Not all sex offenders should have to register. The laws have become so broad in defining what constitutes a sex crime, that many young people, who would probably never commit another offense, are on the sex offender registry probably for life. Many people who are Level 1 sex offenders are not a major threat to society, but they are persecuted by others who do not know the nature of the person’s crime but assume they are insane, depraved monsters. Once a sex offender has paid his or her due to society, he or she should not have to suffer persecution for the rest of his or her life. The chances are that someone who has committed a sex crime has been persecuted to the extent that his psyche has been warped into having these desires. Further persecution would probably exacerbate these desires and foster more violence and hatred in the heart of the offender.
Human societies have always severely punished sex crimes. In the Bible, adulterous women were stoned by men who claimed to be righteous. However, it is quite possible that some of those men had slept with the woman. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, Hester Prynne was forced to wear a big “A” on her dress for the rest of her life and live on the outskirts of her Puritan Village. These were the sex crimes of the past that were severely punished; today, we think we are liberated sexually and would never put a big “A” on a woman’s shirt if she committed adultery, but nonetheless, we have no problem spewing our hatred and righteous venom on a sex offender whose crimes we do not know and who might not be a major threat to society.
The fact of the matter is that not all sex offenders pose a major threat to society, and many would never repeat their crimes again. Many may have been lied to by the “victim” about her age and have learned their lesson. What good does it do to publicly humiliate them further? If they want to improve their lives, the constant fear of being exposed and ridiculed by their community will only cause them to withdraw and possibly even worsen their condition due to a lack of human contact. Being monitored so closely by being required to update where they live and where they work may help the community only if the sex offender has proven to be a dangerous and immediate threat. As it is, many sex offenders have trouble finding apartments and are often forced to move around because people assume that they are monsters that will do something terrible at any opportunity. That is not always the reality, and those on the sex offender registry who are low risk are denied basic rights from being broadly labelled.
Unfortunately, many unsavory sexual predators are not on the registry. This reveals the hypocrisy of our society with regards to this issue. One wonders if it is more about protecting children or if it has something to do with the collective repression of shame and guilt. Not as many children meet their predator in the park as in the home. Yet, people always say that protection of children is their top priority. It is always the abuse “out there” they would claim. They are excessively concerned with all the predators wandering through the park when sexual abuse of children often occurs at the hands of relatives and other close family members. Their zeal is only short-lived and situation-based. When it comes to the family, if family ties are stronger than the need to press charges against a stepfather or an uncle or aunt, they will suddenly become silent and deny the obvious sexual abuse of a child they publicly proclaim as a great evil. Thus the sex offender registry contains lesser offenders involved in “sexting” and urinating in public parks, but not a real child predator who abuses close family and remains hidden due to twisted loyalty.
Society’s religion is always “love the children!” and “protect the babies!”, but put the sexually abused child back in the womb and we change our tune to “abortion on demand!” and “it’s a woman’s choice!” How can the sex offender registry really be anything but sham if we as a society sanction the murder of these same children when they become an inconvenience? How can people make the claim to love and want to protect children and then suddenly turn around and demand the right to kill them when they pose a limitation to their circumstances? All the sex offender registry shows is that society seems to thrive on collective violence and persecution and hide behind their claims of love and concern for the security of children. The child they love and want to protect from monsters is the same child they would tear limb by limb in another scenario, thus proving that anyone can be a monster and the more you find it easy to label someone else, the more you probably have some work to do yourself.
The sex offender registry, though intended to protect children, has become modern society’s witch hunt. It is an outlet for people who may have repressed sexual issues or skeletons in their own closets to focus on the mistakes of another person and feel better about themselves. Like sex offenders, all people make mistakes, but unlike sex offenders, people can get around them and unfortunately this is sometimes due not so much to virtue, as much as circumstances, experience and knowledge. All people have faults and, therefore, should not be so eager to reveal other people’s shortcomings. If many people were forced to reveal every emotion, every desire, and every impulse they had, then suddenly there would not be a sex offender registry!