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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » should serial rapists be freed? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: should serial rapists be freed?
blackbird
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Well, should they? I just read this article that talks about how a man who was convicted of raping three women in 1978, was released in 1985, raped one woman, assaulated another and thrown back in jail. Now he's in rehab since his prison sentence is over and state law states (according to this article) that he can be kept off the streets since he poses a threat to society.

But why was he released in 1985? Should anyone convicted of being a serial rapists allowed to ever taste freedom again? They didn't state anything about him receiving rehab in prison since his original convication.

I'm wondering though..especially since it wasn't that long ago when a Vallejo girl was missing. They said on the news that she lived in a safe neighborhood and then later on said that there were 80 registered sex offenders within a two mile radius of her house. That confused me on what really constitutes as a safe neighborhood.

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Iluvpunkguys
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I don't think serial rapists should be allowed to be released from prison. Sex crimes are one of the most heinous crimes you can commit (in my opinion). I think if they are released, they should have to live in a community with other rapists so therefore they are less of a danger to the public. If I had it my way, sex offenders would rot in jail and die there.

Ashley

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LilBlueSmurf
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Whoaaa ... Why do you feel so strongly about this, Ashley? Is there a specific reason?

I think w/ some rehab, they should be allowed out of jail. But they should defineatly be watched much more carefully than they are, and should be kept away from people who can't defend themselves (disabled, children, elderly ...)


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Dzuunmod
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Why are sex offenders so often seen as being worse than (or just as bad as) murderers? I mean, really, which is the worse crime here?

Any society that proposes locking someone up and throwing away the key (or, for that matter, strapping 'em down, and throwing the switch) as a solution to anyone's problems is a society that I personally want nothing to do with. If the convict in question hasn't shown any improvement in their behaviour, and it's widely agreed that they'll likely reoffend, then that's one thing. But, to say from the get-go that they should never be "allowed to ever taste freedom again", isn't the sort of thing I want to hear from my Justice Department.

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Iluvpunkguys
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quote:
Originally posted by LilBlueSmurf:
Whoaaa ... Why do you feel so strongly about this, Ashley? Is there a specific reason?

The only reason I feel so strongly about this is not because I've had a sex crime committed against me, but because sex offenders can be some really sick people who commit some heinous crimes that noone should have to live through.

Ashley

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Dzuunmod
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Well, Iluv, I think that while that may be true, it's probably true for people who commit other types of crimes, too. And who's to say that they can't be rehabilitated?

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camryn
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Serial sex offenders shouldn't be released unless they've had extensive rehab therapy while in prison. In most cases this is the only thing that stops a serial sex offender from reoffending. Prison terms themselves don't work any miracles.

Also, there was no reason for the "Whoaa..." LilBlueSmurf people can feel strongly about this issue without ever having been a victim of sex assault themselves.


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John Doe
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What about serial muggers, burglars or armed robbers? Do prison terms stop them from reoffending when they get out?
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Etch
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My step brother has been labelled a sex offender since he was 15 years old for molesting a 9 year old girl. And my mother and psychologists believe he molested me as well (all i remember was a little flirting when i was 11) He was on probation and went through extensive counseling for 4 years. Did any of it help?

No

At the age of 19 (about two years ago) during a regular unscheduled search of my step brothers room an entire burned CD of child pornography was found.

You might be saying that pornography is nothing compared to actually commiting an act against someone, but it isnt. First of all we dont know if that is all he did. And second, what about the poor little girls in that pornography? They could be dead, or living in some horrible situation that my step brother is helping to perpetuate by owning that pornography.

Sex offenders are labeled as such for the rest of their lives for a reason. Just because they are not in jail does not mean they arent condemned for life. Anyone can find out if he is living near them, and it can cause major troubles in his future.

Do i believe that som can be rehabilitated? Yeah, sure. But why take the chance?


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girly2499
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quote:
Originally posted by Dzuunmod:
Why are sex offenders so often seen as being worse than (or just as bad as) murderers? I mean, really, which is the worse crime here?

I'm not the one to say which is worse but people who were raped and tortured can be stuck in therapy for years and years after it happens and no one deserves the things I've heard about on the news and such. I really think that sex offenders should be in jail for life in some circumstances. But, that's scary about the number of sex offenders in a "safe" neighborhood.


