Women Against Registry offers valuable support service

By Serena Solomon . . . Vicki Henry sits at the desk in her two-bedroom duplex on a recent Sunday morning and adjusts her phone headset, which she has nestled on hair with a deep magenta tinge, a rare bit of pizazz for the 72-year-old grandmother of three.

Everyone else in Henry’s working-class neighborhood of Arnold, a southern suburb of St. Louis, is probably at church or finishing up a pancake breakfast with the family. But Henry is on the clock for a job that pays her nothing.

She wears a baggy red T-shirt with “Women Against Registry” and the acronym “WAR” embroidered on it in white thread. Henry runs WAR, an organization whose goal is to abolish the public sex offender registries that exist in every state.

She dials a phone number that showed up as a missed call on WAR’s support line, which receives dozens of calls each month from registrants and families who are in search of emotional and practical support. A woman named Ramona answers. She has spoken with Henry before. Henry asks Ramona for permission to put her on speakerphone so I can ask her questions, and Ramona agrees, asking that I use only her first name to protect the identity of her family. . . .

The WAR support line, Henry says, provides a rare, judgment-free opportunity for family members to verbally process the mixed emotions they have after a loved one is convicted of a sex crime. Other callers are registrants themselves, like the military veteran who was distraught because he feared his children would be bullied if their school friends discovered his name on Virginia’s registry. Another asked for legal advice after an airline refused to let him, his wife, and his children board ahead of a long-planned vacation because of his sex offender status.

Read the full piece here at Vox.

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    • #67084 Reply
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      NorthEasternPenn

      Vicki Henry is a wonderful and very caring person. I have had the pleasure of speaking with her several times on the phone and in email correspondence.

      With my personal permission she has forwarded a few of the calls of registrants or families of to me – mainly for moral support and to ask me questions. These are persons that have just been put on the registry or family members of those.

      I follow her online at her website and am a member of the forum there.

      She is very understanding of our lives as registrants and how it affects us and our family and friends. She strives very hard to get others to understand by educating them in the realities of the registry. I donate what I can as I can even if it is only a few dollars as ever penny helps when added up from many registrants etc.

      Vicki, thank you for everything you and your organization do to help us. We so much appreciate it.

    • #67294 Reply
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      Cecilia DuVall

      My son is on the registry, and it has been an absolute roller coaster for our family. My son lives with us because he has had numerous financial issues, including several medical problems that his insurance did not cover. We are helping him with his bills. My daughter lost her dance studio due to the fact that a disgruntled ex student (granddaughter of a sitting Judge) posted a mugshot of my son on Facebook, and rather than trying to hold onto her business, she filed bankruptcy and almost had a nervous breakdown. She loved her students, but could not deal with the aftermath of that revelation. A court date coming up will determine if he goes to jail, or not. I am a devout Christian and believe with all my heart that God’s justice will prevail and he will be allowed to remain on probation. He is a Type 1 diabetic with diabetic retinopathy, and would not survive a jail term.
      I am definitely going to support Narsol, War, and a local organization, Arkansas, Time After Time. This registry insanity has to stop. It’s amazing how someone can commit a murder, serve their sentence, be released and their re-entry into society goes on without a hitch. The registry does everything it possibly can to make sure “sex offenders” are haunted by their “crimes” for a lifetime. They are basically in a 24hr, 365-day virtual prison, along with their families, especially in our case, where our son lives with us. I will become an activist against these archaic laws.

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