Forgiving My Sexual Assailant

Watching the recent Royal Wedding was a fantastic event with an important message about the power of love. The sermon delivered by Micheal Curry was a sudden change from centuries of royal tradition and protocol. Curry said, “When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more.” It was a stark reminder that sometimes our world seems consumed with finding fault that we forget about forgiveness and pursuit of discovering happiness.

Now that the sermon of love and treating each other as family, friends, and neighbors are quickly forgotten and instantaneously abandoned the media. Those hell-bent on spreading hatred and negativity are right back on the front pages of our lives. Despite if you embrace spirituality or not for the sake of finding a decisive moment, there will be plenty of pessimistic viewpoints with an agenda of destruction before actually introducing forms practicality, reason, and forgiveness.

Recently I read It’s OK to Tell: A Story of Hope and Recovery by Lauren Book. While I am sensitive to what Lauren talks about in her book I felt she was more focused on her political and social ambitions than taking care of her situation. It seemed like a story of hate rather how to cope or find tranquility. After all, self-help books should mention how to overcome trauma. Yes, it is okay to tell someone about abuse, especially over a period of time. However, it is vitally important to take care of self in the meantime. I guess Lauren is in the business to advocate for herself with an agenda so she can speak for other sex assault survivors? She certainly doesn’t speak for me because I refuse to re-sell my body or experiences as a cash revenue flow.

When I was sexually assaulted at eleven years old, I was threatened never to tell anyone, or I would have violence committed against me. That is what I was told. The sexual assaults kept occurring for several summers and other kids my age knew because they briefly saw what happened. Did they share my story to help me or come later in life during the #metoo movement? No. They kept that secret deep inside for their own personal fear or sense of virtue by not getting involved. I kept the secret of my assault for over forty years. When I finally told someone, I was relieved filed with all sorts of wild emotions. But over time I learned to let go and move on because I indeed wasn’t alone.

Instead, my message to others was to learn to become your own advocate and voice. Merely telling someone is the first step. The second step is taking care of self because that step will become the longest journey to identify how you wish to proceed. Instead of making it a lifelong mission to profit off of my personal injustice, I decided to go on with my life and focus on who and what I want to be. I don’t wish to live in the past or dwell upon an event that isn’t pleasant to me or anyone else. Mainly, I became a forgiving person without having to find a special relationship with my God or higher power. Instead, I found the ability to move forward and continually seek guidance from professionals. A lesson learned moment is to invest in self instead of exploring how to take from others.

A valuable lesson for me about sexual assault was that I didn’t know how to say no or how to disappear from situations. During my childhood, as many others experience in schools today, is a matter of survival to keep from being physically harmed. Somewhat like a school shooting where people play dead to avoid being shot by an active shooter. I mentally played “dead” during my assaults to survive. However decades later I learned to get past the anger, self-pity, sadness, mood swings and isolation to become forgiving, engaged, upbeat, self-assured, but most of all compassionate. I basically learned to love again and definitely know how to assert ‘no’ for my own advocacy. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does get better and repeating the story becomes easier.

Maybe Rev. Curry is right. Perhaps we should take a look at ourselves and the value of love. I certainly have to love myself to love others. I think it is ultimately essential to lay down my weapons of hurtful words, personal agendas and disgust for past actions thinking it will buy me a renewed life? In the religious context, Jesus certainly didn’t sue or condemn those that propelled objects during his Via Delorosa on his way towards the crucifixion. I cannot do the same to those that witnessed the crimes against me and the person responsible that sexually assaulted me. Instead, I choose to let go, forgive and move forward sharing my story so that others may learn freely learn from it. Doing so makes life so much more optimistic and worth living.

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If the Sex Offender Registry Ended Tomorow

What if the U.S. Supreme Court miraculously ruled that sex offender registries were unconstitutional? First, the major news networks would be in meltdown mode. I am confident that cataclysm based voice commentary would involve Ron Book, John Walsh, and cameo appearance by Nancy Grace would be in order. Police, politicians, school boards, and outraged registry supporters would behave like a Kanye West moment during Hurricane Katrina.