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camryn
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John Doe, in comparing serial rapists to burglars or muggers you are seriously underestimating the longterm effects of being a victim of a sex crime.

Maybe you should check out the prisoner statements in the Human Rights Watch report on male rape in U.S. prisons to get some perspective on impact to the victim.
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/prison/voices.html

This crime can be soul destroying for the victim who must not only deal with the emotional fallout of the assault but also the physical effects of the crime (at the very least - possible exposure to STDs).


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John Doe
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Camryn,
thank you for the link, I think it eqeuently makes part of the point I was trying to make in the Date Rape thread. The situations discribed are especially horrific since they happen over and over right under the noses of the authorities, which know all about them and do nothing to stop it. A victim in that situation knows that each night as he goes to bed it could happen again, and there is nothing he can do to stop it.
I do agree that repeat offenders should have to stay in for a long long time. thats what the 3 strikes laws are all about. But victims of other violent crimes also suffer for a long time afterwards. People whos houses have been burglarized often feel deeply violated and unsafe in their homes, people who have been mugged are afraid to walk the streets at night. Rape is a serious crime and should be dealt with seriously. This is particularly true in the strange in the dark alley with a knife scenario, where the criime is clear cut, and could not possibly be a case of miscommunication or morning after regrets.

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Dzuunmod
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quote:
Originally posted by Etch:
Sex offenders are labeled as such for the rest of their lives for a reason. Just because they are not in jail does not mean they arent condemned for life.

Do i believe that som can be rehabilitated? Yeah, sure. But why take the chance?


Saying that "sex offenders are labelled as such for a reason" doesn't acknowledge that laws and societies can change.

And as for "tak[ing] the chance", well, why don't we just lock all of ourselves up and throw away the keys? I mean, we've all jaywalked, or made copies of CDs, or broken the law in some equally harmless (harmful) way. Where does the line get drawn between sex offenders who cannot be released and those whose lives can, in our opinions, be salvaged? If I make an off-colour joke in the presence of someone who takes offence, where does that leave me? What about if I pinch someone where I shouldn't? Kiss them when they don't want to be kissed? Does unwanted penetration have to occur for someone to be locked away for good?

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Etch
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I do not know the exact nature of the child porn my step brother had (that kind of info hasnt been told to me for some reason or another) but from what my father said it was pretty sick. And you know what? I dont give a crap if him looking at those pics stopped him from actually molesting someone else. Because just by LOOKING at those pics it hurt every little girl in them. Every time a person looks at child porn that makes the market for it bigger (which is actually not small by any means, just better hidden) It makes the people who made that pornography want to make more.

Rape is rape is rape. My step brother was an accesory to the molestation of little girls, and to me that is absolutely not ok.

If being into children is an orientation like being gay is then wouldnt you think that they are more dangerous because those feelings will never go away? If it is an orientation then they are ALWAYS a risk to repeat the offense. Its like telling a gay person to stay in the closet when they have the oportunity to have a gay relationship.

Repeat offenders should be in jail, and stay in jail. For repeat offenders jail is like a time out, it may stop the behavior for a while but not for very long. That is when you need to be more drastic.

And I do in a way feel sorry for my step brother. He will be hurt for the rest of his life because of this. But what about that 9 year old girl? And what about the girls in that porn? And what about the girls we may not even know about?


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Bobolink
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In Canada, we have a penal category of "Dangerous Offender". This applies to any crime against a person be it mugging, sexual assault, or murder. It does not apply to crimes against property. If a person has a record of past offences and a judge rules that there is a strong possibility that the person would reoffend upon release subjecting others to personal danger, that person then becomes classified as a "dangerous offender" and will remain in penetentiary at the Queen's pleasure, possibly for the remainder of his/her life.

The thing being that the "dangerous offender" classification is not bestowed lightly and only after a separate court procedure not connected to a specific offense.


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camryn
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Unfortunately sometimes offenders who should be classified as "dangerous offenders" simply aren't as in the recent case of the "Midnight Rapist" in Etobicoke.

This man was recently sentenced to twelve years (half that time must be served before he will be eligible for parole) for three "horrific" sex assaults on women he didn't know (one of whom was sixteen and was grabbed from behind and dragged into bushes where she was assaulted).

