I don’t read the comments on articles about “sex offenders” anymore. Most of the time anyway. But occasionally, I can’t help it and I find myself scrolling to the bottom to see if there are comments. I almost always regret reading them. Recently I read through the comments on a Facebook post of a local news channel. The comments ranged from suggesting we save the tax payers money and put the accused out of his misery, wishing for him to be raped and beaten, and one particular comment suggested placing the man’s genitals on an anvil and smashing them with a hammer. What did he do? It doesn’t really matter. The media will paint whatever the alleged crime to be in the worst light possible. A good example is an article I came across this week that talked about a 21-year-old man being arrested for sexual assault of a child. He had been texting a minor and had apparently had sex, multiple times, with that minor. Most people read that and assume he raped a young child multiple times. I read that and think it was probably consensual teenage sex. The comments were similar for the 21-year-old as they were for the man in the other article.
The problem with the ugliness spewed like this is the damage it does to his family. I know many people won’t have sympathy for the alleged criminal, but what about those close to him? Does he have a wife? Children? What about his mother and father? Surely his family is heartbroken, to see someone they love being thrown into the court system (justified or not), and then to have the world paint them as a monster. But to the family, they are not a monster. They may have done something terrible, or they may be accused of doing something terrible, but they are still loved human beings, whose sins have been publicly paraded for all the world to see.