Before you judge the registered sex offender on the popular registered sex offender web site for your state, ask five of your friends if they were molested as children. You will be surprised by the answer. According to statistics one out of three girls will be victimized before the age of eighteen. The rate for boys is one out of six. Children are often sexually abused by family members or by people they know. This issue touches every zip code. Only 5 percent of the child sexual assault cases involve strangers. There are more than 295,734,1300 people in the United States and more 600,000 registered sex offenders on the various web sites. You do the math. How many assaults went unreported? Ninety percent of all new registered sex offenders are first time offenders. Ninety five percent are known and close to the victim. Why are we passing laws based on five percent of this population and ignoring ninety five percent of these cases?
I am a mom first, a child advocate second (yes, I have worked and volunteered in agencies regarding this very subject) and a wife third. It was in my child’s best interest to work through her abuse now, not wait until she was an adult, as what happens in most cases.
Four different counselors worked with my family, all specialists in their field of sexual assault. My daughter had her own therapist, my husband had his own individual counselor plus group counseling. My husband and I also attended marriage-counseling sessions. We have had a few mental health check-ups through out the years when when I thought it might be helpful.
My daughter is a happy, healthy, kind, loving child. She is a straight A student who just graduated High School. She starts college in the fall. She is a very well adjusted young lady.There were tools and support systems put in place to insure her safety. My child was not allowed to be left alone with her stepdad for the first 5 years after the molestation. Her stepfather was subject to polygraph tests, which was fine by me. My child is probably safer than the average child. My child knows the power of her own voice. She was believed!
I have told her biological father everything. He is very involved in his daughter’s life. We all work together for the best interest of our child. I have a Court Order for my husband to live in the house with us. This has not been easy, but nothing good ever is. Is my family not as precious as yours?
What am I teaching my child? There is life after sexual abuse. That she is valued, she has a voice, and the adults in her life heard her. That she should think for herself. That there are consequences for your actions (my husband went to jail.) That if you work hard enough anything is possible.
All of this would be worth while if when you get finished reading this, you talk to your children. There are no secrets in my house, can you say the same?
There is a real possibility the posting of sex offenders on the web will make people even more afraid to come forward about sex offenses. When the sex offender registry first went on the web, it made me drop to my knees. All the old wounds were opened up again. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone and I only have my address on the internet. I’m afraid to leave my house. When someone looks at my husband and me, we both wonder, do they know? We feel humiliated. Our lives feel threatened. The pressure is almost too much to bear. How can anyone heal- victim or perpetrator?
If the state is going to post my husband’s information on the sex offender web site, why not post all his information? Why can’t they post that he has a Court Order to live here. Can they post that he has helped me raise my beautiful daughter? Can they post that HE makes up for what happened to US everyday? After all, now my daughter and I have been sentenced for his crime.
We as a society should be scared, very scared of the genie we just let out of the bottle. We can now almost guarantee it will be impossible for sex offenders to have and maintain any support systems. Scary thought. My husband took responsibility for his actions and he didn’t even ask what the definition of is, is.
The day of the one sin fits all approach to sexual offenders is outdated. We can not lump these people into one category. Was the crime committed in the home? Was the crime exposure or was it rape? Does aggravated sexual assault mean it was violent or does it mean the child was under the age of 12 or 13?
All I am willing to say about our situation was that it was caught. Early, thank God, I shudder to think what could have happened if not for my training, instincts and the help of adults in her life. The reason you don’t hear about more families like mine is because from the beginning you are told by police and social workers that recovery is impossible. There is no chance. I just didn’t take no for an answer and started doing research. I know in my heart then and now, that I did the right thing. ( my husband’s offense was in 1995.)
My prayers are with your sons and daughters. The cycle is broken in my family, God willing. My child knows the power of her voice. The people who need to know, do know. Thank God for that beautiful voice.
The key to this is education (on both sides.) There are wonderful programs and agencies out there such as, child assault prevention project, that teaches kids how to be Safe Strong and Free. They also teach kids to TELL and TELL until someone listens. We just have to hear them. Oh those beautiful voices. Tonight continue your web surfing to sites that deal with the treatment of sexual offenders. S.O.S.E.N is a good place to start. A.T.S.A and Stop it Now are also excellent sites. And only then should you consider going to the registered sex offender web site. Do your research. Prove me wrong.
If you are going to have an opinion, make it an informed opinion and then if you still want to be voyeurs into people’s private lives (isn’t voyeurism a sex crime?) should you go to the sex offender registry.
Consider that because you might be on the internet one day. What’s next? Convicted drunk drivers? Drug addicts? Politicians who cheat on their wives?
YES THERE IS LIFE AFTER SEXUAL ABUSE