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Why is America eating her young?.

new-born-baby-1a

             “If it saves one child, it is worth it!” I can not even count the number of times I have heard that phrase. The whole problem here, though, is NO children are being saved at all, instead far more are being put in danger because of improperly judged and outdated risk-factor information.

As a society we are failing our children and ourselves on so many levels. There has been so much intervention by the government into the lives of our families, that many parents actually fear setting boundaries for, or disciplining their children. By default many children now have their parents in the palm of their hands.

Playing outside is a memory from the past, as so many children are immersed in the virtual world, or are cautioned by their parents about the “widespread” danger of predators lurking behind every tree. Following in the same footprints, they are also being warned that imminent danger also exists at every level on the internet. Time after time they are told to “watch for predators” but are not actually taught who the real predators might be. They are NOT informed that the behavior of their peers can be deemed predatory.

They are bombarded with sexuality from every type of media, yet are expected not to be curious, let alone mimic any of what they are exposed to. Young girls are challenged to dress like older girls (or women) and look “hot”. Young boys are basically taught that to be a man is to flaunt their sexual prowess with as many “women” as they can. Yet the myriad of laws now on the books regarding sexual “crimes” (more than 200 and growing rapidly) doom these same children, from tots to teens, (if caught acting out) to life on the registry, with NO hope for the future.

They (and society) NEED to realize that once they are on the registry their life will be beyond difficult. They WILL be banned from society in a very real way. The reality of the restrictions imposed on them will nullify any chance of a normal life, regardless of what their juvenile “offense” was.

The list is endless and the impact on their life will depend on where they live. A few examples include: no housing within a certain distance of schools, daycare centers, churches, etc. (up to 2,500 feet in some areas); no higher education (their status must be registered and reported, leading to high rates of drop outs, or being driven out); no career (even minimum wage jobs are severely limited) because most employers face having their businesses boycotted if they “dare” hire a registrant. A number of states also impose bans against offender use of parks, pools, beaches, etc.

Above all, the human need for love will be thrown in their face at every turn. After all, what decent human being would willingly enter into a relationship with one of “those monsters”?  If by chance they do manage to find someone to love them, that love will be tested over and over again. Many times, the registry or the effects thereof, will be the breaking point in that relationship, no matter how strong that love may be. I must reiterate, no matter what their crime was, as the registry, in societies eyes is all encompassing, with each registrant considered worthy of a bullet between their eyes.

The original purpose of the registry was to keep track of dangerous predators so that society (particularly children) could be safe from victimization.  The sex offender registry in its beginning had a noble purpose, which has evolved from law enforcement monitoring a small percentage of repeat offenders to a widespread collection of first time offenders, non-sexual crimes, misdemeanor offenses and sadly a large segment of children as young as 7 years old, who for the most part are on public display.  What could a seven year-old possibly do to end up on the registry, you ask.  It is fairly simple, what used to be considered normal childhood exploratory behavior, or what many have termed “playing doctor” is a registrable offense.  Not only that, but it is an offense against a minor, which under many circumstances dooms that child to life on the public registry, the very same treatment reserved for adults who rape or molest children. This same premise applies to older juveniles, effectively punishing them for life for youthful indiscretions.

The next fallacy that we are faced with is that the public registry is “just a list”.  This implies that it is simply regulatory, when in all actuality, it is indeed punitive, not only to the ex-offender, but also to his family and others close to him. This reinforces the reasoning that public shaming serves only to ban undesirables from society, rather than rehabilitating people and allowing them to become productive members of society, relegating them to becoming a burden to society indefinitely.

My final thought on this issue is this: Is this the world you envisioned for your child when you brought him/her into this world? I think not. The parents of many of the children and young adults on the registry looked into the face of their equally innocent and beautiful infant and never dreamed for one moment that their child would one day be doomed to the registry for no good reason. Changes need to be demanded to stop the path of destruction we have paved, not only for our children and ourselves, but for the future of our country.

Epiphany

I had to google it to make sure I had the right spelling and right word before I posted this, but here it is, I had an EPIPHANY!

As I lay in bed, suspended between a comfy cocoon of sleep and the stark reality of life, a thought struck me like a jagged bolt of energy surrounding me with blinding brightness. I lay there for a time, picking apart and examining every piece of the thought (and waiting for the little spots to quit dancing in front of my eyes from the effects of the flash).

I am now here to present it to everyone to consider.

Now I don’t have to bring up a certain name, as most people will know who I am referring to, but am simply putting legs to this thought, not for argument sake or to incite negative emotion, but to interject some sanity into the situation.