A recent web traffic study of the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry shows most searches of the website disclose a higher portion of commercial viewing than individual users. That indicates the registry overall is a business instead of a service to the community. Virtually citizens outraged at the registry termination are service-based organizations that provide traffic content. Which brings me to my first examination. Private registries such as Homefacts or other similar websites would scurry to improve its databases to unofficially track former registrants creating a new private fee-based registry. Criminal background service providers such as Truthfinder.com and others would begin building apps to connect with social networking quickly identify not only sex offenders but other felonious acts to lump in as a part of its services. It is not registries that are the problem, but private services are acting as registries with misinformation or expired data. The threat of private registries would be equivalent to a credit reporting agency relying on data ten years or older. Most disturbing is when these same service providers insist individuals pay to update what the company should keep current. And we wonder why we have so many problematic scams of misinformation in America? Because this data is not protected by the Fair Credit Act, many unsuspected “consumers” would be accidentally uploaded by name mixups or other collected information creating a false report of individuals. It is the hype of individuals such as Book, Walsh, and perhaps Grace that instigate a fear that danger always lurks around the corner. As long as lawmakers listen to these “unqualified experts” there will always be a justifiable need for misinformation and panic.

Congress and states would have more money to spend because it would no longer have a registry requirement. However, count on your elected leadership finding ways to spend newly discovered funds to make matters worse. I anticipate a sudden reaction in ancillary spending towards keeping specific laws intact such as residency restrictions, being on school or daycare property and discovering clever ways of identifying offenders without a registry. I do expect legislation to be introduced for passport and driver license expansion to include identifiers for all former registered offenders. Again, never assume with panic organizations where one victory suddenly creates twenty additional problems. The courts will eventually be clogged with too many lawsuits to count. But, this is the giant registry at work with more legs than a centipede.

As for the judicial system, it could be the straw that breaks the camels back. Prosecutors and judges would begin implementing lengthy prison sentences as a replacement to plea deals for lesser sentencing. Judges are incredibly aware how to use the registry as a weapon. Otherwise without the registry prisons would be at peak population counts. Without the registry do count on higher civil commitment rates because all those so-called political appointed psychology boards have to “protect their jobs”.  These commitment boards will suddenly panic as to what to do with offenders if they continue to believe that sexual offenses cannot be rehabilitated – naturally, they are appointed to think that way. As long as prosecutors and judges remain elected officials, there will invariably be a promotion of fear-based rhetoric and the need to escalate that fear even if civil liberties are jeopardized. Proof that the registry was never information based but planned punishment.

Lastly, kiosks would suddenly emerge requiring instant background checks to enter buildings, companies, organizations, or public emergency disaster shelters as a miniature quasi-registry with complementary sticky name-tags to wear that you passed its self-imposed quality restrictions. Implementation of kiosks would demonstrate consternation and expansion of criminal based information perhaps purchased from the same unofficial registry websites with outdated data. Naturally, to correct the issue individuals would be in the crossfire of misinformation being forced to pay to correct information that shouldn’t have been public in the first place? Do count on companies and organizations to be sued for wrongful information based on false or inaccurate information being shared. As always, there will be a nice disclaimer to say “this organization is not responsible for incorrect information” and to call another organization to straighten out the fiasco. If kiosks aren’t bad enough, then it may be safe to assume facial recognition is the next wave of information sharing. But the best bizarre standard may be similar to the airport Global Entry standard. Those with a background check based card similar to the REAL ID act would gain quicker access than those that don’t. It wouldn’t surprise me if this implements sooner because it is already being discussed with particular lawmakers?

Does all this imply that the registry needs to remain? Certainly not. It does suggest a peek into the proverbial future that California and the rest of America created. The registry beast will ultimately find its reach grasping innocent victims, family, friends, and advocates combined with misinformation no different than the Hillary Clinton Pizzagate scandal. Politicians with greased palms accepting Book or Walsh dollars with falsity with “consulting” and exclusive paperback deals may be the real injury as to why homeless, jobless, prison rates, major crimes, and other economic problems have risen – and continue to increase. However, if humanity will take a leap of faith to help assimilate offenders back into society rather than a registry requirement, they may quickly discover that homeless, jobless, prison rate, major crimes, and other economic worries become lessened with better opportunities and outcomes.

Patty Wetterling once voiced her concern about the registry. But her voice was dismissed as consumed by the giant enterprise of the registry to squelch any opposition and voice of reason. I have calculated my investigation and analysis of perhaps what the world will be like if the registry goes away. In fact, I find it may be more dangerous because politicians and opponents enjoy selling fear and anxiety. However, I tend to reflect more of the powerful words borrowed from Colin Powell saying, “If you break it, you fix it!

