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.

Sex Education, A Community Inquiry

Sex Education, A Community Inquiry

There are two problems when it comes to sorting out how a community deals with errant sexuality.

  • First, anyone who is convicted of a sex crime is shunned, and finds it a humbling, shaming experience to try to earn a way back into society, even after serving their time in prison.

  • Second, sexuality is flaunted in our society but seldom discussed. As a result, sexual crimes continues to flourish - in families, in sports, in colleges and in businesses.

In the next year, we’re inviting communities in Oregon to take a step towards better education and fewer sexual assault. There are three steps:

  • Send a questionnaire to community leaders (legislative, judicial, corrections, treatment, academic, reentry, social services) that asks about the current experience with returning sex offenders, their treatment and process of social reintegration

  • Schedule a community discussion, in which the issue of sex offenders and prevention of further sexual assault

  • Continue to work with those and other communities to initiate strategies to increase public safety while lowering the number of sexual assaults.

Please let us know if you have ideas you’d like to share on these topics.

Darkness Before the Light

What Ever Happened to Sex Education?

What Ever Happened to Sex Education?