Why do I write?

By Sandy . . . Over the past almost ten years, I have written many editorials and expository articles based on things that are happening in the world of our advocacy, especially things involving consequences of being on the registry. Looking back at our archived Digest copies, the first one I find there in which I wrote such a piece was May, 2012. The subject was the plight of registrants who were homeless due to residency restrictions. This is a subject about which I have continued to write over these years.

Another topic on which I have often written are situations where registrants are excluded – from homeless shelters, from emergency shelters, from parks, from their children’s schools, from government programs, and from consideration of early release from prison due to Covid. I’m sure I have overlooked a few.

There have been too many to count about Halloween restrictions and how they are applied in various states and jurisdictions and the ridiculous, sometimes unconstitutional, sometimes bizarre requirements they place on registrants. In the too-many-to-count category also are pieces about the media regarding their biased rhetoric, lack of factual information, and twisting of the facts regarding sexual offense issues; pieces about legislation that is lacking in constitutional basis and further punishes those who have paid their debts to society, and pieces about residency restrictions in general.

I have written and published pieces by others about situations where registrants, after the completion of their sentence, some many decades after, were denied something due to their registry status – the law student who was not allowed to sit for the bar exam, the singer who is not even on the registry but has an ancient misdemeanor conviction for inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor, the actor whose scenes were cut from the movie when his background became known, the baseball player who was shamed and whose career was destroyed, the artist whose art was banned from a museum, and the father denied entrance to the hospital room where his critically ill young son was crying for him. (Written by my dear friend Lenore Skenazy.)

Also are the individual situations that I consider a miscarriage of justice – the mother who was convicted of facilitating a sexual crime because she could not stop her teenage son’s relationship with an older woman, a 14-year-old put on the registry for sexting, a Purple Heart recipient who was denied the gift of a home because he was a registrant, and those expelled from a ministry and home where they have lived and served for years because a town decided that a park that had been there also for years was now a children’s playground.

Every piece published elicits comments and emails. Most are favorable and complimentary. A few are not, and their theme is always the same: I am too negative; I write only about bad things; not everyone on the registry suffers injustices; not every place has residency restrictions or Halloween restrictions; why can’t I ever write about good things; people need hope and encouragement.

If the criticism comes in the form of an email to me, I answer it. Generally, I say that I do write about favorable situations when they come to my attention. Favorable situations are most often in the form of court or lawsuit decisions, and analyzing those is not my forte’; Larry does that quite well.

If criticism is to be helpful, it makes one think about the situation. Why is almost everything I write a “downer,” as some have called them?

Why?

NARSOL has a project that showcases registrants who are doing well in their lives, who have something positive to share. It is called Humans on the Registry. The project is virtually dormant; after the first initial applicants, a few more have trickled in, but the trickle has slowed considerably. So, first reason to my why? – almost no one lets us know if they are doing well. They probably don’t want any attention brought to them. Our new project, Lives on the Registry in video form, will, we believe, fare better.

Our mission and our advocacy are to create change. To create change, one must show what is broken, what needs changing. So, second reason – I am showing what needs changing.

I write “doom and gloom” pieces because that is what I am sent. My writing derives almost exclusively from two sources: media pieces, which are virtually always about negative situations, and personal testimony, either put as comments on our blog or emailed directly to me. For both of those, I contact the writer and ask permission to use their story or, in some cases, work with them, edit what they have sent, and publish it under their name.

This is the case with the currently running Special Edition feature on our blog titled Shame, the powerful story of a daughter’s life with her father, who is a registrant. As soon as Part I was published, I received the usual complaint: This is so negative. Why is that all you publish?

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but that is what I am sent. These are the people who need their stories told. When people send me positive stories, I will – and do — write about or publish them. When the media writes that a jurisdiction in Texas has removed its “safety zone” restrictions around schools so that registered parents can participate in their children’s education, be assured that I will write about it.

I think, however, that the bigger question is not why I write what I do but why I write at all.

So many do not have a platform from which to be heard.  I write as their voice.

So many are bound in the chains of prison, enforced restrictions, and discrimination. I write that they may have freedom.

So many are victims of false perceptions, lies, and unfair generalizations.

I write as their truth.

Help us reach more people by Sharing or Liking this post.

Sandy Rozek

Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

  • This topic has 2 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 3 weeks, 1 day ago by Robin Vander WallRobin Vander Wall.
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    • #80278 Reply
      Mark
      Mark Thompson

      Good piece. Engaging and rich perspective.

      • #80356 Reply
        Avatar
        Brenda Carroll

        Thank you for this piece and for writing as the voice of so many. My son is a registrant, and it helps to know that people like you and NARSOL are fighting against this unfair treatment and shaming. Until my son went through the court, prison, and now registry process, I was not aware of how ineffective and inefficient the system is. I am lucky, because my son persevered and made the best out of his bad situation. I am so proud of the man he became, but so sad that now that he has served his whole sentence, and is no longer on probation, that he is still being held back by the registry requirement. He is eligible to apply for removal from the SOR in 2025, which will mark 10 years from the time he was released, and 15 years since his arrest at 19 years old, for a crime that did not involve any physical contact. He cannot effectively move forward with his career, marriage, and life until he is removed from the SOR. He didn’t harm anyone physically or emotionally, yet on the SOR, everyone listed is considered a threat, and many others like him are not any threat at all. The registry is diluted by so many people who do not need to be monitored, that it makes it hard to identify the ones who are a real threat to the community.

