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Archive for the ‘My heart and Soul’ Category

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.

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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.

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Reality

I look out my window, and watch the falling leaves, displaying myriads of colors as they spin and dance in the wind on their way to the ground.  Somehow, as I get older it forces me to realize just how much this season, in particular, parallels life.

Before long, I can’t help but  raise my eyes to the dark and naked branches they have left behind, and wonder, how many times  we as people, have pulled away from the security of the here and now and launched joyously out into the unknown?

It is one of the many cycles of  life, one repeated uncountable times, particularly as our children grow up and away from us into their own unknown.  Some make the transition with flying colors, others stumble, fall, pick themselves up and go on.  Others are crippled before they can even begin.

I am a dark, naked and empty branch and my son lays crushed on the earth below me, existing and breathing but unable to move on.  But he is only one of  many who litter the ground beneath the stark reality of a justice system, which uses laws that are supposed to protect our children, to do nothing but destroy them and those who love them.

My son was recently subjected to a death threat when a neighbor discovered that he was listed on the sex offender registry. What heinous crime had my son committed that our neighbor deemed worthy of death? “Falling in love.”

He was 17, she told him she was 16. At the time he had no reason to doubt her. A short time later he learned a harsh life lesson. They never got beyond kissing or hand holding, but she wrote in her diary that they had made love. When her mother read the entry in her 14-year-old daughter’s diary she quite justifiably became angry. Without talking with either one of them, she called the police and had my son arrested. He spent 45 days in jail awaiting trial.

Had the mother taken her daughter to the doctor, she would have found out that her daughter was simply voicing a private fantasy. The girl begged her mother to stop the proceedings, but the wheels of “justice” were already in motion.

The girl was so distraught about the situation that she constantly sought to contact my son to apologize and beg him not to hate her. She finally convinced her older sister to help her get in touch with him. One day shortly after sentencing and being put on a strict 3-year probation mandating no contact with his “victim,” my son was walking home from the store a block from our house. A car pulled up behind him and he heard a familiar voice beg, “Please stop and talk to me for a minute, we won’t tell anyone, please!”

His only reaction was to break into a full run. He burst through the front door of our home and collapsed into a pale, quivering heap of fear in the middle of the floor.  He managed to shakily mumble enough for me to realize what had just happened.  I immediately took him to the police station and had them document exactly what had happened. Only with their assurance that he had done the right thing and that everything would be OK, could he finally calm down enough to breathe.

My son was quite shy around girls to begin with and she was his first love. As things stand right now, he may very well never have another. He never finished high school due to his probation rules, and will be required to register twice a year for the rest of his life. He has lost every job he has been able to find, due to his listing on the registry.  He can never join the military, or even follow his lifelong dream of a career in music, even though he is a talented singer/songwriter and drummer.

Why not? The laws work this way: His sentence was 3 years’ probation and 25 years on the registry in his state of conviction, Michigan. He couldn’t keep a job in Michigan, he kept losing them because of the registry, resulting in homelessness. Homelessness and joblessness are probation violations, so he was sent to jail for six months. After two more trips to jail for failure to register — resulting in three more months in jail —  he came here to South Carolina to live with us.  As long as he can keep a roof over his head and registers when required, he will be safe. A third failure to register could send him  to prison for a mandatory 5 year sentence. Unfortunately, in our state, sex offender registration is lifetime for everyone.

He cannot pursue his musical career because it costs money (which neither he nor we have), for his instruments and upkeep, advertising, etc. Plus, if you are on the registry you have to  go in and report everywhere you are employed. Which means if he had a gig in, say, Seattle, he would have to report the address of his performance, the length of time he will be there, where he would be staying for the duration, etc. This is required for each and every change, notwithstanding the fact that anytime he leaves his home address for more than 3 days, it has to be approved with both the sheriff’s department here and the sheriff’s department at his destination, and either of them are at liberty to deny his request at any time.

I also wanted to mention, that although he does not have a driver’s license, he is required to register OUR car on his registry listing, which makes public, the make, model, color and plates of our car. This may seem trivial to some, but to a vigilante our car becomes a target, regardless of who is driving it.

Those who think the list is “no big deal” need to learn what  lifelong ramifications the registry carries, before “the list” becomes a reality for someone you love.  Don’t make the mistake of believing “It only happens to other people” or that “bad things only happen to bad people”.  People affected by the registry now number in the millions, rich and poor, all races, young children up to the elderly, no one is exempt.  If these laws are not changed it is only a matter of time before it becomes far more personal than any of us could dare to dream and believe me, it is a nightmare that you struggle to awake from with every ounce of your being.

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