Not a monster
I feel the exact same way as you. Been 25 years now. Im 46. Consensual, one time incident. Victim was 15. Did NOT want prosecution, says he feels awful what happened to me. His Aunt did not like me and it was she who pressured the DA to prosecute. Got a year probation in a plea to a misdemeanor but a LIFETIME of living hell. Im a Mom who has raised 4 wonderful children and taken in others whose home lives were sheer hell. No prior convictions and nothing since. I thank God I am a woman, as its usually made a joke of. I have been lucky enough to have an understanding husband to take care of me because I simply cannot get any kind of job to support myself or contribute. I smoke like a fiend as to ensure I don’t outlive him for I am so frightful of the future. I am scared shitless of most kids. I pick my youngest daughter up from school and I panic being around so many. I have done my best to keep trying to have a somewhat normal life. It simply is not possible to ever move on or live the American dream of being whatever I wanted to be. Everyone does background checks and the humiliation, the sneers, the rejection, the wondering who knows or who doesn’t, the constant fear my child will suffer fallout of immeasurable harm if other kids find out and she too, will suffer for something stupid I did one day 25 years ago. I have contacted the “victim” now 40 to apologize if I had hurt him in some way. He told me I had nothing to be sorry for, that it was he who was sorry. Is this really the best we in America can do? The disgust I feel being lumped in with violent rapists and those that molest infants and small children can not be expressed in words. I often wonder what my life could have been if not for my youthful stupidity. Ive never spent a second in handcuffs or jail in the traditional sense, but my home is ironically my prison and my refuge from a cruel world. Beaten and put in foster homes as a kid, alcoholic dad..the ONLY true bright spot has been my 4 wonderful children and the others I took in when their home lives were a living hell. ALL of them have turned out wonderful, intelligent, responsible and hard working, caring people. One even works as a prison guard for the local jail. I have MORE than paid for my mistake. I took responsability for it and never a day goes by that I don’t dream of being able to go back in time and change that one thing. No matter how much good I do, the outside world only sees the one bad mistake and assume the worst. I was never a threat to anyone, except myself.