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What motivates sexual abusers? Why are so few caught?
Drawing on the stories of abusers, Anna C. Salter shows that sexual
predators use sophisticated deception techniques and rely on
misconceptions surrounding them to evade discovery. Arguing that even
the most knowledgeable among us can be fooled, Salter dispels the myths
about sexual predators and gives us the tools to protect our families
and ourselves.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders:

5

Feb 13, 2017

My ability to still keep faith with the human kind astonishes me. As its title suggests, this is a work about sex offenders of all kinds, be they psychopathic or not. Some of the interviews in this book are very graphic; it is not the description of what they've done that bothers me, but the attitude of the man or woman who did something to a child that I could never dream of doing. One of the interviews in this book is on Youtube: a good looking, smiley man with a slow Southern accent tells of My ability to still keep faith with the human kind astonishes me. As its title suggests, this is a work about sex offenders of all kinds, be they psychopathic or not. Some of the interviews in this book are very graphic; it is not the description of what they've done that bothers me, but the attitude of the man or woman who did something to a child that I could never dream of doing. One of the interviews in this book is on Youtube: a good looking, smiley man with a slow Southern accent tells of how he groomed a 12-month old, and molested her at 18 months, purely shaping her as a future sex mate for himself. He was her stepdad. If you watch the video, you'll hear Salter go: "groom her as a mate", as if even she was taken aback by the astonishing narcissism and certainty of that statement. What this book is very useful for is understanding that: 1) you have no chance of knowing who is and who isn't a sex offender, 2) you can differentiate against high-risk and low-risk situations, 3) you can take steps that will either minimize or bring your risk situation down to 0, 4) even if you do all of that, you might still get attacked (either as an adult, a teenager, or a child). It gives very, very important insight into typical sex offender behaviours and statistical data, as well as tips on how you can notice discrepancies in them by listening to their voice, watching their body language or even analyzing their life as a whole in order to make a risk assessment. I would recommend this to any woman (yes, ANY woman, especially those who believe their feminism entitles them to "not need a man" to walk them home at night, and even those who live in a bubble where they think nothing of the sort will ever happen to them), any man who wants to protect his loved ones and I would go as far as recommending it even to young readers, maybe as young as 11 or 12 (even though, even that might be too late...).

And, I'm sure, all the pedophiles and sex offenders out there with a little brain have read it. Don't panic, boys. Even if you know how we might spot or fight against you, you're still pieces of shit. ...more
4

May 01, 2014

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2018: I reread this after conversations surrounding Brett Kavanaugh and other sexual assault stories made me recall certain pieces of this book.

Overall this has has help up well and so has my review.

A few more things:

I very much appreciate her distinctions between sadists and psychopaths. This is an important piece and this distinction is not made at all, or is obscured, in typical media discussions of psychopathy.

The chapter on staff seduction is particularly illuminating UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2018: I reread this after conversations surrounding Brett Kavanaugh and other sexual assault stories made me recall certain pieces of this book.

Overall this has has help up well and so has my review.

A few more things:

I very much appreciate her distinctions between sadists and psychopaths. This is an important piece and this distinction is not made at all, or is obscured, in typical media discussions of psychopathy.

The chapter on staff seduction is particularly illuminating because it shows how charismatic these individuals can be, and who is vulnerable to their manipulation even AFTER these criminals are caught for very violent crimes (and their crimes are known).

What stood out as being weak to me after reading this time around was the parts on deception. She is quite right about humans being very bad at detecting deception. Her remarks on polygraphs, though, have not aged well. Polygraphs are junk science and more useful as an interrogation tool (the results she refers to in the book come from good interrogators who convince the subjects they are able to detect deception). She fails to mention how easy it is for psychopaths to beat the tests in her chapter on psychopathy, a very bad omission, in my opinion. She also discusses statement analysis which is not nearly as useful, we now know, than it seems from this book.

Her core point is that humans can't really tell when people who are practiced at lying are lying, which is completely true and is the real takeaway here. Verify everything, don't be pressured into making decisions, and don't take people at face value.

*********************

I bought this book over four years ago when I was involved at a place that helped immigrant victims of crime, and some of them were victims of the some of the types of predators described in the book. Exactly how that played out for me or what my role was, I won't go into publicly, for many reasons. Suffice to say, some information and background was certainly helpful. I read most of the chapters of the book at that time. Recently, remembering something that was written in it, I picked it up and read the chapters that I skipped when I first bought it.

This is, again, one of those books that can be helpful and informative, and yet is very, very, very difficult to read. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be if you have children. It's not for the faint of heart.

The book is divided by chapters that address some commonalities to predators (types of deception), and break down types of offenders, and then discusses certain common situations, trauma, and then, at the end, a section on detecting deception (which Dr. Salter is very bearish on, for good reason), and a section on what she calls "deflection".

The weakest section of the book, for me, is the last chapter on "deflection." In my opinion, she gave out some inadequate security advice, and this chapter would have been better left to be written by a true security professional. There was too much reliance on anecdotes. However, this was most obvious in the "low-risk" section of the deflection chapter. What she is correct on is the "high-risk" scenario, which essentially distills to: "be present with your children, pay attention to them, know what they're doing, and be involved in their activities". Good advice all around, predators notwithstanding. ...more
4

Aug 11, 2019

CW: descriptions of child sexual abuse and rape, grooming, sadism, and anything you can expect from sexually violent predators

I'm glad that I read this book, but it was a difficult one to get through. I've watched a few of her educational videos on Youtube and they're very, well, educational! Most of the material, i.e. interviews, in this book were taken directly from them. So, I was sitting there able to get a picture in my mind of the man who was talking. The book opens up with a 40-page long CW: descriptions of child sexual abuse and rape, grooming, sadism, and anything you can expect from sexually violent predators

I'm glad that I read this book, but it was a difficult one to get through. I've watched a few of her educational videos on Youtube and they're very, well, educational! Most of the material, i.e. interviews, in this book were taken directly from them. So, I was sitting there able to get a picture in my mind of the man who was talking. The book opens up with a 40-page long chapter that spends most of its time refuting people who have said over the years, and recently, that child sex abuse isn't abuse. It's normal and not harmful to the child.