Here it goes. A certain person bases her hatred of all that we stand for, on one premise she has set in her mind. She proposes that we as mothers have in her words “laid our children out on platters so that our SO loved ones can feed on them” and in the process of that thought she extends that theory to include any and all children that might possibly be accessible in the long run. She is NOT the only one who feels that way, it is a general consensus throughout society, thus their disgust for and overwhelming fear of XSOs and those who give up everything to support their loved ones. There is nothing we can say that will effect a change in that attitude either, because we are considered liars and considered to be in denial about everything surrounding sex offense issues.

I would now like to present our side of that controversy. As we all are painfully aware (and in direct contrast of how we are perceived) NONE of us (especially as mothers and parents) supports sexual abuse or any kind of abuse of an innocent child. We would lay down our lives to protect our families as most parents would.

Now here is what the haters in general DO NOT GET. Yes, some of our loved ones are falsely accused and some of them are guilty, but ALL of them deserve the support they need to get through this time in their lives without ANYONE being destroyed. If they have mental issues they DESERVE the help to get better, not just for themselves, but for the good of all society.

We support our loved ones for the safety of all. Yeah, yeah I know that sounds all noble and everything, but isn’t that the very concept of a strong and loving human bond?

The purpose of this epiphany was to lift everyone up who chooses to support their loved one, not BECAUSE of what they were convicted of, but because by doing so we are CAPABLE of creating a safer world for all and ensure the ability to break the cycle of sexual abuse.

You should be PROUD that you have the strength to do what is needed, no, what is REQUIRED to make this a better world for all. The public registry threatens to steal this power by its very existence, because its purpose is to tear down that which we need to fight the cycle of abuse.

The end is near…

If you don’t know someone on the registry, you really don’t get it do you? Most registrants are NOT complaining about serving their sentence, even those who were falsely accused. The problem, and it is a PROBLEM, is the fact that new laws, restrictions etc. are allowed to be piled on top of what they were sentenced for, with NO NEW CRIMES being committed. Many on the registry served their sentences decades ago, yet were suddenly required to register many years after the fact. The public registry, which those in authority will tell you is “simply regulatory” is most definitely added punishment, making it un-Constitutional.

This is purely an example, not a comparison to a sex crime, but how would it make you feel if you ran a stop sign on the corner of a busy street 20 years ago paid your fine and were very careful never to do it again, fast forward to 2012 and they suddenly decide that everyone who ever ran that stop sign must pay new fines, plus never be allowed to drive in that particular area again, because you just “might” run that stop sign again and kill someone. Many on the public registry face this basic scenario in regard to a crime that was paid for many years ago.

I am sorry if  society feels threatened by the fact that many on the registry and their families are fighting for change. I have walked many, many miles in the shoes of a victim, but traded them in many years ago for a much sturdier pair, survivor shoes.  But I understand the plight of those on the registry firsthand, not because of being a registrant, but because of being a FAMILY MEMBER. If society hadn’t “pushed” for a public registry, there wouldn’t be the problem of harassment, property damage, bullying of our children in school, suicide (also by the children of registrants), death threats, physical violence and yes, murder of registrants.

As you read this a young mother in Washington State is struggling with grief at the loss of her 28 year old husband and overwhelmed with the thought of what the future will bring for her and their two young sons. He was shot multiple times with a 9mm handgun. For what? He was involved in a Romeo and Juliet offense when he was 17 and in high school. Despite ridicule from their peers, because of her disability, they continued to date.  She was also 17, but because she was a deaf/mute, her parents felt she was not capable of a normal teen relationship and pursued a proven avenue to end the relationship. It worked and now 11 years later he has died for his crime.

What truly amazes me is the control that registrants have shown thus far, after being subject to this type of treatment for years. It is human nature to strike back when you or your family is threatened, yet if one was to snap under pressure, society as a whole would be appalled and whisper among themselves, “that is just what one would expect of one of those MONSTERS!”

The time for change has come, and it will happen.

Who are we to judge??

I received the following  from a friend, it is the life story of one of the  3/4  million people on the Sex Offender Registry. There is a unique story for each individual on this list. If you know someone who has a story to tell, please feel free to leave a comment letting me know how to get in touch with them.

I think it’s important to note that while I’m realizing I’m not alone as a woman who happens to be in love with a sex offender, our story is different because he is guilty.  Most people I’ve encountered are either claiming innocence or are a Romeo/Juliet type case.  I don’t really care what people think about me or that they judge me but it does sadden me to see that society in general has no compassion for its fellow human beings.  People can judge me all they want but they don’t walk in my shoes and I pray they never have to.

Here’s our story:

I lived a very sheltered life and last August I separated from my husband.  We were together 15 years and most of that was abusive and bad.  At 18 I married my high school sweetheart, at 19 had my first son, at 20 divorced and remarried and at 25 had my 2nd son.  My 2nd husband raised both of my boys although my oldest son did have weekend visits with his father.  My ex (Steve) was not abusive to the boys but was very abusive to me.  He suffered from depression and the last 5 years of our marriage was in and out of the hospital several times.  Last August he asked for a divorce and moved out.