This man had committed two previous sexual assaults and the crown wanted to declare him a dangerous offender. In court it become clear that some of the psychological testing had been incorrectly scored and the prosecutor, due to the foul up, was forced to abandon the application for dangerous offender - a title which would have meant he would be in custody indefinitely with periodic reviews.


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BruinDan
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x

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-25-2002).]


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Bobolink
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Foul-ups by the Crown attorneys do not make a system useless. In our system it is the responsibility for the Crown (in the U.S., the People) to present a case and prove it. The defendant doesn't have to prove anything. Hopefully, the office of the Crown attorney will clean up its act in future.
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Rasee
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Sure, set them free...

...after you castrate them.

I'm a survivor (not a victim) of sexual abuse and my abusers have repeated the crime. I don't think murderers are any better than sexual offenders or vice versa, and I believe that people can change, but I also believe that a lot can't.

Should felons have a second chance at life after rehab? Sure. But watch them very closely for like...five years or something...before giving back their complete freedom. They deserve to be punished for their crimes and not only is jail going to do that, the lack of freedom should remind them exactly what they took away from the people they hurt. Oh, and don't forget that the crimes will stay on their records permanently.

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[This message has been edited by Rasee (edited 08-11-2001).]


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John Doe
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Rasee,
Would you rather be dead. Yes i'm sure what you went through was awful. but you are still alive and as you put it surviving. there is no such thing as a murder survivor. thus to say that a sexual offender is as bad as a murderer is just not true. And furthermore, your statement about castration is blatent misangony. Nobody deserves to be mutilated. What would be the reaction here if I suggested that any female deserved to have her ovaries torn out or her **** cut off.

[This message has been edited by John Doe (edited 08-11-2001).]


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Rasee
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John Doe, the castration thing was sarcastic.

I was not comparing the crimes--murder and sexual crimes--to each other. I was comparing the people who committed the crimes. Don't be so quick to jump all over what I said. I don't think a person who rapes someone is any better than a person who kills someone. That's *all* I meant.

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Dzuunmod
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Rasee, I think even though your castration comment was sarcastic, John's point about it is well made. After all, I wouldn't be able to even make a similar comment in a sarcstic tone about a woman.

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Rasee
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I apologize for my comment on castration. I didn't mean it to be anything.

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Etch
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So over the weekend i wasnt online at all, and i was working my butt off to move all my step brothers things out of his apartment into storage. Wanna know why?

He is now officially a repeat offender! Well he is from what i can gather. My parents dont know too much, and i know even less because this just happened and not too much talk is going on. All i know is that it is EXTREMELY serious and he will be lucky if he only gets a couple years. And it has only been 6 months since he got out the last time.

We tried putting a sex offender back on the streets, we even tried couseling at a rather early age (15) about his problem, he was on probation and was put in jail twice before he turned 20 for sex crimes. He turns 21 in November, but now he will be in jail for a very long time because he couldnt be rehabilitated.

I agree that these people can be rehabilitated. But I think that their lives should be like jail for a few years before they are allowed more freedom. What i am talking about is perhaps they shouldnt be allowed to live alone, and have little or no privacy. My step brother got away with this because he had all the privacy he wanted and they werent watching him closely enough.

Perhaps i am just pessemistic and cynical about this all, but I dont think many of these people can be rehabilitated.


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John Doe
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Was this a case where he molested another, or was the CP what cased him to be tagged as a repeat offender. I think it would be a good idea to look at the link that Camryn put up. It will give you an idea of what your step brother WILL be going trough. As a sexual offender he is going to be on the lowest rung of the prison pecking order. As you put it rape is rape is rape (something that could possibly be disputed since I think there is a difference between a stranger in an alley with a knife, and a boyfriend who is too persistant. Not that I excuse the boyfriend, but I do think it is a crime of a lesser order, for starters there is much less implied threat to the victims life for not going along). For what he has done, it is highly probable that he will not be raped once, but repeatedly and regularly, and the authorities will know all about it and not lift a finger to stop it. He will have no means of escape, and it is possible that it will not just be on perpertator but several, none of which practice safe sex. He may well have been sentenced to death, but not by electrocution or leathal injection, but by AIDS.
What exactly was the nature of his repeat offense, what was the nature of his first offense. You just said that it was molesting a 9 yo girl, that could mean anything from basically consentual (I know that the 9 yo can not legally consent) hugging and kissing to rape at knife point.
It doesn't seem like he got away with much, not that he had all that much freedom, after all he got caught with the CP on a random warrentless search of his place.
I find your lack of sympathy for what your step brother is going through to be rather cold and troubling. Try to mentally put yourself in his shoes for a day.

