Friday, August 26, 2005

"You hate me! You really hate me!!"

My previous post on convicted pedophiles never sentenced to jail time has generated dozens of e-mails in my Inbox - most in support, some in reactionary opposition, a few in outright rage. I also suspect I've heard from a pedophile or two, as a couple of these writers truly seemed to empathize and identify more with the offenders than with the children who were assaulted, and they accused me of promoting a "culture of victimization". Without an acknowledged victim, there can be no exposed perpetrator. But this isn't about some whining wimp crying "victim" so the Nanny State can step in and provide care. This is about children being exploited, abducted, raped, and murdered.

Today an e-quaintance wanted to know if publicizing information about pedophiles (as I do in this blog) was a criminal or civil violation. In all jurisdictions that I'm aware of, publicizing public records is not a crime or civil infraction. However, willfully misrepresenting public record (for example, if I knowingly depicted a flasher as a child-murderer) in such a way as to willfully defame or harass an individual is considered a civil (and in some cases, criminal) violation in many jurisdictions. Plus, it would be really mean.

To clarify for those people who misunderstood my intentions... While it's true that I believe people who exploit children sexually are among the most dangerous and repugnant criminals in our society, I also understand the difference between 1) an 18 year-old and a 16 year-old having consensual (though statutory, depending on local laws) sexual relations and 2) an adult sexually exploiting an 8 year-old in order to fulfill a twisted need for power. Though both examples may be criminal according to their local statutes, one crime is aggressive and violent, and the other is not.

I also think it's unjust and misleading that in some states, sex offenders are lumped together on public web databases, with little if any distinction made between the crimes. For example, should a man who accidentally walked by a window naked after showering be pictured right next to a violent child predator? Even if fairness is not a priority, the juxtaposition of these cases is a misrepresentation.

Here's a new angle... Think about the victim's perspective. If a child has been abducted, drugged, and sodomized, how will that child feel when he/she grows up and sees the vicious perpetrator online, right next to an offender who exposed himself to another adult. The person might feel like the brutality of their assault has been minimized. After all, these two crimes don't really share the same psychological dynamic. The flasher wants to be seen, the pedophile doesn't. Repeated studies have shown that although flashers are violating in their actions, they are unlikely to use overt violence to satisfy their pathological desires. But many pedophiles will, and do.

As someone who survived abuse as a child, I know these crimes are not about sex, but power. I don't like using the term "sex offender" when referring to pedophiles. I much prefer "violent criminal who sexually assaults children". It isn't about politically correctness - it's about accuracy. A peeping tom may be a "sex offender", but a child rapist is - well, a child rapist.

On a side note... I wonder how many judges have ordered drug-law violators (many who are self-medicating to treat PTSD symptoms realted to abuse) to attend AA and NA meetings in jurisdictions where convicted rapists and pedophiles are also ordered to attend (as they often are).

Now there's a tip for the national media. Reckon they're listening? Or are they too busy polishing their teeth?


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