(ed. note: Another in the long line of reviews from our English correspondent, and erstwhile bookworm. As always, if you’re interested in submitting your own review for the other readers, feel free to drop me an email. I couldn’t possibly find time to read all these books myself!)
The Seduction of Children by Christiane Sanderson is a reference book aimed at parents, teachers and others with a childcare angle to their life, with a mission to arm them with the knowledge that will better protect children from abuse.
It starts well by busting established myths on the subject and replacing them with the most recent research on the realities up to the book’s 2004 publication date.
It’s not an easy or fast read, especially not for survivors who may find themselves either unhappy about being identified in the list of symptoms and behaviours listed in later chapters. From my point of view, since it pointed to my past and issues which had already been processed through therapy it wasn’t overly upsetting to see it confirmed by at least one more professional.
What really detracts from the book is the repetition of certain points towards the end which end up as padding, we’re hardly likely to forget how many people are left to investigate from the UK’s largest anti-paedophile operation up to 2004, so why tell us twice, and underline the fact that it’s underfunded, three times? Twice the author states that she does not wish to demonise paedophiles, when the correct point to make is that she does not have to, society will do that for her. Repeating that point and the one about the community having to take as much responsibility for the perpetrators of abuse as the victims will also be an irritant to the survivor/client (or it was to me anyway). It ends with the call/wish for children to have the right to live in a world free from exploitation. On one hand after such a grueling read you understand Sanderson wanting to end the book on a more positive note, but a survivor will shrug their shoulders knowing their reality.
Preaching aside, the book is useful to read at least to see the kind of external view that might have been formed about you as a male survivor in this decade. Do what I did though and get this book out of the library, the same publisher has launched a book specifically regarding adult male survivors and that would probably be worth buying if you fall into that category. This book’s better for reminding you how far you’ve come or how much further you have to go if you’re in therapy at present. It will challenge you and it won’t be a flick-read, some you’ll identify and agree with, the rest will make you question your own views or plain irritate you, but give it a try for free from your library unless you have free access to it by working in education.