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BruinDan
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John, I find your defense for somebody who committed a crime to be rather cold and troubling, personally. First of all, I find that your post tends to make it seem like the offender is the victim, which is not the case. He had a choice in what he did, and he chose the wrong path. You have said yourself several times in the past that you have feelings which could get you into trouble for acting them out, therefore you are well aware of the consequences of your potential actions and you choose not to act on them. In this case, the offender had the option not to do what he did, but he did it anyway.

And just so we're all on the same page, the "random warrantless search" that you refer to is actually both constitutional and quite common. Such searches are conditions of parole/probation, which this person would have been placed on after being released. So it isn't like the offender didn't know what was coming, they are all made well aware that they are subject to search and seizure at any time, and they are all aware of the illegality of underage pornography.

Furthermore, I am uncomfortable with the fact that in this post and in several others you seem to have a penchant for minimizing date rape both as a crime and as a concept. I would suggest you lighten up a little bit with your tone there, especially since we have users here who have been victims of rape, and I don't like the idea of you minimizing their pain.

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Etch
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When he first got in trouble i put myself in his shoes. He was 15 years old, never gone to jail but would be labeled as a sex offender for the rest of his life because of a "mistake" he made. For years I felt sorry for him. I thought about how one thing has ruined his life.

Until he got in trouble again. Then I still felt midly sorry for him because it wasnt even the same offense as the original. But I got to thinking about how molesting that 9 year old girl was not a mistake. It was something he planned, something he knew he was doing. And something he obviously wanted to do again (whether he did or not at that time i dont know)

When i spoke to my father after i posted last he explained that he is in so much trouble right now that what they were going to originally charge him with isnt even relevent anymore. Apparently he was using mail fraud to get child pornography and when they searched his apartment and spoke to people they learned a whole lot more and the mail fraud is being dropped for the most part because he did so many other things it doesnt matter anymore. My dad said he didnt want to tell me anymore because it embarrases my step mother. Which is exactly what he told me the first time he had to explain how he hurt that little girl. And no, it wasnt "consentual" hugging and kissing. It was happening when no one was looking. They only found out it was happening when her grandparents saw him touching her and she explained all that he had done to her.

I have a lack of sympathy for him because he brought it on himself. He knew what would happen if he did this sort of thing again. My step brother is not stupid, he is actually extremely intelligent, and if he didnt want to get raped in prison then he shouldnt have been messing around with children.

All repeat offenders know exactly what they are adoing, and they know that it is wrong. Perhaps the first time a boy pushes a girl into having sex he doesnt know its wrong. Or someone may not know that touching children is wrong (for various reasons such as previous abuse or psychological issues or just a lack of education). But once you go to jail, or are even charged with a sex crime, then you are quite aware that it is wrong. So why do these people do it again? Perhaps it is a lack of self control, or a psychological problem. Or perhaps they would rather get off and end up in jail and get raped themselves rather then live their life in freedom as a productive citizen. Serial rapists know EXACTLY what they are doing. If they wanted to get better then they would seek help rather then pray on someone.

Is there anywhere that these people can go for immediate support if they feel themselves about to commit another crime? We have suicide hotlines, and recovering alcoholics often have sponsors they can call. But do "recovering" rapists have anyone they can call at any time to get help? I am just curious, because if these people really want to get better then I am sure that something like that would help them.


