I know this is a tough subject

images (1)But I wrote about sex offenders for WNPR, and how Connecticut is rethinking its policies toward people who end up on our sex offender registry.

Before you nail me to the wall, please just read the piece. I kept trying to write the thing (for several months, actually) but as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I kept hitting snags — mostly of my own making. I am not “over” the abuse, and have only recently come to the point where I no longer wish pain on my perpetrators (forgiveness is a process, I guess) but we need to figure out how to walk that fine line between protecting public safety and protecting the civil rights of all. I guess that’s a fine line we need to figure out for more than people who commit sexual offenders.

Sex offender registries are too inclusive. Not everyone on the registry is an animal meant to be caged.

OK. Explanation over. I’d be interested in what you think.

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4 responses to “I know this is a tough subject

  1. For a time I had a job where I had to pay attention to the registry in the interest of the sometimes vulnerable folks to whom I provided services. In that time I had varying degrees of contact with about two dozen registered offenders. In my opinion most of them belonged on the registry but those about whom I had doubts had one or two things in common, their color and/or their economic status which seemed to lead to poor or under representation in court. Contrast that with two cases locally that were pleaded out to lesser charges and no placement on the registry. A professional who repeatedly filmed women through a peephole he installed in the restroom in his office and a personal trainer who constantly cojoled his female clients that they would be better off excercising if they wore as little as possible, including some underage clients. They both had the money to hire good lawyers and people who testified to their character and standing in the community. Now you can argue whether or not they belong on the registry but don’t tell me they’re not creeps to be avoided as opposed to the 19 year old Latino guy in a consensual relationship with his 17 year old girlfriend caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • Consensual sex between a 17 year old and 19 year old is not a crime in CT. It would only be a crime if it was not consensual.

  2. I probably need to reread it after calming down. Guidry’s minimization that somehow a sexual assault could be repackaged as “adolescents acting out” is exactly the attitude that lends itself to rape culture in high schools and college campuses. And, that was the excuse I was given by the teen-young adult who sexually assaulted and abused me. (It’s also personal.)

    There are no low risk offenders IMO because they already decided to offend, potentially disabling a victim for life. There needs to be life long consequences on the offender end, and the registry is minimal. Crimes against a person (vs property) are serious offenses and have no place in our society. And we know consequences belong to not only the guy who sexually assaults a stranger. No one should think it wasn’t that bad because the perp & victim knew each other or because of some other excuse. Stigma? The perps earned it. They are not the victims. Men (mostly) have gotten away with sexual assaulting victims without consequences for eons. I’m not interested in backing away once we finally can talk about this and hold people accountable for sexual crimes against women and children. The list isn’t inclusive enough when you consider all who committed the crime and got away with it. If a guy doesn’t want the stigma, then he shouldn’t commit the crime, dammit!

    • As an afterthought, if the concern is that the stigma from being on the sexual offender list could cause stresses leading to re-offending, then these people are not low risk offenders. If stress leads to a person taking it out on another by harming them (sexually assaulting them), then these are the people we especially need to keep an eye on. I do not understand that logic presented by Guidry, Ullman, and Meaden. Stress is not an excuse for committing violent crime against another. If they were stealing food to survive, that would be something else. Hurting someone when things are tough is not ok – ever.

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