Shame

By a daughter seeking kindness

Part I: How it started

If you have a parent or sibling convicted of a crime that requires them to have their name with personal information listed on a sex offense registry, you at some point will almost certainly be in danger or shamed beyond comprehension. I have suffered silently from shame for 37 years, and I will no longer do so. I am speaking out about how everyone has treated the daughter of a person who is a registered sexual offender.

I am America’s example of constant shame. If you share the same DNA with someone on the registry, prepare to put your amour on as you will need it. I have endured situations no one should ever go through as an adult, let alone a ten-year-old child.

This is my personal story of shame and miscommunication. I ask you not to respond to this article with any negativity. I shouldn’t have to defend myself. I hope to encourage families to cry out and share their stories explaining the cost of having a loved one on this hit list.

I call it a hit list because the act of putting personal information accessible online for anyone to have makes it exactly that. Family members, those related to registrants, especially those living with registrants, did nothing to deserve the fall-out that results from public registration. It opens the doors to angry neighbors, to those filled with hate, to vigilantes, and to scammers of every sort.

The beginning of my story has deep roots.

As a child, I watched someone I love suffering from the after-effects of the Vietnam war where he saw unspeakable things, things that can never be unseen. The child that I was, of course, understood none of it except the resultant shame. My dad had a mental breakdown in 1983. The term posttraumatic stress disorder was in its infancy, and its connection to war conditions and horrors would come too late to help my father.

My dad was accused of doing something awful that no one could comprehend, not even him. He has no memory of the crime they say he committed, but he was a military man, a law-abiding military man. Due to his mental illness, he did not dispute the charges, so he served his time in prison. I had no idea then of the abuse my father had endured; we were always hushed when we asked questions. I know now that he suffered abuse in childhood, in Vietnam, and in the hospital. I know now that my family members themselves were struggling with what happened and did not know how to communicate such an accusation against their dad to young children. I was the eldest of four.

I am tired of people telling me I play a victim’s role. It’s judgmental, wrong, and psychologically damaging. I lived through the Vietnam War in my home, years after its ending, and now I am living an American War called, “Let’s shame people until there is nothing left of them.”  We will shame people until we destroy their homes, their workplaces (if they are lucky enough to have one), their families, even until they ultimately end their own lives.

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  • This topic has 1 reply, 1 voice, and was last updated 3 weeks, 2 days ago by Avatarnobody in particular.
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    • #79392 Reply
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      H n H

      Wow, you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding everything sex offense related… Shame. The awful word that everyone loves to throw around at everyone to make themselves feel better about their own private misdeeds. I read an article recently about a girl who at 15 yrs of age used a racial slur in a post online. Somehow that crept up to her life in college and she was expelled for it. Now how does that work? She could have had sex and someone somewhere would find a way for it to be a crime and she would be lofted up to the pillars of someone who was victimized, but the words she says are used against her for more public outrage? What sort of logic is that? Isn’t she just an innocent victim of an undeveloped brain?

      People like you are a downright rarity, you show integrity, and those who love to shame won’t be able to stand the truth of the facts you’re sharing. We need so many more people like you to stand up to politicians to point out the damage these laws create. Of course, the powers to be have no interest in doing anything that won’t get them reelected. We aren’t fighting against a system built on principle, honesty, or what’s right. Everything we fight against is for someone’s reelection campaign so they can keep their cushy payroll.

      I don’t condone eliminating the age of consent, but I do strongly agree that we need a more rational understanding of what constitutes a “crime”. At what point does the shame of a trial and everything related to the victim become more harm than what actually happened to begin with? We legislate body part a touched body part b and don’t give one single regard to anything else. The system is built on finding victims, whether they’re real or not. Damn be the “victim” as they are only a means to an end to further the shame system so we can get another felony conviction, and everyone in the system wins… Judges, courts, jails, prisons, court reporters, parole/probation officers, registration, the yearly drivers license requirements… This isn’t to mention the the win/win situation for the system if they ever find a SO in violation of anything. Yeah, the victim has to live with that for the rest of their lives… No wonder there are blanket DNC orders between parties involved in these crimes? There is no forgiveness and none to ever be sought after. Rather only misery and shame. Eventually the forgiveness goes away and the only thing left is the shell of a life the system destroyed… By then, how does anyone recover from a 1 second unwanted touch a 15 yr old initiated herself? How is this “Justice” or “protecting the public”?

    • #79402 Reply
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      nobody in particular

      Thank you for sharing this. I think that one of the worst consequences of the registry, and these increasingly dehumanizing “sex offense” laws and policies, is the nightmarish impact on those related to, or in any way associated with the offender/accused. In fact, even psychologists who simply work with individuals who commit ‘sex crimes’ are percieved as if they were interacting with literal lepers, and may somehow be ‘contaminated’. For so much talk of ‘victims rights’, and ‘protecting the vulnerable’, and ‘rehabilitation’, very little regard is actually given to all those affected by this hostile system. In fact, rather than attempting to promote healing, or ever resolving anything, instead this culture *celebrates* and *exploits* victimhood, with an almost spiritual vehemence. It takes a lot of courage to speak out about the reality of being so close to someone on the registry, and even more strength in refusing to *forever* play the part of the victim everyone so passionately wants. Again, thank you.

    • #79549 Reply
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      A Mistake They Made

      Thank you for speaking out against this horrible machine called the Sex Offender Registry!

    • #79951 Reply
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      Josh Faciane

      Powerful post. These “laws” are draconian. They are so disinterested in taking the time to actually categorize sex offenders and determine if anyone actually belongs on it or not. Not everyone committed rape or molestation. I agree to a certain extent for registration but not every crime is a sex crime. How can someone who viewed illegal pornography, something on a computer screen have harmed someone? Where was the physical harm done? If it was downloaded from a torrent site, never paid for it, never distributed it and only viewed it in the privacy of their own home considered a threat to society? I’ll never understand this rationale. The issues are deeper and the law, government or whatever is too lazy to determine if this person is a legitimate threat so they use this HUGE umbrella of Sex Offender and slap a label on you. Never considering the harm done to that persons family. But yet they want to protect the children and at the same time harm the children of the offender. Hypocrites much?

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