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Kat’s Blog: Shaming Accomplishes Nothing

In the past month we’ve read articles about shame, Florida Shaming/Could Your Real Estate Agent be a Sex Offender, Nigeria: NAPTIP Launches SO Registry to Name & Shame Rapists, Arkansas: the shaming of registrants by barring them from participating in Halloween activities.

Shame: A painful feeling that’s a mix of regret, self-hate and dishonor, according to the dictionary.

Shame, it’s a powerful tool used against registrants to make certain that they feel continued guilt and humiliation for their past offenses. Shame, can be an ongoing cruel punishment which often seems to have no end, a twisted thinking that equates shaming registrants with keeping children safe.

What does that same shaming do to the families and children of registrants?

With a new school year starting, Halloween right around the corner and many parents returning to the job force after summer break, the shaming of those often seen as “the registry’s collateral damage”, children, spouses and other family members of registrants, will resume.
Parents who fight for increased buffer zones and increased notification of sex offenders in their neighborhoods, “for the safety of the children”, forget that registrants have children too.

Children of registrants are shamed and bullied by their peers because of the public registry, they are unnecessarily put in unsafe situations in schools and on playgrounds every day. The taunting, embarrassment and shaming they deal with are behaviors that their peers may have learned from either their parents, other adults or social media.

Then Halloween comes around and the shaming seems to gets worse every year.

No outside fall decorations, no lights on, signs that no candy can be given out at this residence, registrants rounded up like cattle and forced to remain in a “secure location” during prime trick/treating hours. What better way to shame and humiliate registrants and their families on Halloween. Studies have shown that children are in no more danger on Halloween than any other day of the year when it comes to registrants, but still, we pass laws designed to humiliate and shame registrants into submission. We shame their families into submission too. Children of registrants can’t trick or treat with their parent, their friends can’t trick or treat at their house, no family Halloween parties. Halloween decorations and in some places anything that looks like a fall decoration, are forbidden the entire week leading up to Halloween. The registrant and their entire family are publicly shamed in front of their neighborhood and their community, their lack of inclusion labels them.

Many spouses of registrants are going back to work, looking for that new job once the kids are back in school. Background checks make it easy for employers to find that you have a spouse on the registry. Spouses may experience shame in applying for jobs, fear that “someone will find out” they are married to a registrant. And for those that have jobs, there is always the fear of losing the job because “someone did find out.”

Shaming is heartless, an action that harms not only registrants but their families as well. Those who advocate for the “safety of all children” need to be educated and reminded that registrants also have children and that when a registrant is shamed, their children and their families are shamed as well.

That we shame fellow human beings at all, that’s where the real shame lies.


Join the discussion

  1. Facts should matter

    Unfortunately, shaming works. Especially when one’s fear and guilt is used against them. The public shames, shuns and snubs what they fear and hate. Looking down upon and frowning on sex criminals has become a American tradition. The label gives them free rein to discriminate and harass with impunity.

    • Tim

      Yes and because of poor leadership. The Sanctioning of SOR & collateral broadcasts was bound to have that effect on the people. The virtue signaling brought on by Congressional use and High Court indifference toward law containing the words ” a person who was in prison for x crime ” has lead us here. Here to a world where humans are beholden to government database and subservience.

  2. Tim in WI

    Given that probation or parole rules are not in play these laws are unenforceable. To be guilty one must actually suffer the approach to one’s door step from an advancing child first! Given the availability of SOR maps through internet impacts effect and efficacy the regulation is purely redundant.
    Simply put the move to impose affirmative restraint by ban law explains SOR as ineffective in it broadcasts deterrent effect as near nill. Halloween is not an official holiday as our gov is concerned. To recognize it in state sovereignty is out of bounds but the societal need outweighs basic constitutional reverence.

  3. 290 air

    When feeling shame I always try to consider the source. Is it some loser politician just looking to build their own ego? Or maybe it’s from some alcoholic lobbyist that feels somehow they are better than anybody else. Or maybe that neighbor that has too much time on their hands and isn’t really happy with their own life so they will beat up on an easy target. Wherever it comes from I never feel these people are worth my time nor do I consider the shame they try to heap on me. Everybody has some skeletons in their closet, we were just the chosen ones to make everybody feel that their skeletons were acceptable or not as bad. Well I don’t give them a moment of my time or thoughts. So you want to harass my kid at school, ok I’ll homeschool them and they’ll have more time to beat your kids in sports. Can’t decorate my house or hand out candy ok we’ll go to our friend’s house and do it. Don’t feel shame for something you already paid for. Disregard those people. They’re losers.

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