While I was relieved it put me into a tailspin of not knowing what to do with myself.  I spent the next several months finally “living it up”.  I was able to come and go because my kids were old enough to take care of themselves and didn’t need a constant babysitter.  But i was an awful mother.  Don’t get me wrong, i love those boys more than life but at the time I was too busy being selfish to realize the harm i was causing.  I was dating all kinds of men.  I was lonely and scared.  I was on a very slippery slope.

By March I had decided I was going to “settle” for the man I call Mr. backup.  He too was abusive but at the time I didn’t see any other alternative.  I had literally said to myself I was going to close my Plenty of Fish account and just settle.

Then at the end of March I get an email from DJ.  I wasn’t going to even respond to it but something inside me told me to, so I responded and gave him not only my regular email but my phone number for texting.  We texted all day and then we started talking on the phone.

It was only the 2nd day and he said “I have to tell you something”.  I could tell by the tone of his voice this was serious so I told him to go ahead and I would just listen.  This is when he proceeded to tell me he was a convicted sex offender.

I sat there listening to him and in the back of my mind i’m thinking “why do i always attract losers?”  but as he kept telling me his story i realized there was something about him that i wasn’t ready to write him off just because of his past.  I listened as he told me some details and what all being a convicted sex offender would mean if i decided to continue a relationship with him.  He told me to let it all sink in and if i still was interested in him to let him know.  I couldn’t hang up the phone with him.  I was already in love with him but just not ready to admit it.  I kept thinking, “this can’t be real.  I can’t be in love with him because I’ve never even met him face to face.  I know nothing about him,  but my head, my gut and my heart all told me to not let him go.

Over the course of the next week we continued talking and the first day he told me he loved me it just came out so naturally,  and it was natural for me to say it back.  That was strange to me because I never said those words unless i meant them.  We had only been talking/texting for about a week when I had a day off work and went to meet him.

He was on parole so of course I had to meet at his house as he didn’t have approved movement.  I had no doubts at all.  I know how crazy this all sounds but it was so natural.  I drove to his house that morning and when he opened the door and said “hi baby, I love you”, I literally melted into his arms.  He led me upstairs where we made love for hours and I can’t begin to describe the peaceful natural feeling of that day. I t was like we had known each other for years, not just a week.  That was the beginning of what was the best few months of my life.

We spent the next 2 months talking and spending every available moment together making plans for our future.  I knew the restrictions we would have placed upon us but he was worth it.  Over the course of these few months he gave me more and more details about his past but I didn’t care.  His past is not who he is now.  In fact, his honesty and willingness to accept responsibility for his actions is one of the things i love most about him.

I remember one day I was waiting for him in the car while he went to take his art class final exam.  He left me in the car with his entire criminal file and told me to read it and ask any questions I had.  I did so but I also read all of his file.  It had all of his therapy notes and his entire past in it.  I quickly read that there was far more to his situation than just his crime.

DJ was convicted and pled guilty to predatory criminal sexual assualt.  His story goes like this.  He was moletsted twice himself as a child by 2 different people.  While he loved his mother dearly she was verbally and physically abusive to him sometimes.  At other times she was a very loving mother.  She was bipolar.

Alot happened that led up to his crime but when he was 19 he met and married a woman with 2 kids from a previous marriage.  That relationship was never a healthy one but he raised her 2 kids as if they were his own and they had 2 more children together.  His marriage was awful.  His ex-wife was very neglectful and very mentally abusive.  He lashed out with some physical abuse towards her but quickly learned that didn’t have the effect he was looking for.  He wanted her to leave.  He loved his kids but he was in a very unhealthy frame of mind and didn’t have the strength to leave her.

He had a very close relationship with his step daughter,  they did everything together.  Then one day he asked her to have sex and while she was hesitant, she didn’t resist either.  He always felt awful after it happened but she didn’t appear too scarred although he knows now that’s not true.  I’m not sure how long this went on before his ex found out but she did know and stood by and did nothing.  They’d fight about it, she’d yell at him and he’d say he’d stop and that would be the end of it till it happened again.  This whole thing went on for about a year and during the entire time, the mother never once got help for her daughter or even DJ.  She never did anything about it.  She knew the whole time what was going on and she just turned a blind eye.  In my opinion she needs to have charges pressed against her for child neglect and endangerment but I’ll get to that in a minute.

