Amanda Hess has written a brilliant piece about the re-emergence of public shaming using the tragic example of a father's punishment of his daughter. For disobeying a house rule, he filmed his cutting off her hair, chastising her all the while, and posted it online. She was only 13, unable to deal with the humiliation, and she killed herself.
Hess then takes us back to the days when public shaming was the norm, into more modern times when it fell into disfavor and disuse, and forward into our electronic age, where it has emerged wild of eye and fierce of tooth.
I was struck by some of her phraseology. "Online, your shame can move instantly from your father’s cellphone to every important person from every stage and aspect of your life. And if you try to move on, your offense can be dialed up on Google and replayed for future acquaintances to see."
"...social media has found a way to integrate total strangers in the shaming process. Digital villagers are no longer relegated to the sidelines; online, everybody gets a gavel."
"...the only thing that some Internet gawkers know about you now is this one jerky thing you did."
Substitute the registered sex offender for the disgraced teen, the sex offender laws for the father, and the world for...the world, and we have in a nutshell the destructive power of the public registry.
Approximately 95% of those on the registry will never commit another offense. An unknown but significant percentage have families, are raising children, and are doing so with the entire world looking on and condemning them for what was, for a great many, that "one jerky thing" they did. Even when the offense went beyond the jerky category, years of living a law-abiding life and doing everything possible to fit into a society all too ready to reject them counts for nothing as long as their names on a public registry shout to the world that they are dangerous and have to be watched and tracked and monitored, often for the rest of their lives.
Public hangings and pillorings faded from public usage as the reality of community changed and as the public lost their taste for such barbaric acts.
Those who use the Internet today to shame and disgrace a child who is in disfavor themselves risk the tide of public opinion--and even the law when they have gone too far--turning against them and condemning them for their actions.
But those on the registry remain. Against all facts, against all evidence, the public registry remains. The ultimate public shaming tool remains.
Excellent and ooohhhh so trueReplyDelete
B.S.!!! Sex Offenders have nearly a 98% recidivism rate. It is like animal instinct to them, and it won't stop until we pass mandatory castration laws. Our group is petitioning the US congress to do just that! Things have gotten way out of hand and the only thing that has been proven to work is castration.ReplyDelete
Just the fact that you are anonymous says so much about your lack of integrity.Delete
"Sex Offenders" are NOT all the same. A person urinating in public could be categorized as such. Your thought process is very ignorant. There is also no such evidence to your recidivism rate calculation. I pray that you never break any law...any where...any time.Delete
LOL !!! Anonymous is wonderful. If it weren't for people like this, we would all live a boring life without any need to provide evidence of any claimed fact. Our society would be free to impose any punishment upon anyone without any need for proof for any perceived infraction and there would be no need to defend their actions because it is something they believe, whether true or not.Delete
Troubling as the assertion is, Anonymous has only that to cling onto, the assertion. When challenged, this person and every person believing such is found to be lacking both logic and supporting fact.
I'm long past getting upset by idiotic statements like that. That's the way it is. Even the United States Supreme Court has disregarded fact in favor of perpetuating fear and myth to rule in favor of harming innocent human beings because they are associated in some way with these people who factually are actually less a risk to society than most other offenders. Evidence all over the place is now coming to light which proves this.
I wonder though, when it comes time for the person calling him/her self Anonymous to be evaluated, what secrets will be found. That's what is worrisome. What is that person doing that they need to make such outlandish statements to keep attention focused on the least likely to re-offend?
Oh, by the way... I'm going to post as Anonymous for the sake of providing some legitimacy to the title. LMAO
So much pity for someone like Anonymous and his group of misinformed people - there will NEVER be a mandatory for castration - what a joke!!ReplyDelete
Great analogy. Very helpful article.ReplyDelete
This one is for the previous anonymous, if we follow your logic, then when a kid steals a candy we should chop off his/her hand? When someone gets a traffic ticket we should take away their license forever? A jaywaloker, cut off his/her feet? And be aware event the Dept of Justice recognizes recidivism rates among sewx offenders are lower than any other category of criminal. Do some research or don't comment!ReplyDelete
IS THERE A LAW THAT REQUIRES OFFENDERS TO REGISTER ONLY 15 YEARS ? AND NOT LIFE ?ReplyDelete
Depends on the state; some have different requirements for different levels; some are essentially for life regardless.Delete
THANKS FOR YOUR INFO BUT I AM ASKING ABOUT A LAW THAT WAS PASSED A YEAR OR MAYBE TWO AGO THAT REQUIRED OFFENDERS THAT WERE ON LIFE REGISTRATION TO REGISTER ONLY FOR 15 YEARS AFTER BEEN RELEASED OR TERMINATED PROBATION . DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS LAW ?ReplyDelete
No, I don't. What state was it in, or was it at the federal level? Maybe another reader will have more information.ReplyDelete
I don't understand. With consequences so severe, how do these crimes continue to happen?ReplyDelete
What's the solution? Legalize CP (what about voyeurism)?
Is the recidivism rate so low because the sex offender has now experienced the shame of the registry? Would the abolition of the registry increase recidivism and eventually escalate to the CP offender physically harming a child?
What good questions! No, legalization of CP is not a good option. What is called CP needs to be refined. A scantily clad 16 or 17 y-o posing provocatively--no sex; no force or coercion--shouldn't be labeled CP; there are other situations that shouldn't--teens exchanging pics of body parts, for example. The re-offense rate for sexual offenses has been the same for many, many years, long before the registry went public. Studies bear this out. It is largely the shame of being caught and having to own up to and deal with it. The literature calls it "one-trial learning." Some studies show a benefit to a private registry. No studies show any benefit to public notification, so that also answers part of the last question. Most studies show no relationship between viewing CP and hands-on offenses against a child; however, offenders who choose random children they do not know as victims--a rare occurrence--are more likely to also possess CP. Thank you for reading.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your reply.Delete
I agree that CP should be refined as you have described.
I concur 10000%!ReplyDelete