It's sad that she has to open it up like that, isn't it?

From there, it goes into how they use deception, child molesters, rapists, psychopaths, sadists, and how to stop these people in their tracks. The focus of this book is definitely on child sexual abuse. I read this because I thought it would be good for my personal knowledge with my career. I never know when I'll run into a sexually violent predator for a client (not a population I want to work with, but one I might have walk in) or someone who was sexually abused.

This is a very good book and is written by someone who has dedicated her life to this field. But it was just hard to get through, both on an emotional and literal level. It's very dense and things blended together at the end. ...more
5

Nov 06, 2009

Here is an excerpt from the foreword of this book (written by Gavin de Becker):

~*~

I'm beginning this Foreword as I will close it: Thank you, Anna Salter, for casting your authoritative light on sexual abuse while most people find it easier to look away or even deny that it exists. It is easier for most parents to wring their hands about the unknown molester who might wander into the neighbourhood, than to accept that someone who they invited into the house is sexually abusing their child - even Here is an excerpt from the foreword of this book (written by Gavin de Becker):

~*~

I'm beginning this Foreword as I will close it: Thank you, Anna Salter, for casting your authoritative light on sexual abuse while most people find it easier to look away or even deny that it exists. It is easier for most parents to wring their hands about the unknown molester who might wander into the neighbourhood, than to accept that someone who they invited into the house is sexually abusing their child - even though the majority of sexual abuse is committed by someone the family knows.

Hard as it is to accept the idea that a well-liked neighbour or family friend might be sexually abusing a child, imagine the idea that it's someone in your own family. It's easy to replace that unwelcome thought with a warmer one like, "Not in this family."

And yet one in three girls and one in six boys will have sexual contact with an adult, so it must be occurring in someone's family...

If a discussion requires exploration of harsh truths some parents will try to wriggle away: "Talking about those things, you just bring them on," or "Yes, I know all about that stuff; can we please change to a happier subject?" Under pressure, though, they will ultimately acknowledge the risks, realising that appearing to know is often the best defence against unwanted knowledge. These parents are not stupid - to the contrary, there is brilliance in the creative ways that they exclude their children from the discussion. "You're so right," they say: "Sexual abuse is an enormous problem, particularly for young teens. Thank God mine aren't there yet."

No, sorry, says reality, the most common age at which sexual abuse begins is three.

"Well sure, if you have homosexuals around small children, there's a risk."

No, sorry, says reality, most sexual abuse is committed by heterosexual males.

"Yeah, but that kind of pervert isn't living in our neighbourhood."

Sorry, says reality, but that kind of pervert IS living in your neighbourhood. The Department of Justice estimates that on average, there is one child molester per square mile in the United States.

"Well, at least the police know who these people are."

Not likely, says reality, since the average child molester victimises between 50 and 150 children before he is ever arrested (and many more after he is arrested).

When all defenses against reality are taken away, some parents switch to resignation, literally resigning from responsibility: "Well, there's nothing you can do about it anyway." This misplaced fatalism actually becomes fatal for some children.

Another common refrain uttered by deniers of the dangers of sexual abuse is: "Well, kids are resilient. When bad things happen, they bounce back."

Absolutely not, says reality. Children do not bounce back. They adjust, they conceal, they repress, and sometimes they accept and move on, but they don't bounce back.

~*~

I've never made it a secret that I had a pretty god-awful childhood in some respects (and in other ways, I consider myself as having been quite fortunate). I have a wonderful psychologist who I knew previously in another capacity, who is now helping me through some of the worst stuff I've ever had to deal with. He recommended the above book to me. He specialises in paedophiles and their victims, and said that while he wouldn't necessarily recommend every survivor of sexual assault to read such books, he felt that knowing me as he does, this book would be of great help to me - especially regarding my constant questions of, "But why?". He was right.

The author, Anna Salter, is a psychologist who also specialises in paedophiles and their victims, and has written this amazing book that will let you get inside the minds of the scum of society. She includes excerpts of interviews with such predators, illustrating just what they really are - as opposed to what they would have us see and think they are.

Who would have thought that a 272-page book could have such a profound impact on me? I certainly didn't. Reading this book would have to be up there on the list of the "Best Ten Things I Ever Did During my Life". In the time it took me to read this book, I made progress I doubt I could have otherwise made, and certainly had never made in the decades following a year's worth of sexual abuse perpetrated against me by a neighbour, from the ages of four to five. Any guilt that I may have experienced lifted and vanished as the truth of these vile creatures was laid out in front of me - often in paedophiles' own words.

Now, I have known forever that it is NEVER the child's fault, and on a rational level I never believed myself to be responsible. But due to the things that this person did, and the things that he said, on an emotional level there's long been a question lingering in the back of my mind. However, after reading Salter's book, there are no such questions anymore. I liken this experience to a child believing that Santa Claus didn't visit because she was naughty - and then the realisation dawns that no, Santa Claus didn't visit because Santa was NEVER who and what she believed him to be to begin with. The stunned shock, the relief that her suspicions had been right all along - there never really was a magic man that got all the way around the world in one night - and then the anger at the deception. Why? Why would someone do that? And then the utter relief that there was NOTHING she could have said or done to make Santa visit or not, because Santa was a sham. Ditto for paedophiles. These parasites prey on those that have no protection and little (if any) defence. Their victims are chosen with patience and care. They groom children - and the families of these children - over time, to develop trust, test boundaries, and find out whether a selected child is a suitable target. As Salter points out in her book, people constantly make the mistake of confusing "nice" with "trustworthy". ANYONE can be "nice" for as long as necessary, in order to get what they want. "Well, he seemed nice enough" or "But she was so nice!" are the sorts of things many people say when they discover the crime and deception. Of COURSE they were nice. Do you think you'd let your child be alone with them if they WEREN'T?!