At some point, the girl told a friend whose parents reported it to the police.  DJ was arrested and sent to county jail pending a trial.  Supposedly the ex was threatened by child services that if she didn’t file for an OP and make a statement against him that they would charge her with child endangerment.  He was in county jail for months before he was ever able to get through to her by phone or mail.  He was in county for 2 years trying to fight his case because although he was guilty, he was trying to do all this legal work on his own.  He had no lawyer, no money and only his best friend stood by him.  He was eventually told he either had to take a plea bargain or go to trial.  He took the plea because he didn’t want to put the girl through a trial.  During one of the court appearances where she and the ex were present, the girl went over to him and hugged him and told him not to forget she loves him.

He took the plea and was sentenced to 12 years.  During his first bid he did some research and found the truth in sentencing laws applied to him and he was able to go all the way to the supreme court and got his sentence reduced to 9 years.  He was originally arrested in 2003.  In 2008 he received a letter from his ex asking for a divorce but that she had no money so he filed for divorce from inside.  She never even showed up to the court the day of the divorce hearing.

Over the years he received several letters from the step daughter and a few from his 2 children.  While on parole he was able to talk to his son and they have worked through everything and have a good relationship.  His daughter was only 5 when he went away the first time and she doesn’t remember anything about him except what the ex tells her, which I know for a fact she doesn’t admit to any responsibility in this whole mess.  she wants everyone to feel sorry for her and won’t admit to the role she played in it.  That woman makes me sick!

Anyway, even though DJ is guilty, i see the circumstances that led up to his unhealthy choices and behaviors.  He has taken a good hard look at who he WAS and is NOW a completely different person.

I believe all people are capable of change but I’ve never known anyone before who actually has put that into action.  So when I see others who say they are with a sex offender but they claim innocence or the romeo/juliet laws, it’s still hard for me to relate.
People judge me for being with him but he’s the best thing to ever happen to me and he’s the greatest man I know.  He loves me and communicates with me more openly and honestly than i ever knew possible.  I feel so lucky to call him mine.

I have to be careful as to what I say as I don’t want to cause more damage to the step daughter.  While I’ve not met her personally I know she is still very hurt and fragile and has very mixed feelings.  She doesn’t get along great with her mother but I wouldn’t expect her to.  I wouldn’t get along with my mother if I knew she allowed her husband to have sex with me as a child.

I pray for her every day and I hope that someday she and DJ can communicate as I know he desperately wants to express his sincere apologies to her and hope that she can be a “survivor” not a “victim”.   His other 2 children carry the stigma of their dad being a sex offender which I know is hard for them.  They are bonding nicely with me and I’m lucky and honored to be a part of their lives.

Survival

Even more than the necessity of allowing our children to have a “real” childhood, we as parents NEED to develop a sense of reality. Children have ran and played for centuries near and far, developing SURVIVAL skills, without which, adulthood would have been impossible to navigate.

Our young people are considered “children” until they are 18 in more than a dozen states now. What does that tell us about our society?

My grandfather was 14 when he traveled across country by himself and took possession of  300 acres in Oregon. He worked that land for 5 years, receiving his homestead certificate when he was 19. Now I realize that was a different time, but that was a great deal of work and responsibility even then. He didn’t have anyone waking him up and telling him he had to get out of bed and “oh and don’t forget to take your gun and be sure to watch out for that wounded bear down by the dry creek bed”.

What survival skills do our children have now? What is the biggest danger they face on a day to day basis? I am willing to bet that most parents will reply, “strangers!”

Am I the only one who wonders when the term stranger went from being a potential friend or someone to turn to when you need help, to someone whose only purpose is to somehow victimize anyone they meet? Have “good” people and “bad” people really changed? Or could it be that our great widespread media gods have realized that only the scariest, most horrifying, shock inducing stories garner the most readership? Truthfully, if you sat down and listened to the news for a couple of hours, what do YOU think would be the percentage of good and evil and which do YOU think would come out the winner?

Innocence Perverted

For years we have been warned to monitor our children closely so that they will not be victimized by predators or child molesters. The media has screamed “Stranger Danger” from every available angle and platform as parents clutch their offspring to their breast, trembling in fear.

A recent article has traversed the ever slippery slope leading to the deepest, darkest, pit of degradation and the final loss of innocence for our children. Our babies have BECOME perverts.  According to the article a toddler (3 or 4 years old),  who was involved in the incident, informed an adult that they had touched each other in the bathroom. This immediately lead to a legal chain of events, involving not only the media, but school staff, parents, the school district, attorneys, Department of Social Services and state investigators.

This was further escalated as “Concerns also grew this weekend after a parent called the state’s child abuse hotline to report she witnessed her child, who was not involved in the first incident, touching himself. “

I can only ask, is there ANY sanity left in this world? When did childhood exploratory behavior become a deviant perversion?

Now not only are children no longer allowed to play outside alone without peering over their shoulders in fear of predators, they now have to fear “predatory” behavior from their peers and themselves!

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