intimidating or frightening, they're actually very friendly to the children.

"They can be responsible for many good experiences, shared confidences, and boosted self-esteem which is all part of the grooming process."

The second part of the documentary Leaving Neverland screens in New Zealand tonight.

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