The registry is broke and breaking the bank of economic stability and primary rationale with Ameican culture. It had proven to be no more effective today than when it was implemented. It is convoluted, harmful to families, and swallowing up innocent bystanders under the guise of behaviors sometimes not closely associated with rape or violent offenses. The only beneficiary to the registry is companies and individuals that use the registry for its benefit. Individuals that visit the registry, if they can find the correct one, have mentioned feeling less educated or informed because of the lump sum mindset. It is a mammoth service that provides no service to any community and offers no real protection. Typically it is the person not on the registry that one should be concerned with. That is not a hint or suggestion that the registry works. That would equivalent to when an impaired driver gets behind the wheel, gets arrested, have his/her license revoked until court appearance, posts bond, only to drive back home still under the influence and continue driving back and forth to work on a suspended license. I see that the DMV registry is sarcastically impressive. The bottom line is that no registry is useful. What is effective? Law, evidence and a plan to deal with repeat offenders.

Lastly, adding specific laws to the registry requirement further creates a constructive culture of recidivism. What was once black and white to understanding registry requirements are replaced with black and gray content with ambiguous meaning. That is what lawmakers have created, and the registry continues to administer as a broken database of tiered information. This colossal effort of spending and identification in hopes to reduce specific behavior has not matured but expanded into an enterprise business. The registry provides sole benefit to a select few overstated commentary advocates, fear-based advertisers, careless data content providers, and a few attorneys career obsessed with tales of removing people from the registry only to have those reinstated because of retroactive legislation. Even if the registry ended tomorrow, the struggle to regain identity would be an uphill climb because of hostility and resistance towards a failed experiment. Despite police officers being relieved of sex offense monitoring allowing more officers to patrol streets abandon logic and consideration. It’s the opponents that would be out of business and have the ambition to create further harm by selling a new potion claiming it will keep a community safe. Perhaps the best safety and slaying the giant is to meet my neighbors no longer hiding because of registry requirements actively engaged and involved in my neighborhood. We don’t need an app or registry for that – and it will save me and my community a lot of money!

Protect and Serve

Law enforcement careers are perhaps the most difficult to maintain. Many criminal and civil matters require attention and proper procedure. Over the past few years, our nation has witnessed a severe decline in public trust and confidence in typical police situations. Personally, I have respect for the badge but losing faith in how specific police procedures were and are handled. Deep down I am attempting to replenish my soul with support for those that wear the badge to keep my community safe by being an active advocate of my community. But I question if law enforcement, in general, has become too large of an enterprise business to handle the population for which it serves?

Decades ago the Los Angelas Police Department introduced the motto, “Protect and Serve.” That slogan was designed to serve as a mantra to regaining public trust within its community by maintaining a constant relationship with its people. Other law enforcement agencies began to implement the same slogan as a uniformed message that its department too, is accountable to the community. But I have a serious question about the literal belief of “protect and serve?” Isn’t Protect and Serve a universal statement of equality to servicing the community? There are programs to keep kids off the streets funded by many police agencies. But what about plans to prevent felons, first offenders, the homeless, mentally ill, sex offenders, race relations, LGBT, or other programs that make up a community? There are a sprinkling of departments that implement such programs but rarely do law enforcement agencies indeed protect and serve equally. The fact is that police have a business plan to surveil, investigate, create sting operations, traps and sometimes entrapments to snare wrongdoers. Wouldnt it be more cost effective and efficient if that protect and serve motto was put to the test to reconnect with the community and find some answers or redirection methods? Isn’t that what sociology and criminal justice degrees are intended to facilitate?

Perhaps a reason that law enforcement has grown and social worker jobs have declined is because there is a business model in place to keep offender growth high levels. It seems somewhat humorous that when a police chief speaks to a community about how its department has helped reduce crime, there always seems to be a motion for more money and resources for the growing threat to “out of control crime” in the area. It is somewhat like having a sale on an item only to mark it down but suddenly raise the price claiming the thing is about to run out. It is an amusing game that citizens should take a more significant look at.