My mother (like the parents of many victims of childhood sexual assault) has blamed herself for what happened to me - she has told herself that she should have known; she shouldn't have let me visit to play with the offender's son, she should have done something, she should-- Forget it. Seriously. As I have said to my mother countless times: In no way do I, or have I ever, held her responsible. If she HAD known, it wouldn't have happened, would it? If he were going to do it in front of her, she could have stopped it. It's the offender's fault, not hers. If a person walks through the bush and doesn't see a snake and gets bitten, it's not that person's fault. Snakes do what snakes do. Does that mean you'll never walk through the bush? Likewise, predators do what they do, and it's not the child's fault, or the fault of the parents (if they didn't know and weren't told). Does that mean that you'll never let your child out of the house?

This reminds me of a story I read as a child.

A tiger and a snake happened to bump into each other at a river. They both needed to get to the other side.

"Oh Tiger," said the snake, "I can't get across the river. Would you be so kind as to let me ride on your back to the other side?"

"No way!" said the tiger. "You're a snake. How do I know you won't bite me?"

"Well," replied the snake, "If I bite you, both of us will drown. What good would that do me? Trust me. I won't bite you - I promise."

The tiger didn't like the idea, but thought that the snake's point was logical. He reluctantly let the snake slither onto his back, and they set across the river together. Just as they reached the other side, the snake lunged forward and bit the tiger. The tiger screamed in pain. "You promised you wouldn't bite me! Why did you do that?!" he cried.

The snake stared unfeelingly at his dying victim. "I'm a snake," said the snake - and he slithered away.

Moral of the story:
Some people simply aren't trustworthy. Paedophiles are paedohpiles. They abuse children. It's what they do. Is it worth the risk, no matter how logical it seems to think you can trust them?

Trust your gut. Your instinct is there for a reason.

Salter's book has given me a type of freedom I've never known before. The insights PREDATORS offer are priceless. My only word of caution is that there is a chapter on sadists. Approach with caution, especially if you are going to let a minor or someone who's fragile, read it. Other than that, this book will show you how sex offenders operate, what to look for, and the few things you can do to help keep your kids safe. Learn how to spot a snake. I shouldn't have to tell you that it's worth it. ...more
5

Dec 24, 2015

Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders
Anna C. Salter, PhD

This is a very good mix of theory, data, psychology, and first person narrative.

But the subject is a slippery one. For those who just want the bottom line, the bottom line will not help. One has to get rid of all the mental garbage that gets in the way of understanding. Then understand a new reality. Then, maybe, the bottom line is for you.

Notes while reading:

0. Forward by Gavin de Becker


If a discussion requires Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders
Anna C. Salter, PhD

This is a very good mix of theory, data, psychology, and first person narrative.

But the subject is a slippery one. For those who just want the bottom line, the bottom line will not help. One has to get rid of all the mental garbage that gets in the way of understanding. Then understand a new reality. Then, maybe, the bottom line is for you.

Notes while reading:

0. Forward by Gavin de Becker


If a discussion requires exploration of harsh truths some parents will try to wriggle away.
"Talking about these things, you just bring them on," or
"Yes, I know about all that stuff; can we please change to a happier subject?"
[...]
"Sexual abuse is an enormous problem, particularly for young teens. Thank God mine aren't there yet."
No, sorry, says reality, the most common age at which sexual abuse begins is three.
"Well, sure, if you have homosexuals around small children, there's a risk."
No, sorry, says reality, most sexual abuse is committed by heterosexual males.
"Yeah, but that kind of pervert isn't living in our neighborhood."
Sorry, says reality, but that kind of pervert is living in your neighborhood.
The Department of Justice estimates that on average, there is one child molester per square mile in the United States.
"Well, at least the police know who these people are."
Not likely, say reality, since the average child molester victimizes between 50 and 150 children before he is ever arrested (and many more after he is arrested).
[...]
"Well, there's nothing you can do about it anyway."
[...]
"Well, kids are resilient. When bad things happen, they bounce back."
Absolutely not, says reality. Children do not bounce back. They adjust, they conceal, they repress, and sometimes they accept and move on, but they don't bounce back.


page ix-x

0. Introduction

- under-reporting
- "Sex offenders only very rarely sneak into a house in the middle of the night. More often they come through the front door in the day, as friends and neighbors, as Boy Scout leaders, priests, principals, teachers, doctors and coaches."

1. The Problem

- One survey result: 232 molesters attempted 55,000 attempts, clamed 38,000 incidents, on more then 17,000 victims.
- Another survey: 561 offenders, more then 291,000 offenses, more then 195,000 victims.

2. Deception

- People just do not believe it is happening.
- He is so nice and considerate, he couldn't be a molester.
- Respected member of our society/church/group/...
- The child is not believed, even with creditable accounts.

3. Techniques of Deception

- The double life. Straight, nice, talented, religious vs. a molester.
- Deceptions one on one.
-- look a person in the eye when lying.
-- have an element of truth in your lies.
-- setup a pattern that supports the molestation. eg: repeated visits might suggest an existing affair when none exists.
-- groom the family, groom the kid. Be their good friend.

4. Child Molesters


"... it is a misconception that child molesters are somehow different from the rest of us, outside their proclivities to molest. They can be loyal friends, good employees, and responsible members of the community in other ways."

"People often confuse issues of traits of character with issues of sexual orientation or the type of sexual interest an individual has."