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John Doe
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Etch, there is a lot to respond to here.
First I do not want to make it sound as if I approve of date rape. However, just as there are degrees of several other crimes, I think there are degrees of rape. For example, assault is wrong. However, I think there is a big difference between throwing the first punch in a bar room altercation, and sneaking up behind someone with a baseball bat. Does that mean that I am all honky dorey with epople punching people in bars, no.
Second, perhaps given my situation, it is easier for me to put myself in your brothers shoes, than it is for most people. I know there is a hysteria out there on the subject of child sexual abuse, and that there are cases where basically consentual hugging and kissing, in the context where the adult deeply cares about the child, get prosecuted as sexual abuse. I don't know many other pedophiles in RL, but I have met quite a few on-line. Most of them care very deeply about children. Yes they are sexually attracted to them, but they are also interested in developing a deep emotional conection with the child as well. I do eveerything I can to get the emotional bond with kids and leave the sexual part out, but can I sympathize with someone who has stepped a little over the line, yes I can.
I am also sensitive to the issue of false accusations because, I have been the victim of them, not in the sexual context, but in terms of a trumped up charge of domestic violence. i know what those sorts of accuations can do to your life. Charges like thse are almost impossible to refute, and because of that the persumption of innocence becomes extra important, not just in a legal setting, but also in a social one as well. While i have not been charged with anything, my wife has spread rumors around town about my sexual interests. While quite frankly, there is an element of truth to them, they are extremely damaging. Why, because people do not understand the difference between a pedophile and a child molestor. People I used to think of as my friends, now look at me differently.
There are very few places where pedophiles can turn. Most places that "normal" people turn to are very dangerous places for pedophiles. a normal person could talk to a priest, or to a therapist. However, in most states they would be required to turn the pedophile over to the police if they suspected that he might be acting out. On line support groups are monitored by the police and harrassed by on line vigilanties. Even groups that are dedicated to helping pedophiles stay celibate have been targeted for cyber-terrorism and shut down. law enforcement authorities do nothing about it. I know of one such board, the Christian Boy Love Fourm, which was shut down for over 3 months due to malicous hackers. There is another board I sometimes post to, but Heather has asked me not to mention it here. However, ask her for the URL, it is designed to offer support not only to minor attracted adults (MAA's), but also to surviors of child sexual abuse and to relatives of MAA's. I think you would fing it very interesting, and if your step brother ever gets access to the net again, it would be a very good place for him to go to.

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camryn
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Dan, I couldn't have said it better myself. John Doe, you are being more than a little insensitive in the posts on this topic. Date rape, acquaintance rape or stranger rape is rape. I find your continual postings of sympathy for the offender very disconcerting. This is my final word on the subject.
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BruinDan
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John, it's all too easy for you or me to talk about "degrees" of rape, since neither of us has been a victim of it. But by using that logic you are essentially denying a victim of date rape the right to feel the amount of pain that she feels. You are minimizing some forms of rape which are no less damaging than any other forms. Rape is rape, it causes all sorts of emotional damage, and to categorize one form of rape as "not so bad" is doing a great disservice to rape victims everywhere.

quote:
Originally posted by John Doe:
I do eveerything I can to get the emotional bond with kids and leave the sexual part out, but can I sympathize with someone who has stepped a little over the line, yes I can.

Secondly, therein lies your problem. Etch's brother is a convicted child molester. He has stepped over that line, and crossed the boundary between harmless fantasy and harmful reality. Sympathizing with someone like that is, again, doing a great disservice to the child in this case, who has been victimized by someone who knowingly chose to do what was wrong. Rather than put yourself in the shoes of a child molester, perhaps it would be a wise idea to focus more on how you personally can prevent yourself from crossing that line, and urge others to do the same. Doing "everything you can" is all well and good, but sympathizing with people who have crossed that line and created all sorts of problems for the child involved seems particularly misguided to me. Since you care so much about children, perhaps you may want to re-focus your energy on ways you can protect them from pedophiles who are unable to prevent themselves from crossing the delicate line between fantasy and child molestation...instead of spending your time supporting someone who has hurt the children that you so dearly care for.

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John Doe
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Dan,
Its not something I talk about much, but yes i know what it is like to be raped. it happened to me a long time ago (1979) when i was traveling alone in Morroco. In large part I blame myself for being so stupid as to put myself in the position that it happened. That does not distract me from thinking the person who did it was an absolute jerk. Maybe its because it is more recent, but let me tell you what I have been through in the last six months is infinitely more painful than what I went through then.