Let’s face facts, police departments are too big and widely overfunded. Officers cannot be social workers, mental health physicians, community outreach, therapists, cat rescuers, and homeless advocates at the same time. But that is the design Americans have developed and wonder why mental health is a back burner? But law enforcement can be a resource to help facilitate and redirect to those programs. That is where protect and serve can be put to practical use. Instead of harassing sex offenders about homeless situations or where they can live or work one would think that protect and serve mantra would help an individual to assimilate to the community. Instead, police have unintentionally created its own barrier to communities by using rhetoric such as, “if you didn’t commit that crime you wouldn’t be in this situation.” The fact is that citizens help pay the salaries of police officers are sometimes the very ones left behind because nobody is protecting and serving that part of the community. To me, that is one of the reasons there is a low level of confidence with police. An officer substantiates and determines credibility by using a police check rather than trying to connect and find common ground. If police departments want to save some money, replace protect and serve with I only protect and serve if it comes over the radio. At least that is more realistic to today’s cultural standards.

Law enforcement is the first line of duty and protection of a community. Decades of growth and planning have increased agency funding taking away from social workers, qualified therapists, and dedicated physicians. Perhaps its time to trim police budgets and put that money into programs that help transition a community in need. Funding social worker agencies can and will help reduce recidivism rates. There should never be a fear of a badge to help another human being. Removing that badge and replacing with a listening person without an agenda that could lead to criminal charges is an excellent first step and reducing our enormous prison and probation population.  Maybe now is the time to reassess protect and serve by allowing those with better qualifications to do their jobs rather than police.

A Wonderful Friend That Happens to Have Aspergers ​

I have a wonderful friend that I am proud to say is different than any other friend. He is the most honest person I know and isn’t afraid to give his unscripted opinion when asked. Sometimes when he is nervous, he will wring his hands in a motion similar to hand washing. There are some that can tell he is a bit different than most because of his vocalization delivery. His attention to detail is nearly to perfection which I admire. However, there are occasions when planned events can quickly deteriorate because something has changed or is no longer readily available. My friend has Aspergers, and to me, he is undeniably one of the best, and most honest friend anyone can have.

 

I never made an attempt to pick up and read a book about Autism or other spectrum-related issues. I think my reasoning for this is because becoming immersed in friendships or relationships sometimes cannot be found in pages. Instead, the beginning stages are listening and picking up on visual and verbal cues. If I ask, “what is wrong,” I will most certainly receive a critical and authentic response. That response shouldn’t be interpreted as my fault or suddenly changing my ways to accommodate another. Instead, it is a learning process, and once he understands my traits, habits, language, and cues, then it is assimilated as only identifiable to me. To me, that is indeed a special gift to have and receive. To have another accommodate to your habits is perhaps the best gift anyone can get.

 

A few nights ago my friend was pulled by police for “acting suspicious” while driving. I received a cell phone call in the middle of the night on his speakerphone. He was in a panic because of the flashing strobe lights and spotlight directed at his car causing vision inabilities. I tried to keep him calm as I could hear the officer in the background that kept interrupting his replies. The one thing I could overhear by cell phone was the officer saying, “you gave turn signals at every intersection and was driving under the posted speed limit.  Have you been drinking?”  That is when I heard the worst reply, “yes. I had soda at a friends house.”  The officers’ tone changed and sounded unamused followed immediately with, “step out of the car.” This is when I could no longer hear anything because he was experiencing a field sobriety test for possible driving while impaired. I felt so powerless because I knew he was honest, but the officer was using an opportunity to seek another agenda without probing to understand autism spectrums or other underlying issues.

 

Later I began to investigate how law enforcement could be better educated with regards to autism or other mental health issues. I learned that some states allow identifiers on driver license such as medical conditions to include autism spectrums. I can see the benefit of implementing a such as program, but I have some reservations. What if that volunteered information becomes a weapon for further discrimination, including employment, housing, and medical care? Or better yet, what if the police or first responders disregard the information citing other policies. Arent we becoming a bit more “registry minded” thinking that alone will solve our problems? Another issue is that registries and volunteered information don’t educate the public or police. Sometimes it creates additional stigmas that everyone listed has mental health issues and shouldn’t be driving or allowed a license. That is the perception I gathered while doing some investigating.

