All in Myths & Bias

Heartbreak and Hope

I heard that story and dozens more at the `10th annual NARSOL (Nat'l Assoc. of Rational Sex Offense Laws) conference last week. Aptly themed "The Road to Independence", the conference was held outside Cleveland, in Independence, Ohio. The title also pertains to the difficult road those on the sex offender registry face. 

Eclipse Thinking

As the eclipse approached totality, people's minds shifted away from difference. Under the spell of nature, we became united in awe and wonder. We went a little bit pagan, feeling humbled by the magnificence and the magnitude of our solar system. Our squabbles quieted in concert with a hush that fell everywhere. The birds and bees landed and watched. The flowers blinked too, wondering whether this day would return and sustain them.

The Lust of Youngsters: Today, Romeo Would Be a Sex Offender!

There is a silver lining for the young man, too, but it's a thin one. In order to get out from under the sex offender label, he must be drug free, and crime free for five years. He must visit his probation officer regularly, and be subjected to urinalysis. And he must complete sex offender training. (I told her to tell him that shopping for the right treatment provider is like shopping for a counselor, or a reputable car dealer.)

I’m not an apologist for college athletes who flaunt their stardom with criminal behavior. They should definitely be held to account for their crimes. In the same way, we should not forget what college baseball star Luke Heimlich did to that innocent child when she was six and he was 15.

But there must also be a limit to how long sex offenders are further criminalized by the public after having served their time, after having completed treatment. As a society, we must find a way to allow second chances, lest we be judged by the same yardstick.

Supreme Court Reverses Sex Offender Conviction because of Racial Bias in Trial

Racial bias is “a familiar and recurring evil” in the criminal justice system, said a US Supreme Court majority last month.

One of the jurors in the Colorado case was a former law enforcement officer who, during jury deliberations, uttered a number of statements indicating his bias."…blatant racial prejudice is antithetical to the functioning of the jury system and must be confronted," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

Myths & Bias

Myths and bias create deep division between humans. To achieve equality and mutual respect, it is crucial that we separate falsehoods from facts.

The myths about sex offenders abound. Men do get convicted of sexual crimes almost 10 times more than women. However, it is a myth that women do not commit sex crimes. It is sobering to learn about the prevalence of women as abusers. 

It takes a long time to form habits and bias. It takes desire and some time to change those things.