- The author refutes early theories of "blame the victim" and no harm.
- Are molesters caused by being molested at an early age? The author points out that molesters will lie, if it benefits themselves. Also, it is satisfying to establish a cause-effect relationship. So, not likely, but not proven.
- "... this problem had a persistence and a compulsiveness that few outside the drug addition world could appreciate."

5. Rapists

- Opportunistic
- Compulsive
- Distorted thinking
- The fantasy and the act

6. Sadists

- Feed off the pain of others.
- Like a drug; must increase the intensity.

7. Psychopaths: Fooling People for the Thrill of It

- Predators, but not necessarily sexual predators.
- "If violence was all, psychopaths would simply be thugs."
- "... they have personality traits which allow them to manipulate people pretty much with impunity."
- generally likable.
- "... their lying and manipulation are just to difficult to detect."
- An Old Problem: the author details Alcibiades, 400 BCE, as an early example.
- the author also describes how a present day psychopath is able to con others from a prison cell.

8. Staff Seductions

- Manipulation of prison staff by inmates.
- Obtain information about staff. Often verbally.
- Overhear staff conversations.
- Behavioral observations.
- Target selection.
- Tactics of seduction: the role of reciprocity.
- The demand and the lever.

9. Rose-Colored Glasses and Trauma

- Self-Regard: The average person is better than the average person.
- Having too few doubts.
- Personal control over events.
- The world is a pretty nifty place.
-- Table 9.1, Lifetime Exposure to Trauma in Four U.S. Cities
-- versus estimates by individuals
-- big difference
- A just world.
-- Is it really just?
-- What about randomness?
-- and badness?
- Impact of positive illusions on mental and physical health.
-- Often helpful.
- The Impact of trauma.
-- several examples:
-- Jonathan was sexually abused at a day-care facility.
-- His world view was majorly affected. He expected bad things to happen to him, and that he would die young.
-- Chowchilla, California school bus capture:
The behavior of the kids was a clue to what was little understood in 1976, that trauma that did not leave physical scars could leave emotional ones that would prove longer lasting and harder to heal.
-- One researcher described the result as massive interferences with optimism and trust.
-- Life after trauma ... is not just different emotionally, it is different cognitively.
-- ... documented systematic changes in the victim's sense of how meaningful, orderly, and predictable the world is.

10. Detecting Deception

- There are no checklists we can use to spot a predator.
- We need to understand our illusions, some are healthy, some are OK in general but not in specific.
- eg: most people are good. But, is _this_ person good?
- Detection
-- What doesn't work: gaze aversion and fidgeting
-- "All liars ... respond in some way to a consideration of the stakes and are also affected by their confidence level."
-- "... the response that conventional wisdom tells us to expect - shame, guilt, nervousness - will not necessarily be there."
-- Detection apprehension may be high or low. Practice and success will improve a predators method and decrease apprehension.
- Emotional Leakage
-- There are no signs of deception, just of emotional leakage, and these are subtle.
-- Facial Expressions
--- Micro expressions
--- Squelched expressions
--- Automatic expressions
--- Smiles
--- Asymmetry
--- Timing
--- All the above are difficult to catch 'live'; more easily spotted on video.
-- Illustrators, ie, talking with one's hands.
--- Must have a baseline, then look for less or more usage.
-- Emblems, self-explanatory, do not require words, are consciously made.
--- examples: thumbs up, hitch-hiking, "the finger".
-- Voice characteristics
--- not words
--- pitch, rhythm, stumbling over words, repeating, ...
--- variations within population can be misleading.
--- Ekman study: combo of voice measures and facial analysis gave best results for detecting deception.
--- But, need video analysis, not live session.
-- Words
--- Evasive answers
--- Disharmony
- bottom line: detection is not good enough, even by experts; and the average person is not an expert.

11. Protecting Our Children and Ourselves: Deflecting Sex Offenders
- pay attention to probabilities and avoid high-risk situations.
-- high risk: a man who works with kids, the kids are often of the same age and sex, he has no adult love interest, offers gifts, has overnights.
--- monitor sports practices. a pedophile will focus on someone else.
--- pedophiles go where the opportunity exists: sports, religion, education, male choirs, ...
--- Dating
---- How much does one really know about another? Has all that info been supplied by the other one.
---- Have a third person there initially.
-- low risk: avoid 'low risk' and 'no reward' situations.
--- eg: a photo of your child on your desk at work.
-- carry a mobile phone.
-- have deadbolt locks
-- maybe a dog
...more
5

Nov 21, 2013

Anna Salter is a very good, engaging author with terrifically graphic descriptions of how these people think, react, and plan. While this is an upsetting book to read, it should be required reading if you work with children. For parents, the best part of the book is the last 20 pages. While detecting lies and dangerous people is extremely difficult and chancy, deflecting abusers from your children sounds relatively easy. First, be involved in your child's life--know the coaches, go to your kids' Anna Salter is a very good, engaging author with terrifically graphic descriptions of how these people think, react, and plan. While this is an upsetting book to read, it should be required reading if you work with children. For parents, the best part of the book is the last 20 pages. While detecting lies and dangerous people is extremely difficult and chancy, deflecting abusers from your children sounds relatively easy. First, be involved in your child's life--know the coaches, go to your kids' games and practices, be a chaperon on overnights, watch their online accounts, etc. Keep your kids close and know that anyone in a high risk group--those that work with kids, have no adult love interests, and are focused on your child--could be a predator. Second, develop safety plans/habits that make you aware--alarms, no walking at night, closing your curtains, etc. Third, don't display your child for outsiders. No pictures in the workplace, no personal details on Facebook, Google or Twitter. Fourth, talk about internet, stranger, and family safety. Sometimes Uncle Bilbo makes your stomach feel uneasy. This is something you should pay attention to.