 

 

As for his police encounter, he ended up being surrounded by other officers to witness a field sobriety test. He was exceptionally nervous because the officers created a crowd feeling around him. The lights, strobes, and random loud police radios blaring from vehicle speakers jolted his every move. His experience, according to his own words, “was traumatic and overwhelming”. His hands would wring in a motion of cleansing as if he was reliving the experience all over again.  Today he doesn’t want to drive because he relives the wording etched in his memory,  “I followed the law and was told that I was driving too well.” That was all I needed to hear and understand how others seize opportunities to intimidate others with the power of a badge – even when there are no conditions to warrant such a stop. He was eventually let go, but the fear and heart elevations raised red flags because his eye pupils were dilated from being in fear – which officers wanted to arrest because of suspicion of drug use. During a search of the car for drugs, officers disconnected his cell phone, which was a reason I couldn’t hear anything further.

 

Upon reflection of that particular situation, I could almost feel the helplessness he felt combined with the anxieties and overstimulated effects of lights, noise, and intimidation. For that one split moment, I could somewhat understand the life of autism spectrums in that particular moment. I don’t claim to be a credible person in the field of mental health. However, it alerts me towards better advocacy that sometimes those of power take for granted to exploit to gain control. Such abuse of circumstances frustrates and annoy me. It makes me wonder how many others with PTSD, autism spectrums, depression, or other mental health issues are being criminally charged or erroneously imprisoned because of “convenience” for those investigating? I suspect a study will determine that America’s prisons are filled with more mental health-related issues than actual criminals. It’s tough for someone with an autism-related issue to look towards the respect of those wearing uniforms and badges as once admired individuals only to have the tables turned against them for being honest by answering constructive yes or no questions.

 

Nevertheless, I still have a wonderful friend, that happens to have Aspergers.

The Decade​ of the Sexual Diet

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Growing up I often would hear euphemisms “Batting for the other side instead of homosexual” or “Sleep together instead of having sex.” Within that context, I would often hear the words, “badass,” “Um-hum,” or “go for what you know.” American culture lives deeply rooted within a complex system of worded slang.  Pop culture reinforces such slang with mature body language or subtle nods to perhaps relieve a labyrinthine of situations replaced with instantaneous vocal and verbal cues. The approach is somewhat universal and inferred. However, under the increasing scope of the #metoo movement, slang, and body cues are being dissected and interpreted as nonconsensual.

Throughout Hollywood film culture there have been iconic films such as “Fast Times At Ridgemont High,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Porky’s,” “Risky Business” and many others. Within each of those films, there were instances of consensual and nonconsensual situations with many body cues and generational slang. However, the audience understood and interpreted what went too far – or did they?  If those movies were released today, there would be a sudden outcry about victimization and statutory offenses. Naturally, there are generational interpretations combined with visible cues to assert yes versus no. However, to understand that one would have to be connected to that particular generation to fully understand.  Based on the #metoo movement and its thin-skinned assessment it may be safe to conclude that Fifty Shades of Gray would be renamed to Black and White?

There was a time during the early days of television and film where two people being in the same bed was strictly forbidden or taboo. Yet that particular generation understood what two people in the same bed meant.  To American culture, there appear to be two divisions where religious or upstanding citizens demand immoral behaviors to be censored or disguised in hidden suggestive content. The other side wants a more realistic portrait of everyday living society ridding of the racy content. Somewhere along the way the two intertwined and began demanding its own social media script revision campaigns thus the interpretation value has become convoluted. The same euphemisms, slang, metaphors are mentioned without leaving a viewer to interpret what is right or wrong. Usually, the next day film and social critics begin hammering out its agenda on how artistic value creates moral complications or sets the stage of assaults. Actually, its movements and critics that do more harm to the value of art because its film, television, music, comedy, and novels that paint a colorful picture of the real complicated world we live in. There is no such thing as black versus white because humanity was not intended to all react in a unifying manner.

Rather than look at the present, specific movements want to exploit the past to make its case and how it affects the present. That does have a ring of truth. However, history proves to be circumstantial and passionate. It has its language and consent standards based on that particular period. For example, the soulful and teasing song Drive by Melissa Ferrick how to beg and reject sexual advances all at once.  Let’s not forget the iconic Rick James and the bouncy hit Give It To Me Baby where the lyrics exclaim “I’ll make you holler if you’ve had enough.” In fact, the period where rape was identified during the Rick James era was leaving bruises, visible marks, and scars. Today simple consent seems to be withdrawn after the act is over because the thought has set-in. It may sound far-fetched, however, this is the current generational ground zero because of influential critics with ambiguous interpretation and imaginative view.

