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Critical Teaching in a Sex Crimes Course

[ – 7/5/20]

It is often said that the media doesn’t tell us what to think; the media tells us what to think about. The media frames our understanding of public issues and informs us which public issues should be at the forefront of our minds.

For 8 years I have taught a college course entitled Sex Crimes. The course uses history and theory to critically examine sex crime laws and sexual offending behavior. In the course, I aim to provide an in-depth examination of the causes and responses to sexual offending and engage students with a non-stereotypical view of offenders as well as an understanding of the many legal controls with which individuals must comply.

Each semester teaching this course, I struggle with the extreme views that students have of individuals who commit a sexual offense: the individual is a pervert, a monster, a stranger waiting to kidnap and rape a child. Students remark that individuals who commit a sex offense are sick and cannot be cured, deserve to be castrated or executed, and should be locked away forever.

What students don’t realize at the start of the semester is that a sex offender in the eyes of the law can be someone who urinated in public in a school zone, a 21-year-old who had sexual relations with his 15-year-old girlfriend whom he later married, an individual caught viewing online child pornography, an individual conversing in a chat room with someone who they think is a minor but is actually a cop, or an individual that kidnapped and raped a child (to name only a few). These are extremely varied acts in their impact, but they all fall under the umbrella term sex offender.

As the American criminal justice system continues to strengthen laws against individuals who have committed a sexual offense, it is important to understand how attitudes toward controversial criminological topics can be altered based on scientific understanding rather than a media frenzy.

So, what do I convey to students to help them understand the nuances of sexual offending in America?


It Starts with Language

Society refers to those who have committed a sex offense as a sexual offender as if that person is always an offender. If you played sports in college, are you considered an athlete still at 50? If you stole a candy bar from a convenience store as a child, do you remain a thief forever? If you cheated on one of your partners, are you an adulterer for life?

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A phenomenal post on the Medium platform

It should also be brought to light that social acceptances like, adultery, sexual premiscuity, fornication and all other kinds of Morally questionable acts, behaviors, traits etc. are just as much of an sex offense. Also ingrained ideology of sexual life styles, gays or porn addictions are just as GUILTY as all other sex crimes, its just that some are in the Laws grasp while others are free but just as perverted or sick etc. MORAL TURPITUDE does not stop and start with a REGISTRY ! The goal is to get all people to acknowledge ALL PEOPLE HAVE A DEPRAVITY IN… Read more »

This course should be taught in high school as well, as roughly 30% of sex crimes are committed as a minor.

Teaching this material to freshman in high school is an idea that should be implemented without issue just as going back and teaching civics and basic life skills to prep them for the real world are no brainers.

TV and media is full of victimites programs. Advertisements for ambulance chasers run regularly.
I bet there are currently 100 commercials soliciting potential victims by the lawyer crowd on issues from Mesothelioma to Boy Scouts of America. HAVE YOU SUFFERED? Compensation may be available!
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury this is not mere happenstance that we are where we are. Victim stance is actively being promoted and has been for quite some time. It is a purpose filled effort.

Janice I commend you on another positive view of this whole registry. History! Sure their have been good and bad in many if not all history encounters since the beginnings of time. So were does one start with History of the sex offender or what are the classes trying to instill upon another. Who gets to close to another as if to say I can’t breathe. From the Middle ages to the present age to the confinment of the language culture barriers to the reality of it all. Sex crime laws of offending behavior sounds a bit like a double… Read more »

Yes a decent article indeed. I think it important to point out this Professor is the same one who was recently soliciting on here (through Janice) for a study about RCs. She’s definitely one who is on our side and her being at Ground Zero of ML (NJ) makes it even better. It’d be great if she could bend Rep. Smith’s ear sometime.

Oh, for only if Rep Smith would actually listen with an open mind to her and the facts before casting judgement.

To bad this professor couldn’t run against Smith. I don’t think his ears could handle the truth and his brain would malfunction. Only thing he supports is the bull crap that comes out of his mouth that all have to hear.

I wonder if he was friends with Epstein, since he knows that registrants travel overseas to engage in sex crimes. Hopefully nothing happens to Epstein’s girlfriend she knows a lot of politicians that were involved.

The course is a good start. Without access to a syllabus, course outline, or all course materials it is not possible to know where such a course would best be placed if it were part of a series of classes. With a little thinking I can come up with dozens of ideas for classes focusing on different aspects of sex and multiple series of classes regarding many aspects of sex throughout human societies. For example sexual norms and practices can vary widely around the world. Any person, group, or governing body could state their perspective on any norm or practice… Read more »

@ ab sounds like a beastie boys/spice girl format to me. Lets all go for it. You know guy you all really suprise me, it seems as if 6 or so years ago has passed and nothings changed. Sure we alway knew that this registry needed help. I even knew ACSOL would have its ups and downs just like many of those fighting against the sex registry. Sure a little success here and their, but this labeling stigma seems to be the burden on all. What if this registry was over say in a month or two what would everyone… Read more »

From the silly to the sublime to the realistic. Lets all be sensible about all this. Is everybody wise out in CA, UT, AZ, FL ,TN,MS or many of the other 50 states. And yes A.D.A.T. I too stopped reading paperback novels but I sometimes listen to Gorden Lightfoot , If you could read my mind. So i’m sure many of you all here get it or who has the true understanding of belligerent behavioral attitude adjustment as to say “Am I my brothers keeper” in so many words. One wonders if you said that to your parents . What… Read more »

Courses like this should be mandatory in middle and high school with parents involved in the course. Education can lead to prevention; which hopefully someday lead to redemption and forgiveness.

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