I've gone one further and my family is in self defense classes. While this doesn't protect them from all harm, it at least gets us talking about safety. Good luck to you and your family. But don't think you are immune to predators. They are out there and no one, not even experts, can tell who they are. ...more
5

Jun 02, 2014

This book had a lot of new information in it. I know we all hear about these things in the news, but how much do we really know? Is it enough to keep you safe? This book answers those questions.

It starts with information on the offenders and how they got away with it for so long, and how they finally got caught. The scary part is how long most of them got away with it. And how many people they victimized before they were locked up.

At the end of the book is information on how to spot someone who This book had a lot of new information in it. I know we all hear about these things in the news, but how much do we really know? Is it enough to keep you safe? This book answers those questions.

It starts with information on the offenders and how they got away with it for so long, and how they finally got caught. The scary part is how long most of them got away with it. And how many people they victimized before they were locked up.

At the end of the book is information on how to spot someone who would take advantage of you, or your kids. This is so helpful. Because some of these people do not think anything like what we would consider normal, and if they think a different way then the things you look for to spot a normal lier are not going to help you with them. ...more
3

Dec 04, 2009

While I don't think many mothers would add this to their list of light reading - I SUGGEST YOU DO! There is no better defense than a good offense and knowing how to protect yourself and your children is so important. While I know this book may not sound like the greatest thing to read, I think it's more important than a lot of other books. Please at least just consider it. It's a quick read filled with lots of information, examples and ways to protect your children...just read it.
5

Jan 10, 2013

Don't make this the first book you read on this subject. It's a realistic look at predators--not quite as brutal as I, Monster, but close enough to warrant caution. Nevertheless, it should be on the shelves of anyone who has been harmed by a predator.

The chapter titled "Rose Colored Glasses and Trauma" could be invaluable to victims, family and counselors.

Anna C. Salter has written a wise and useful book.
2

Aug 29, 2009

Read this for work. Nothing too enlightening here. Predators are everywhere, but most likely will be someone you know, sex abuse screws up kids, yahdayahda... written from an extremely alarmist perspective.
5

Dec 14, 2017

This book is unspeakably important. I cannot overemphasize how valuable this work is. Dr. Salter presents her analysis clearly and brilliantly, and she's a great writer to boot, which helps make the subject matter more digestible (though -- warning! -- you will most likely find this read deeply upsetting, and I myself wonder if I could still have read this book if I had children). There's just not more to say except that this is information everyone should know. The difficulty many have in This book is unspeakably important. I cannot overemphasize how valuable this work is. Dr. Salter presents her analysis clearly and brilliantly, and she's a great writer to boot, which helps make the subject matter more digestible (though -- warning! -- you will most likely find this read deeply upsetting, and I myself wonder if I could still have read this book if I had children). There's just not more to say except that this is information everyone should know. The difficulty many have in accepting Salter's plain truths just serves to show why it's critically important we understand, and know that we are our own worst enemies when it comes to identifying and dealing with sexual predators. ...more
4

Mar 07, 2019

Predators is an eye-opening book by clinical psychologist Anna Salter, focused on sexual abuse (of mostly minors) in the US. 38% of young women and 9-16% of young men mention they experienced some sort of abuse during their lifetime in victim surveys. Needless to say, these rates are extremely high. According to Salter these (incredulously high) sexual crimes are committed by a small minority of very active sexual offenders (pedophiles, rapists, sadists, psychopaths, etc.) who make many victims. Predators is an eye-opening book by clinical psychologist Anna Salter, focused on sexual abuse (of mostly minors) in the US. 38% of young women and 9-16% of young men mention they experienced some sort of abuse during their lifetime in victim surveys. Needless to say, these rates are extremely high. According to Salter these (incredulously high) sexual crimes are committed by a small minority of very active sexual offenders (pedophiles, rapists, sadists, psychopaths, etc.) who make many victims. One cause is a naive general public who often tend not to believe victims and wrongfully trust charming and seemingly nice people. Another cause: many victims never admit being abused and blame themselves. The self-blame serves a disturbing self-deceptive function to the victim: if they could have prevented the crime by behaving differently to the attacker, the crime might not have happened. It’s an illusion of control: if you think you could have prevented abuse, the world might be a safe place after all.

Salter also discusses different kinds of predators and describes their crimes in detail. This stuff isn’t for the faint of heart, especially the sadist part; this is a straight up plea for the death penalty, if you ask me. Abuse isn’t like a broken arm, either, it sticks. You can never become un-abused. While many children move on after abuse, they are scarred. They tend to not (or ever) feel safe again; they often take drugs or alcohol to cope; and in significant difference from non-abused children, go on to be abusers themselves. Very sad. While the abuse is horrific by itself, trauma increases when children are disbelieved when they disclose abuse. The reasons for this vary, but predators tend to have good public standing – they only show their true self to the children. Predators are over-represented among caregivers, gym coaches, Catholic preachers, Boy Scout leaders and other people who work with vulnerable children. This is not an accident: predators seek out weak prey. Weak meaning easy, unsupervised, vulnerable.

In the latter part of the book Salter gives a lot of practical advice to decrease risk of abuse. Don’t let your kids surf the internet unsupervised; keep a cellphone in your bedroom and your car; have a security system in your house; get a dog; switch locks when your keys are missing; don’t let your children be alone at stuff like soccer practice or piano lessons; distrust charming/nice single men who like to work with children in general, etc., etc. Thus: children of single mothers who let their children go on camps/places unsupervised and don’t object to grooming (e.g. giving presents) are at highest risk of an attack. The book is a red pill: you will probably recognize your children are at greater risks, than you previously thought. Why? Because predators are more active and depraved than normal people imagine. ...more
5

Mar 14, 2015

This book, like Gail Dines' Pornland, is incredibly difficult to read but absolutely worth reading. Dr. Salter's main premises are that a)sexual predators are more devious than any "normal" person would ever anticipate, b)you are easy to fool and you cannot easily detect sexual predators, and c)you need to live with caution, awareness, and intentionality, especially in regards to one's children.