Anyone with condoms tucked away in a drawer thinking about STD’s or safety conscious are characterized as predators by today’s standards. Additionally, one-time hookups could be interpreted as the sexual hunter or assholes that must be dealt with if he/she fails to return texts or calls. It is so overly complicated that even the most consensual sex could potentially unravel and become sexual assault within seconds based on the wording, verbal cues, body language, and failure to use proper words. Essentially, gone is the days of passion and sexual appetite. Social movements have set out the unforgiving scales of shaming and placed us all on sexual diets.

A Silenced Minority

Educators usually say the most essential pillars of successful outcomes are a caring community of learners, enhancement of the learning objective, and reciprocal relationships and transparency to facilitate both sides of an issue. When it comes to an understanding, sexual offenses or those impacted by the registry, there is only one side because those that can contribute meaningful dialog are conveniently excluded or not allowed to voice objections or grievances.

I recently watched an interview with Derek Logue of the oncefallen.com website. During that CNN interview, the host interviewing Logue decided to become the loudest voice exclaiming unsubstantiated data and personal opinion rather than a dialog to understand opposing viewpoints. Logue posted on YouTube, “not my best interview,” but at least he presented a moment to introduce a differing opinion and voice. In another interview between Logue and Dr. Drew, Drew interjected his personal opinion rather than facts or supporting data that seemed more of a blindsided attempt to dissuade future opposing views. For starters, I have never met or spoken with Derek Logue, but I do congratulate him for at least standing up and advocating for a silenced minority.

But fast forward to those impacted by the registry. Why do we have tent cities, individuals living under bridges, homelessness, split families due to registry requirements, refusal for admission to disaster shelters during times of emergencies, closed internet access for offenders, and other issues? Perhaps it is due to the sensitivity of sex allegations/crimes. But those that do the reporting have no problem splattering a #metoo protest leaving no counterbalance. This discriminatory path allows sex offender advocacy a back seat on the bus endangering and hindering the lives of those attempting to go on about their business – or at least be heard? It is because sex offender advocacy can be a dangerous business.

 

An interesting observation about advocacy is that those affected by the registry don’t want to be further identified or already suffer from mental anguish from various reasons related to registry laws and restrictions. However, media sources have plenty of opportunities to investigate, educate and inform the public of consequences but introduce a one-sided opinion presenting no chance of culmination. A reason the voice is small is primarily that society claims to want a life of transparency and a return to productive lives – as long as it cannot be seen or heard from again.

That leads me to the question where opposition or advocacy is under attack from those that differ from a particular viewpoint? A disturbing indication of legislative and judicial censorship is a case where the OnceFallen.com website is under legal attack from those with opposing views. It brings to mind those accused of sexually based offenses but not criminally charged. Are they financially sequestered and squeezed to the point of collapse because of personal agendas? Will advocates endure the same fate? Is there that much of a threat in a democratic society where discourse is bullied or under legal threat by those with a personal agenda to silence viewpoints?  It is highly alarming and disturbing because isn’t that what the First Amendment is all about?

In 1992 the Innocence Project was created to help facilitate and reopen cases where those found guilty of specific crimes were tried based on bias, false evidence, or testimony. Many cases were identified as false convictions, and that number increases today. Of the cases undertaken by the Innocence Project more than 350 cases have led to those convicted of being overturned and freed. What if the Innocence Project or OnceFallen was much more extensive and had equity voice within mainstream media? Those 6000 or more cases could find irregularities and patterns of injustice. This is not to ever imply that all convicted offenders are innocent. Instead, the dialog is that justice is not a rash form of litigation. After all, homosexuals convicted of sodomy in California or other consensual acts were eventually overturned many decades later. Those affected still feel the sting and scars of injustice being labeled as sexual deviants without a simple apology to the LGBT community. What about those wrongfully accused or convicted at the convenience of prosecutorial plea bargains primarily aimed at the poor, helpless, and difficult to defend based on he said – she said testimony?

Perhaps prosecutorial immunity should be revisited, and qualified immunity should be reconsidered. There is an apparent abuse of power based upon personal prejudice that must be addressed. Afterall, the need for transparency, a caring community of learners, enhancement of the learning objective are the pillars of justice under the law of democracy. Exposing the truth instead of opinion should be the sole basis of law and advocacy.

