Saturday, April 13, 2013

What Is Best for Abusers Is Also Best for Victims

Debate is going on in the Oklahoma legislature about toughening current sex offender laws. This is all connected with increasing required time of registration to lifetime for many on the registry, and that is all connected with a move toward becoming SORN, or AWA, compliant. 

Both sides are being heard, which is encouraging. One opinion, printed yesterday in the Muskogee Phoenix and titled, "Victims first, sex offenders second," ends with this appeal: 
"But rather than making state legislators worry about a sex convict’s ability to return to a normal life, the convicts should be thinking about whether their victims will ever be able to return to a normal life."

First, a victim's ability to return to a normal life is not dependent on the outcome of the offender. Ask Elizabeth Smart. Ask Jaycee Dugard. Ask Jacob Wetterling's mom. Ask other high profile victims and thousands of low-profile ones who chose not to remain victims and who chose not to benefit from their positions of victim or family of victim, and they will tell you that their recovery depended on themselves.

Secondly, we must stop seeing what is best for victims and what is best for former offenders as two separate things. They aren't. It isn't either-or. Research and experts agree that what helps former abusers recover--ability to find employment, find housing, have access to counseling and community services, ability to stay connected with family and community, ability to re-integrate--are the very factors that reduce the risk of recidivism and work toward public safety, less crime, and fewer victims.

It really doesn't seem to be a difficult concept.


1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure about this. It seems like some people would get over something like this easier than others. I don't think it's just as easy as saying, I'm over it. I do know people that whine forever about stuff that happened to them, like they were the only ones who ever got hurt. I guess what I'm saying is that no two people are going to react in the same way.



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