I've done a lot of abuse prevention training for the summer camp I work for, and so while most of This book, like Gail Dines' Pornland, is incredibly difficult to read but absolutely worth reading. Dr. Salter's main premises are that a)sexual predators are more devious than any "normal" person would ever anticipate, b)you are easy to fool and you cannot easily detect sexual predators, and c)you need to live with caution, awareness, and intentionality, especially in regards to one's children.

I've done a lot of abuse prevention training for the summer camp I work for, and so while most of these ideas were not new, it was helpful to read about them more in depth. Dr. Salter addresses many common misconceptions regarding sexual predators, and I feel much more prepared to live in a broken world.

She suggests that if the reader is not able to handle it, they should skip the chapter on sadism. Perhaps it's because I don't picture things when I read or because I already read Pornland [which made me almost throw up when I read it], but I didn't have a lot of issues with that chapter. There is a description of the sexual abuse of a father in the early chapters that I found much more revolting, and the chapter on trauma hit me particularly hard.

I said it when I read Pornland and I'll say it here too: ignorance may be bliss, but it isn't a virtue. In this area, Dr. Salter makes clear, ignorance can also be incredibly harmful. Please do yourself and the children around you a huge favor and buy and read Predators. Please. ...more
4

Jun 18, 2018

A part of me wants to say that everyone needs to read this book. The other part of me is scared that it will give predators good ideas. But then again, as Salter points out, they probably already know and utilize these tactics.

As disgusting as it was to read about the minds of predators, I was more disgusted about how “the rest of us” think. How could we be so naive, trusting, to our own detriment? How could we believe conmen over our own children? Honestly, that is more disgusting and yet more A part of me wants to say that everyone needs to read this book. The other part of me is scared that it will give predators good ideas. But then again, as Salter points out, they probably already know and utilize these tactics.

As disgusting as it was to read about the minds of predators, I was more disgusted about how “the rest of us” think. How could we be so naive, trusting, to our own detriment? How could we believe conmen over our own children? Honestly, that is more disgusting and yet more commonplace.

Anyhow, this is a must-read for those wanting to protect themselves and their families as best they can. As a youth pastor’s wife, I see how often parents treat church like daycare, just dropping their kids off and expecting us to babysit. Sometimes they even have an expectation that we will solve all their kids’ problems. But that itself is the problem! Rather than just carting the kids off somewhere so you can get a break, that is the most important time to be involved. My husband and I take every precaution to ensure that we and our volunteer staff are beyond reproach, but even if we did have a predator amongst us, our parents wouldn’t have a clue! This book is helpful to give a realistic look at the world around us, rife with the possibility of danger. However, I am thankful that Salter also gives tips on how to keep ourselves and our children safe. ...more
3

Nov 04, 2013

I wouldn't say I *liked* this book, and it's pretty clear that Anna Salter's worldview has been dramatically altered by all her up-close-and-personal dealings with some really nasty prisoners.

It's definitely not for the faint of heart. And, even she warns you about her chapter on sadists.

The most valuable thing she emphasizes: People are often delusional about their ability to tell "the bad guys." Her suggestion is to not even bother trying and to assume that *anyone* could offend. The "nice I wouldn't say I *liked* this book, and it's pretty clear that Anna Salter's worldview has been dramatically altered by all her up-close-and-personal dealings with some really nasty prisoners.

It's definitely not for the faint of heart. And, even she warns you about her chapter on sadists.

The most valuable thing she emphasizes: People are often delusional about their ability to tell "the bad guys." Her suggestion is to not even bother trying and to assume that *anyone* could offend. The "nice guys" who seem so sincere are often the best liars, and those who are interested in children figure out ways to be around a lot of children -- and to earn the trust of parents. ...more
5

Jul 24, 2014


Easy to read, Dr. Salter's engaging style sweeps away clouds of wishy washy thinking that insists that we are all born equal and that we must be kind. No!

This book sounds a warning bell to trusting people who are easily duped by clever manipulators!

A great book for those wanting to educate themselves - and their loved ones.

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer



5

Nov 02, 2010

Wow. Out of all the books I've been reading (and there's more than I put on my list), this is the best book on child molesters and sex offenders. Well-written, easy to read - although its very difficult subject matter. Sometimes she's pretty graphic... but without that, I'd never really understand the seriousness and complexity of the problem.

I'd recommend this to any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, daycare, babysitter - if you want to really protect kids, this illustrates what you're up Wow. Out of all the books I've been reading (and there's more than I put on my list), this is the best book on child molesters and sex offenders. Well-written, easy to read - although its very difficult subject matter. Sometimes she's pretty graphic... but without that, I'd never really understand the seriousness and complexity of the problem.

I'd recommend this to any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, daycare, babysitter - if you want to really protect kids, this illustrates what you're up against. Prepare for a knot in your stomach. The problem is real and it's disturbing, but the education is worth the read. ...more
5

May 26, 2019

An eye-opening and disturbing book, but important to read in my opinion, as a bit of a wake-up call.

It goes into great detail into how sexual predators operate, how they think, and sadly how often they get away with their crimes for decades, even after being repeatedly accused and even convicted of crimes. It was published in 2003 and I think society at-large has increased awareness on some of these topics, more-so than they did back then, but it's still a valuable read in my opinion.

The most An eye-opening and disturbing book, but important to read in my opinion, as a bit of a wake-up call.

It goes into great detail into how sexual predators operate, how they think, and sadly how often they get away with their crimes for decades, even after being repeatedly accused and even convicted of crimes. It was published in 2003 and I think society at-large has increased awareness on some of these topics, more-so than they did back then, but it's still a valuable read in my opinion.