The Uncivil War On Sexuality

The sex offender registry and draconian laws aimed at offenders has destroyed lives of individuals and families. Today a new form of offender registration has transpired. This new offender registry creates life sentences using the internet as its delivery method carefully skirting libel and slander policies under the blanket of free speech. Naturally, this is not a registry, but social movements are utilizing social media platforms to quasi-create a public registry with no hopes of being removed or deleted, and it’s creating more harm than good.

A recent news segment mentioned an R&B superstar named R.Kelly. Kelly is one of pop music’s best-selling artists, with hits including “Ignition,” ”I Believe I Can Fly,” ”Step in the Name of Love,” ”Same Girl” and “Bump N’ Grind.” He has also written hits for Celene Dion, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga. He was acquitted in 2008 of child pornography after a video circulated appearing to show him having sex with a teenage girl. However, as he continued to score hits and sell out stadiums, more women have come forward in recent years accusing him of sexual misconduct. Kelly had been scheduled to be among the performers at popular concert venues but was dropped as efforts by organizers of #MuteRKelly gained attention with support from Hollywood’s Time’s Up campaign. Overnight Kelly has been the target of an issue 10 years old creating a delayed response or condition. Many are wondering if the #metoo campaign has gotten out of control?

Society is witnessing improved tactics to create and facilitate registry styled methods using constructive hashtags and meme styled photos comparable to police lineups. All these methods are protected by free speech rights. There are disturbing trends with guilt by association tactics using political individuals seen in pictures or appearances with individuals accused but never charged with sexual improprieties in guilt by association tactics. The same strategy is being used on individuals as a result of news and information shifting from regular publishing sources to social media.  Social justice movements have designed strikingly similar registry models by combining low-level offenses with significant offenses presenting an appearance of guilt for anyone mentioned. Additionally, to be associated with the accused, guilty, or suspected has created a panic based fear that will eventually become more violent as anger and social stigma increases. Does this imply that we should stop listening or supporting Elvis Presley because he dated a 14-year-old girl? Moreover, does it suggest that hearing or being an Elvis fan makes you a supporter of statutory rights? The question is, “when does the conversation begin?” or is this electronic vigilantism stirred by social movements with no real agenda or cause? Are freedoms of choice under assault? Arguably there is enough evidence to present a spiraling out of control agenda with taking no prisoners mentalities. It is excessively dangerous with no end in sight.

If the sex offender registry was not enough to restrict movement and liberties, then the internet has an interesting way of making life nearly as difficult for those not on the registry. Spotify and Pandora are sizeable online streaming music services. They recently removed artists from its collection where fans must search for specific content. Movies starring accused or guilty offenders have been quickly removed from major content providers. Art has recently been removed from galleries because corporations or entities do not wish to be spotlighted with pressure from social movements. Most interesting, social movements or mob justice campaigning efforts are shaming those that listen, watch, or support such artists. That has many inquiring who is the bully or aggressor in this case? It has become an uncivil war on sexuality.

Social movements do attempt a subtle effect on placing the spotlight on specific issues – and should be commended for bringing a problematic issue forward. However, at the same time, such causes have a responsibility to educate and allow occasional discourse to remedy problems from becoming out of hand.  Those that differ should have an opportunity to be heard. Sex offender registries have harmed individuals, families, and supporters. The same stratagem occurs with social justice campaigns damaging artists, fans, companies, and the innocent. Just as offender registries lump all into one category, social movements are incidentally and sometimes purposely doing the same creating additional harm because emotion and sometimes interpretation is a contributing factor. While #metoo and #timesup campaigns initially were valid, that effect has morphed into anger, antagonism, and losing focus on the opportunity for open dialog and discussion. Maybe its time to stop and take a moment to #ListenToMe where a constructive dialog helping shed pain, frustration, and integrity are reintroduced?

In my #metoo experience from my childhood, I have learned how to cope, educate, forgive, and advocate for myself and others. What seemed like years of pain was a reality of several instances. I cant spend my entire life with an agenda to destroy another person because I want justice. If anything, sharing my personal experiences openly and candidly is the real #metoo movement. It is vital so that victims do not feel alone and non-victims become educated advocates.