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.

Sexual Privilege...who Pays Depends on Gender and Economic Status

Sexual Privilege...who Pays Depends on Gender and Economic Status

Bill O’Reilly was forced to leave Fox news under the same pressure as his former boss, Roger Ailes. Both were accused of sexual harassment by numerous women who worked at the company. Both received multi-million dollar bonuses as they left. The company also paid some of the victims to make the claims go away; others like former newscaster Gretchen Carlson have brought civil suits.

Anita Hill testified in 1991 about Clarence Thomas’ penchant for pornography and his lewd advances. Despite the allegations, Thomas was given a lifetime seat on the US Supreme Court.

A former Oregon Governor admitted to sexually abusing a teenaged neighbor of his for at least a year, while he was mayor of Portland in the 1970s.  The victim died at age 49 a few years ago, after a history of substance abuse and mental illness.

Today, Donald Trump is president, despite his having boasted during the campaign about his forcing himself on women and grabbing them in the crotch.

No criminal charges derived from these actions. The lesson? If you’re a powerful male, you can afford the best defense and the criminal justice system will mostly look the other way.

Meanwhile, the rapidly increasing female inmate population is alarming, because many of those imprisoned have a history of drug use, domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Despite its advances in technology and the standard of living, its apparent that the social and moral standards have not changed from the earliest days. Recall Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter? The minister gets no punishment for his affair with Hester Prynne. She goes to jail and then must wear a red A on her clothing for the rest of her life.

 

 

Bully Pulpit to the Bullpen: “Forget about Forgiveness!”

Punishment...Get Thee Behind Me...