In Puritan America, a married woman’s illicit affair with a minister landed her in jail. After her release, Hester Prynne was sentenced to forever wear a big red “A” on her dress. 

Nearly 375 years later, the U.S. continues to be scandalized, tantalized and perplexed by sex, especially about sex offenders. Tough on crime, we’re still struggling to learn: 

  • Why domestic violence and incest are so under-reported by victims? 
  • Why most people think every sexual offender is a serial rapist? 
  • Why, even among therapists, many continue to believe sex-offenders to be untreatable? 
  • Why supervision after offenders’ release tends to-wards punitive rather than restorative? 

It’s time to bring the subject of sex crime out of the dark ages, time to help victims shed the shame and trauma of their experience. It’s also time to allow offenders an opportunity to show they can change, make amends and start to earn back trust and acceptance from society.

Who Are the Offenders?

Who Are the Offenders?

Yes, there are pedophiles. Yes, there are serial rapists and murders. But their numbers are few compared to less sensational crimes. Far more numerous are those, reported and not, that are committed by family members on one another, by caregivers and by people in power who demand sex in return for job security and promotions.

Offenders, basically, are a lot like you or me. They span all age groups, from juveniles to seniors, men and women (and gay and lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer). Some are wealthy and some poor. Some are able bodied and some are not. In the U.S., the majority of sex offenders are white men. That doesn’t mean that there are none from other backgrounds and cultures. The thing they have in common: all of them make mistakes. Most of them live to regret it and “sin no more.” 

An interesting statistic: those convicted of sex offenses reoffend at a lesser rate than other felons. Not only are they less likely to commit another sex crime, they are less likely to commit any crime.

 

 

Treatment & Practice

Treatment & Practice

Myths & Bias

Myths & Bias