    • #80283 Reply
      Avatar
      q

      How about the mass killing of innocent people disguised as covid19? What’s to say this wasn’t all just a coverup to specifically target people who were/are a threat to the state, such as the cases of the falsely accused that went to trial?

      2020 was more than it seemed…

    • #80296 Reply
      Avatar
      Brad

      Keep going Sandy, I like to be informed that I’m not alone in my ow struggles with survival. From your stories, my thoughts and frustrations become more real through validation from other people’s stories of survival. I’m not imagining how insane lifetime probation sounds to me. I hear how insane it sounds from those around me I feel safe enough to share with.

      NARSOL in its entirety, covers the good and the bad, gives hope, and shares the progress of it’s uphill battle to help the oppressed. Yes, I don’t like a love story that ends badly, but this isn’t fantasy, this is real. I have so many things that go through my head, NARSOL does bring me some hope. Sandy your stories are depressing to some, but I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in my own struggles. Thank you for your stories you write, I’m forever grateful there is someone like you that has the courage to write on what i believe to be such difficult matters.

    • #80297 Reply
      Avatar
      Greig Llewellyn

      I for one want to thank you Sandy, for all you have done and are doing on our behalf.
      People in our situation need and want a cathartic way to express themselves. I am not alone, is what you have written, tells me! As for the negative, well we deal in the everyday of it.

      What I am forced to be represented as, does not define me, or any of us.

      I served 10 years day for day in a Texas state prison system on 14 different Units. If that’s not Hell, I don’t know what is.
      But you know what, in all of that, God was always with me. Better jobs, better housing, better friends, better protection, good health, added education.
      No agencies help you when you get out as a Registered citizen. What’s offered to other Felons is not available to us.

      However, my Church, and it’s membership welcomed me back and lifted me up. I was re-baptized and just recently had my Temple blessings restored and the Priesthood. I have been in a wonderful relationship with the sweetest woman I have ever known, who I plan to marry in September of this year. She knows what I have gone through and loves me anyway.

      The Florida county I live in treats me firmly but fairly. I have yet to have a compliance check in 14 months. I register quickly, twice a year and that’s all there is to it. Believe me, I’ve had it worse in other jurisdictions since I got out to the Free World in 2013. I have been truly blessed in the last six years. It just takes time and a plan to get things going. I have a wonderfully supportive brother who has stood by me all this time. We have maneuvered through all the unjust restrictions over the years and have a Handyman business now.
      FAC and NARSOL are the the best, of which I am proudly a member of. I pray 🙏 for all your efforts Sandy. God bless you all!

    • #80312 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall
      Admin

      Thank you, Sandy. Like all writers, you work with the material that’s available to you. To anyone who complains about what you write I say this: “Go read something else, for God’s sake! OH–and if you don’t have anything good to say, STFU!”

      We appreciate you, Sandy, and I am thankful for your devotion to the work you do, to NARSOL, and to the tens of thousands of people who are unable to give a voice to the pangs of their hearts and the thoughts of their minds. God bless you!

    • #80311 Reply
      Avatar
      H n H

      So, will a moderator please reply to this post? Why isn’t NARSOL following the fight going on overseas in Germany as it directly relates to the registry and civil commitment? Right now on the “Common Sense Laws” channel of the tube of you there’s an individual going to the United nations in Japan over our sex laws, actually fighting for us! I’ve brought this up on 2 separate occasions, this is the 3rd. Why won’t NARSOL cover this? I’d like to think everything we fight for, all the pain and misery being made known worldwide would be front page news, but…. crickets.

      Can someone please explain this?

      • #80314 Reply
        Robin Vander Wall
        Robin Vander Wall
        Admin

        H n H — I’ve no idea how frequently you have begged this question, but if no attention is being paid to what you perceive as worthy of our attention, my suggestion would be to contact us through email and not through a comment on a blog posting. If you would like to bring this to the immediate attention of someone on our volunteer staff (and I stress, VOLUNTEER), then I suggest you send this information to contact@narsol.org or communications@narsol.org. This is simply not the place where you are likely to get the engagement you are seeking (except from other people who are commenting on a blog posting).

    • #80331 Reply
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      R.Arens

      You’re not being a downer. Until the war is won, all one can do is fight the good fight.

    • #80373 Reply
      Avatar
      q

      We’re all joining the effort to make known what’s happening to PEOPLE in this country. Not just names on paper but real people. These injustices are being challenged by regular American citizens who put their own lives and careers on the line. Many who have to say goodbye to their old lives…and even some who’ve actually lost their lives.

      So if you’re able to fight, fight on.

    • #80832 Reply
      Avatar
      Perry

      Go Girl! Keep Writing, because I need you to do so. Keep Writing. because those Idiot Crooked Lawmakers, Crooked Judges, Crooked DA’s , Crooked Cops, and yes even those ‘Crooked Media Stars’-and we know who some of them are-will keep on piling on because in the end for them, it’s all about MONEY!
      Nuff Said!

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