The most valuable lesson I learned was to think more about how a child predator would operate. A successful child predator is probably not the creepy mustachioed guy with the windowless van advertising free candy (though it could be) but the nice man that is outgoing and nice and interested in your kids. The author makes the point several times that 'niceness' is a choice, not a character trait. A predator can choose to be nice and otherwise be an upstanding businessman, church leader, youth leader, sports coach, camp counselor. They can also be a psychopathic child molester or rapist when they aren't pursuing their prey. She makes the point repeatedly that most child molestation cases involve building up the child's trust in the predator, then finding a way to get them alone, even if it's just in the next room, then relying on the predator's positive reputation in the family, group or community to keep them safe from a child's accusation (or keeping the child silent in the first place).

As for prevention, there is a chapter on trying to detect lies, but I don't think that will be very helpful to most people (and the author basically acknowledges that this is not a good method of prevention).

The last chapter has the real tips on prevention, and they mostly involve some *hopefully* common sense methods of protecting your child, but the chapter is still worth a read for sure.

Basically it boils down to not leaving your children alone with people, even 'nice' people, for unnecessary reasons. Sports are great, but maybe you go to every game and every practice when possible. Camps are fun, but you go to a day camp and not an overnight camp. Boy Scouts are super and teach you lots of things, but you volunteer to go as a chaperone on the overnight camping trip and keep an eye out for your own and other people's kids.

Look for risk factors, such as an adult male with seemingly no interest in adult sex partners of either gender, that has no children of their own, that is very involved in children's activities such as coaching sports or being a youth leader at church. The author makes the point that she isn't openly rude or hostile with someone fitting that profile, but she would also never send her kids off to play with that person alone.

Also, talk to your kids about this stuff and talk to your kids in general, so that they feel comfortable telling you about it if it were to happen, and believe them, don't dismiss them, as so many of the anecdotes in this book show that people do. ...more
4

Jun 13, 2018

In spite of the old adage, I was a bit concerned this book would be sensationalist from its cover and striking name, but I was very happy to find that it is not only grounded but more informative than I expected.

Salter's "Predators" is a straightforward guide for the average person about how to deal with predators, primarily child molesters, not only giving the basics that most people with a passing interest in criminology will already know, but also a lot of information that will come as a In spite of the old adage, I was a bit concerned this book would be sensationalist from its cover and striking name, but I was very happy to find that it is not only grounded but more informative than I expected.

Salter's "Predators" is a straightforward guide for the average person about how to deal with predators, primarily child molesters, not only giving the basics that most people with a passing interest in criminology will already know, but also a lot of information that will come as a surprise to the latter group as well. While many of the debunked myths in the book's description were already well known to me, I was shocked more than once about how badly "common knowledge" about predatory people had mislead me — for example, how there is no evidence to suggest that most child molesters were molested themselves despite this being constantly repeated. Salter takes a hard, no-nonsense approach to this subject; she isn't just here to make us feel good about ourselves by trashing on predators as many similar books do, but to dispel the false confidence that most of us have about our ability to detect and combat them. The book can easily be described as cynical, but it is that way for a very good reason. This isn't a subject where one can afford to feel comfortable.

Several of the informative highlights include:

—Showing just how disturbing of a history pedophilia has; how it was widely justified by our ancestors, and how it's justified by more people than we think to do.
—How pedophilia and its origins are much more poorly understand than many of us think.
—An in depth look at humans' abysmal record with being able to detect lies and deception.
—The way our overestimation of our ability to "fight back" (with things like self-defense and gun classes) often puts us at more risk, as they rely on a specifically sensationalist and almost nonexistent predatory scenario that most predators are not stupid enough to use.
—How people who are outwardly the most radical anti-predator are often the ones most easily tricked by predators.
—How predators justify their actions to themselves.

The book manages to be packed full of evidence and good science while also accessible to the average person, making it a must-have guide for parents, teachers, and anyone with an interest in protecting themselves and others. ...more
5

Sep 23, 2019

A gruesome, harrowing book, but by no fault of the author. It's a gruesome, harrowing subject.

Salter has worked with kids for her entire career. When she first started, she was surprised by how prominent sexual abuse was; for a while she thought that her little corner of New Hampshire was some kind of incest vein, the factory from which all the pedophiles in the world were manufactured. The longer she stayed in psychology, the more she realized there was nothing special about New Hampshire. It's A gruesome, harrowing book, but by no fault of the author. It's a gruesome, harrowing subject.

Salter has worked with kids for her entire career. When she first started, she was surprised by how prominent sexual abuse was; for a while she thought that her little corner of New Hampshire was some kind of incest vein, the factory from which all the pedophiles in the world were manufactured. The longer she stayed in psychology, the more she realized there was nothing special about New Hampshire. It's like that everywhere, and nobody talks about it.

Salter has interviewed hundreds child abusers over the course of her career. Her disgust is palpable, and her rage is contagious. She suggests that child molesters live deliberate double lives, pulling an elaborate con on everyone around them. Molesting kids is the only thing that matters to them, and they'll put it any amount of work and deceit in order to protect it.

We can't conceive of this for three reasons.
1) The concept of being sexually attracted to children is so gonzo fuckin' bonkers to us that it doesn't even process.
2) We think child molesters are visibly monstrous. We'll be able to see them, they'll give off an aura of evil, they wheeze and snivel when they talk. The cub scout leader is such a nice guy, he can't be that kind of creature. We would have to doubt our personal radars and our intuition.
3) No one is that driven. We all have dreams, we go to work, we take vacations, we do our part to achieve our goals in dribs and drabs, we maintain a work-life balance and get cases of the Mondays. We can't wrap our minds around someone who devotes their every thought, every word, every action to arranging a circumstance where they can get away with pedophilia.

But they're out there, and they do. Doc Salter is trying to warn us. It's nearly impossible to prosecute a sex offender, and even more difficult when they're offending against children because nobody believes children.

