Others who have been through such an experience have used it as an impetus to action and advocacy. However, such an experience also produces tunnel vision. It isn’t sex offenders who have been forgotten, as the title of the Fox news item suggests. Every media source that can throw the term into a headline does so. Every politician who wants to increase his chances for reelection writes a “get tougher on sex offenders” law.
No, it isn’t sex offenders that have been forgotten; it is children who have been forgotten. The vast majority of children who are victims of molestation or any type of abuse are not victims of registered sex offenders; they are victims of those who are close to them in their lives. And they are indeed forgotten and ignored in the mad frenzy to push former offenders further and further from society.
Cornett says, “…sex offenders are coming out of prison every day….We need to get back on track. We need to get out there. We need to start doing the neighborhood notifications. We need to bring this into the schools.”
This is tunnel vision at its worse. How will this focus on former offenders address these facts?
- According to FBI statistics, less than 1% of abducted children are victims of a registered offender.
- According to the Office of Juvenile Justice, stranger molestation of children—not even RSOs, just those not known to the child or family—comprise between 2 and 6% of the total with family and acquaintances making up the rest.
- According to all sources, sexual abuse of children comprises less than 10% of all abuse, and virtually all other abuse is at the hands of their caregivers, not registered sex offenders.
Yes, we need to get on track. We need some portion—any portion—of the money and resources dedicated to tracking registered sex offenders diverted to awareness, education, and prevention programs that will help save children’s lives. What we are doing is criminal. What Ms. Cornett is doing is, possibly, well-intentioned, possibly even understandable, but criminal.
We aren’t ignoring sex offenders. We are ignoring virtually every child in America who is being abused and molested.