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BruinDan
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I'm sorry to hear about that, it sounds absolutely wretched to me. But even though you may blame yourself, many others do not share that view. And we'd just like to make sure here that we're not minimizing anyone's experiences by categorizing them as "a lesser degree" or something of that nature. Saying something like that would have a definite chilling effect here, and that's not something we would like to see happen.

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John Doe
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It is not my intent to minimize anybody's experience. I have stated over and over again that I see rape, any rape, as a serious crime. I also see manslaughter as a serious crime, but there is a difference between manslaughter and premeditated first degree murder.
To get to the very scary statistics that are often cited about the prevelance of rape, one must use a very expansive definition of what is ment by rape. In doing so it dilutes the word, and in effect minimizes the horror that someone who has gone through the rape at knifepoint.
Don't jump all over me for this analogy, because I am not making an equivelence, but it follows a simalar logic.
I am personally somewhat worried about efforts to continuously lower the threashold for what constitues driving while intoxicated. Do I belive in driving drunk, NO. However, if you treat someone whith a BA level of .08 the same as someone with a BA level of .18, you diminish the seriousness of driving while falling down drunk. It seems to me that there should be graduated penaties or different degrees of the crime. One gets you a fine, the next gets your licsence taken away, the final one gets you thrown in the slammer. Now clearly rape is a more serious crime than driving under the influence, but I think that a simalar logic applies.
As for a chilling influence. i would not want to see that happen either. However, people talk about many things here that are far less serious than date rape and are taken seriously. To say that something is a crime, but that there are more serious crimes of a simalar type, does not take away from the first one being a crime. Saying that rape is rape is rape, is sort of like saying theft is theft is theft.

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Etch
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I do believe that there are lesser degrees of rape. For example, about two months ago a friend of my cousins was at my house and we were in my room and he started kissing me and stripping me. Before i could say anything, let alone no he was on top of me. I went with it and had sex with him. Was that rape? Very inclusive definitions of rape would say it is. I don’t consider it as such even though it totally ruined my relationship with my mother and I was scared shitless that I was pregnant. And he knew that if I wanted to I could accuse him of rape and win (he expressed that fear the next day)

But all that is off subject (in fact it fits better with the date rape proof thread). The subject is whether serial rapists should be allowed to roam the streets. My answer is still no. A single rape conviction sure, let em out. Two rape convictions let em out with lots of supervision. But three strikes and your out buddy. That is when a pattern emerges, and one that the perpetrator doesn’t seem to want to get over.

Some genuinely want to get better. But I know that some do not. Going back to my step brother as an example, on the 4th of July we had a private conversation about what all was going on with us both. He told me with such heartfelt emotions that he wanted to get over his problem and that he had done everything he could to stop himself since he got out of jail. All the while he was saying that he was buying child pornography, and doing something else that hasn’t been disclosed to me yet (and likely wont). My step brother doesn’t want to get over his problem, just like many other serial rapists don’t want to get over theirs.

There is a difference between someone who lost control of their urges once, payed the price and was able to stop from acting on those urges from there on out, and someone who buys into their urges when it becomes too much not to. I can feel sorry for those who want to get better but dont know how to stop (perhaps that is how my step bro is) but if they cant control themselves then they are dangerous.


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Confused boy
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From the proprietor of this very site:

"As a victim of forcible and violent gang rape as a young girl, I remember when date rape started hitting the news, and I remember being very, very angry about it. Why? Because I felt that it very much diminished cases like mine in making them seem to be the same thing, which they very much are not. And in truth, I think most women and most victims of varying sorts of rape would agree with me: they are not the same."

They are most definately not the same thing and therefore should be treated differently. I more or less agree with John Doe. In the same way, I believe just about everybody who commits a crime should be rehabilitated after a reasonable punishment is served. I am not a believer in the "throw the switch" or "throw away the key" mentality. You need an element of punishment but the biggest feature of someones imprisonment should be them recieving help so they can overcome their problems. There should be no element of vengeance in justice.

I feel John Doe might be speaking in a rather "direct" tone which can step on some people's toes on this delicate subject. Therefore I use a far more abstract argument that treads the line of the two arguments as best it can: "All rape crimes are equal but some are more equal than others."

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