The pedophiles have orchestrated their entire lives to put them in positions of power over children -- the priest, the teacher, the loving father -- and if a kid has the wherewithal to even understand what is happening, their cries fall on deaf ears. Most of the pedophiles Salter interviews were only caught due to increasing escalation. Fear of getting caught often adds to the appeal for the offenders, and they eventually became so brazen that they *were* caught, in the act, by the family. And the family still wouldn't believe it. I know that sounds fake, but denial really is that powerful.

That's the take home of the book. We have to be vigilant, we have to be paranoid, because these animals are out there, and this is what they do. This is all they do. The author is so haunted by this knowledge, and her realization that she can do so little about it, despite her thirty year campaign encouraging us to pull our heads out of our collective asses and acknowledge the horrific child abuse statistics, that in her free time she writes mystery novels following the same theme.

She touches on psychopaths, sadists, and serial killers in the book, but they're sort of an afterthought. They're not her area of expertise, except where there's an overlap.

There are wolves among us. She never said the word evil, but her description is as close to fairy-tale monsters as you can get. The book is thorough, well-researched, and heartbreaking.

She's our voice. Our outrage. Our collective id that calls for blood, but even in the book she says that's a cop out. Saying "they should all be killed" is a way of not thinking about the issue. That's the exact ostrich syndrome negligence that's letting them get away with it.

It's not light reading. There are parts that might make you ill. But it's an important book, especially if you work in psychology or social services. ...more
1

Jul 13, 2019

I don't understand why someone who wrote such a biased waste of paper gets such high marks. Salter makes it clear from the get-go she has a huge bias against people accused of sexual offenses. In her world, all men are guilty, and those found innocent were just manipulative. The book reads like a Feminist's Tumblr account. There are no useful studies in this book (she sites junk science like polygraphs and the Abel assessment); the book is pretty much Salter's ego on full display.

If you think I don't understand why someone who wrote such a biased waste of paper gets such high marks. Salter makes it clear from the get-go she has a huge bias against people accused of sexual offenses. In her world, all men are guilty, and those found innocent were just manipulative. The book reads like a Feminist's Tumblr account. There are no useful studies in this book (she sites junk science like polygraphs and the Abel assessment); the book is pretty much Salter's ego on full display.

If you think self-professed experts should write like Tumblr Feminists then buy this book so you can read such gems as:

“Perhaps I can be forgiven for thinking prison would do wonders for Mr. Jones's back." (p.19)

" “The history of psychology in the past 100 years has been filled with theories that deny sexual abuse occurs, that discount the responsibility of the offender, that blame the mother and/or child when it does occur, and that minimize the impact." (p. 57)

“The smart-ass in my family tree and my feminist soul argued silently for a moment with the sudden rush of clarity, and I had to choose: speak up or shut up. I have a lifetime aversion to shutting up, and normally when I err, it is on the ‘speak up’ side of things.” (p. 95)

Her personal bias exposes her hypocrisy. She promotes polygraphs but then states sex offenders are master manipulators. So, if they are so great at lying, they could pass the polygraph!

The goofiest part of the book was the part where Salter accuses a man of secretly flipping her off. This woman is no expert; she's a petty, unprofessional feminist blogger with a degree. But I suppose we never needed a real opinion when we are looking for a book that we want to read to confirm a personal bias.

Bottom Line: Anna Salter is AN ASSAULTER of truth. ...more
5

Mar 22, 2019

This book should be required reading for parents, teachers, babysitters, doctors, social workers, and all others involved in caring for children. Anna Salter is an extraordinary researcher and a skilled writer. I thank her for daring to do the work she does.

That being said, please note that the content could be extremely triggering for sexual trauma survivors. Even non-survivors should be careful to read in small doses and check in with their emotional responses frequently. There are graphic This book should be required reading for parents, teachers, babysitters, doctors, social workers, and all others involved in caring for children. Anna Salter is an extraordinary researcher and a skilled writer. I thank her for daring to do the work she does.

That being said, please note that the content could be extremely triggering for sexual trauma survivors. Even non-survivors should be careful to read in small doses and check in with their emotional responses frequently. There are graphic details of violent crimes mentioned at various points, and the author herself inserts a warning before the chapter about sadism, as this chapter in particular can be very upsetting.

In my opinion, the graphic details are not even the toughest aspect of this book to stomach — the toughest aspect is reading about cases where adults spectacularly failed to protect children who were obviously being abused; cases where the judge sent the child home to the custody of his/her molester and the author could do nothing about it, leaving one to imagine what that child's life must have been like in the ensuing years. Having seen this sort of thing play out firsthand in my own life and in the lives of dear friends, I was not shocked by these accounts in the slightest, but I imagine it could be a devastating discovery for a reader who had previously been unaware of how poorly our society protects children. ...more
5

Sep 24, 2018

This was a very informative and difficult book to read. It's the kind of book that most people won't make themselves read, but it's very realistic in terms of the darkness in the world. (It's worth noting that I skipped the sadist chapter because I don't need more detail to add to my nightmares.) The biggest takeaway, for me, was that predators depend on people to assume the best in them and use that to their advantage.
5

Aug 14, 2019

This was a tough read. Not because it was poorly written, but because it was raw and VERY informative. As a mother of two young boys, this was an important book for me to read. I think every parent owes it to themselves to read this. I feel armed with all the tools and information to properly protect my family and myself. I would give this 10 stars if I could. It is well deserving. This was a tough read. Not because it was poorly written, but because it was raw and VERY informative. As a mother of two young boys, this was an important book for me to read. I think every parent owes it to themselves to read this. I feel armed with all the tools and information to properly protect my family and myself. I would give this 10 stars ⭐️ if I could. It is well deserving. ...more
5

Oct 31, 2018

This book was beyond eye opening and very informative. The author doesn’t back down from tough topics, and provides dozens of studies and resources to back up her statements. Every parent should read this book.

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