One Reddit user was horrifyingly on the dot about the potential for a certain book series sold on Amazon — comprised of books with titles like Spank the Monkey Lends a Hand and Put Tony’s Nuts in Your Mouth! — accidentally ending up in a children’s library.
While these books are technically marketed for adults, there is a danger that they might appear in children’s literature sections because of their deceptive appearance as a light and fun children’s book.
In fact, one such book has already done just that. A title called Show Me Your Cock has already ranked on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for the “Children’s Books” category as a paperback and the digital version has ranked on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for the “Children’s Literature” category in Amazon’s Kindle Store.
Even worse than these titles landing in children’s libraries, though, is the fact books like these are used by predators to groom children for sexual abuse.
This is where the issue moves from being problematic to being deeply disturbing and dangerous.
The Reality of Child Sexual Abuse Grooming
Researchers Craven, Brown, and Gilchrist describe grooming as such: “Physical grooming involves the gradual sexualization of the relationship between the offender and the victim (Berliner & Conte, 1990). Psychological grooming is used to achieve this increased sexualization” (Craven, Brown, & Gilchrist, 2006, 295). They further continue with the explanation of grooming by providing an example of how a sex offender grooms their victim, through “providing the child with [their] version of sex education” (295). The existence of books (and ease of purchasing thanks to Amazon) such as Would You Like to Play with My Cock? or Suzy Likes to Look at Balls not only make the process of grooming children much easier, but also make it more difficult to detect. While at first glance it may seem like a family member or trusted friend is simply reading the child a “fun” story book, the reality is that the mental state of the child is becoming more malleable to disturbing sexual concepts when encountering this type of material.
The myth that most people are sexually abused by a stranger has been continuously debunked, as studies show that 93% of children who are sexually abused know their abuser. The YWCA, in their recent Child Sexual Abuse Facts sheet, stated that “The younger the victim, the more likely it is that the abuser is a family member. Of those molesting a child under six, 50 percent were family members. Family members also accounted for 23 percent of those abusing children ages 12 to 17.”
Anne-Marie McAlinden, author of “Setting ‘Em Up”: Personal, familial and institutional grooming in the sexual abuse of children, writes, “Indeed, sex offenders are often devious and manipulative and expert at avoiding detection or suspicion. Offenders can be very inventive in the ways in which they obtain access to children, within their own or other families, or via the community and even organizations.” (McAlinden, 2006, 343). By authoring these books, Sumguyen Bangladesh and Bimisi Tayanita are further assisting sexual predators, by making grooming that much easier.
We would be remiss if we didn’t also point out that the current quarantining environment caused by COVID-19 means that more and more sexually abused children are being constantly groomed and confronted by their abuser, with little to no means of escaping. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), they received a 22% increase in calls from those younger than 18. In a follow up story on RAINN’s concerning statistics, NPR reported that “Of those young people who contacted the hotline in March, 67% identified their perpetrator as a family member and 79% said they were currently living with that perpetrator.”
By authoring these books, Sumguyen Bangladesh and Bimisi Tayanita are further assisting sexual predators, by making grooming that much easier. By hosting these types of books on its site, Amazon is dangerously close to complicity.
Unfortunately, not only do these hyper-sexualized “children’s books” find a platform on Amazon but they also have disturbingly positive reviews.
One Amazon user going by “Christina” stated that this book was “Entertainment for BOTH adults and kids!!!” and continued by saying that “this book is entertaining to read to children who have yet to understand the adult connotation behind the story line.”
An Amazon “Top 10 Reviewer” and “Hall of Famer” going by “Serenity” commented that Spank the Monkey Lends a Hand was “highly recommended,” and went on to state that “you could read it to the little ones and they would laugh as they are too young to get the double entendre.”
In the product description section, a comment from Zackary N. Maughan, a “cunning linguist,” is highlighted: “Spank the Monkey will never expose the thoughts that you fold and unfold and refold over and over in your mind…He will only whisper his sweet song of deliverance.”
The evidence makes it clear: these books pose a significant and dangerous problem for children. We are strongly urging Amazon to remove these products from its website and work to better filter the products on its site for inappropriate material.
Recommended Steps of Action
- Complete this Action which sends emails directly to Amazon officials on your behalf (it is also embedded below this list)
- Send out one or more of these tweets
- [email protected], we strongly urge you to re-examine the concerning and sexually explicit picture books on your website that can enable sexual offenders to groom their victims. Please remove them from your website.
- [email protected], did you know that most children who have been sexually abused have been victimized by a family member? What kind of message are you sending to the familial sexual abuser by selling books like “Spank the Money Lends a Hand”?
- [email protected], @ncose strongly urges you to enforce a maturity rating to prevent the accidental purchase of the “Reach Around” books, a concerning collection of highly sexual “children’s books” that may enable psychological grooming by sexual offenders.
Craven, Samantha, Sarah Brown, and Elizabeth Gilchrist. “Sexual grooming of children: Review of literature and theoretical considerations.” Journal of sexual aggression 12, no. 3 (2006): 287-299.
Finkelhor, David, Anne Shattuck, Heather A. Turner, and Sherry L. Hamby. “The lifetime prevalence of child sexual abuse and sexual assault assessed in late adolescence.” Journal of Adolescent Health 55, no. 3 (2014): 329-333.
Kamenetz, Anya. “Child Sexual Abuse Reports Are On The Rise Amid Lockdown Orders.” NPR. NPR, April 28, 2020. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/28/847251985/child-sexual-abuse-reports-are-on-the-rise-amid-lockdown-orders.
McAlinden, Anne-Marie. “‘Setting’Em Up’: Personal, familial and institutional grooming in the sexual abuse of children.” Social & Legal Studies 15, no. 3 (2006): 339-362.
“Child Sexual Abuse Facts.” ywca.org. Accessed May 19, 2020. https://www.ywca.org/wp-content/uploads/WWV-CSA-Fact-Sheet-Final.pdf.
“r/Theyknew – There Is No Doubt…” reddit. Accessed May 19, 2020. https://www.reddit.com/r/theyknew/comments/b5r8w0/there_is_no_doubt/.
“Scope of the Problem: Statistics.” RAINN. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem.