This link takes you to a website for a group called “RSOL” or “Reform Sex Offender Laws”. Basically it’s a group that believes that the current crop of laws in America that govern the prosecution of sexual offences are draconian, misguided, violate people’s rights and, at worst, constitute child abuse themselves.
Thanks to groups like NAMBLA, who campaigned for the rights of men to have sex with little boys (nope, not kidding, Google it) I am always highly sceptical of groups that say they want to change sexual offences laws.
But after looking through the declaration itself I was surprised to discover something:
RSOL appears to be absolutely correct.
First off they state categorically that adults should not have sex with children (woo hoo! myth fucking busted!). Then they move on to laying out the various ways that current laws in the US (and the UK, Australia and other countries) are used to demonise people only accused of crimes, even after they are found innocent. They are also used to make it impossible for sex offenders to receive effective therapy that stops them from re offending or helping them re enter society.
In fact many of the people on the sex offender registries are there for things like public urination, or in some states HOMOSEXUALITY!
And let’s not even talk about teenagers “accused” of consensual sex acts who are then put on offender registries as child rapists! :(
Let us further ignore young children who are placed on sex offender lists because they had the audacity to play “doctor” or innocently kiss their first girlfriend.
Regular readers will already know my stand on many of these issues.
But this post is actually meant to be about some truly brave people.
Check it out:
Dr. Richard Pillard (psychiatrist)
Fred S. Berlin,MD,PhD (psychiatrist, sexual trauma researcher)
Sherry Robinson (adolescent counsellor)
Rev. Edward Hougen (minister)
Rev. Margaret Hougen (minister)
Brenda Stoddard (teacher)
Karen Michalak (school teacher, mother of sex offender)
Toby Bartels (teacher)
Dr. David Pratt (counselor, educator)
Andrew Verrijdt (educational psychologist)
Terry Flowers (minister, pharmacist)
Rev. Marian Tetor (priest)
Pam Turner (elementary school worker, wife, mom, Christian)
Sheryl Bishop (registered nurse)
JoEllen Wiggington (concerned therapist)
Dr. Nancy B. Irwin (psychotherapist, writer)
Patricia Brandon (school district employee)
Catheryn Burkholder (teacher)
Those represent a tiny number of the people who have signed the RSOL declaration. I am pointing them out because they are all people who are in positions where they work with children, or near children, or something. They all know that when people Google their names the first thing they see will be the Reform Sex Offender Laws site, or one of the numerous hate sites that have sprung up to mindlessly attack RSOL, without even reading the declaration.
Many people will automatically assume that these people are sex offenders themselves, or have somehow done something wrong, when all they are doing is expressing an opinion.
Whether that opinion is correct or not is irrelevant. Expressing an opinion can NEVER be wrong. That’s what freedom of speech MEANS. Yet despite that many people will be sanctioned simply for speaking out on a topic that they believe in.
And now I’ve signed it too, knowing that when people search for my name RSOL is one of the first things they will see.
This was not an easy decision. But the idea that I should be prevented from speaking out on something I believe in (something that is aimed at HELPING children by protecting them from being prosecuted as adults or persecuted for normal sexual expression) simply because I am afraid that the witch-hunt mentality that infests our sexual discourse will damage my career is absolutely abhorrent to me.
What these people are saying is RIGHT, dammit. And even if they were wrong there is nothing wrong with standing by your beliefs. So to all those who signed the RSOL declaration: I salute you.
[Standard Disclaimer: this post was entirely my own opinion and was not paid for in any way, directly or otherwise, by anyone or anything that stands to gain in any way from the ideas expressed herein.]