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Janice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: Fear Obscures Fact

A recent TV news show on a completely different topic recently introduced me to the phrase, “Fear Obscures Fact.”  That short phrase struck a nerve as it concisely explains one of the major obstacles in the registrant community.

There is a plethora of data in studies and reports from both government and academia stating the facts.  For example, the rate of re-offense for individuals required to register is very low and continues to decrease the more time they spend in the community.  This rate of re-offense is as low as less than one percent for registrants on parole.

Another example is that the registry is ineffective in large part because it gives families a false sense of security.  That is, many families believe that if they protect their children from individuals required to register, their children will be safe.  That is not so, however, because the perpetrators of at least 90 percent of child sex abuse are not on the registry, but instead are family members, teachers, coaches, clergy and law enforcement officials.

We repeat these messages over and over when we lobby and in lawsuits we file yet they are not heard.  Why?

If we accept the premise that “Fear Obscures Fact” we can start to understand.  According to brain scientists, humans have a part of the brain called the “reptilian brain.”  In case you haven’t heard of that part of the brain, it is often described as the center for “fight or flight.”  It is the part of the brain that increased the success of cavemen and cavewomen escaping from a hungry saber tooth tiger. 

While the “reptilian brain” helps humans escape from physical harm, the same part of the brain shuts down critical thinking as well as the ability to absorb new information.  Think about that.  If a human believes he or she or his or her loved ones are in danger, they cannot think critically, and they cannot absorb new information.  Therefore, if a human believes that all registrants are monsters and are ready to pounce on their next victim, the human may literally be unable to hear and understand the facts they are given.

So what can we do? 

According to communications experts, the most effective way to communicate a message that others may not want to hear is to frame that message in a way that does not frighten the listener and therefore does not trigger the “reptilian brain.”  I learned this lesson a few years ago while lobbying in the state capitol.

I observed that when I told those with whom I was meeting that I am an advocate for the civil rights of registrants, they shut down.  Although their eyes were open, their ears were closed.  After many tries, I developed a new message, which is that I am an advocate for the protection of the Constitution (pause) which can only be achieved by restoring the civil rights of registrants.

It was the same message, but delivered differently.  And the results have been tremendous and produced positive results both in the state capitol and in courtrooms. 

We need to continue this trend, that is, to reframe our messages so that our listeners are no longer afraid.  It will take a lot of work and especially the crafting of careful language, but it will be worth it because it will take us to the Tipping Point where registrants are no longer treated as the lepers of society, but instead as human beings.

May it be so.

 

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Janice,
Nice delta. First the molasses,then the sulphur. What good, if no bad.
No different tact than approaching registration from the perspective of database machine rather than the “violent human.”

Very inspirational, Janice! Facing fear is the greatest battle we have, and ACSOL is adapting,

Thank you, Janice! You’re a saint!

I think commenters on this site should also follow this. There have been numerous times I’ve seen comments on here and other sites that really looked bad optic wise. Would you feel sympathy for another excon type if they were posting similar comments that sometimes be found on sites like this? I wouldn’t. Yes, posting some of those comments might feel good, but I think they cause more damage than good.

This just like the salem witch hunt. So many innocent people were murdered… All because of WORDS..No proof. But back in that time. People believe/ wanted to think people was casings spells. Now days you got.. Oh you touched me/ or my kids
. That’s molestation. Than you have places that will tell mothers to lie for profit. Just too murder the father out of the childs life. No proof of any sex with the child. Just WORDS….. Just like the salem witch hunts… And if you question the accuser. It will get blocked. Cause the accuser is not the so called victim. Why!!cause the accuser is a witness. For a crime that never happened.

Awesome message, Janice. Thank you!

Why Tim I think you may be learning something that you may have not of known from your database logic. How do you fight fire. Answer with fire. Seems your computer logic was right under your nose and you missed the point with your all about the database. Theory. No Tim it’s not all about the database, it’s all about Justice plain and simple. You know there is another database and its more divine than some man- made computer scam. Hindsight is better than foresight. Remember there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Factors are factors but proof is proof in any court of law. Did Perry Mason actually say that or was it you or David on here?

Sure many words can be colorful, out of context, or other, but why do you think I plead guilty in this game of blind man’s bluff. Their is a much better database that has the answer to all of this twisted type of blind justice. We all make different decisions all the time but its never to late for justice.

Excellent, Janice! As George Lakoff has pointed out, arguments are often won by those who control the rhetorical framing. In speaking with counselors and supervising officers, a number of assertions that set the framing are often repeated.

For example, “If the registry saves one child, it is worth it.” That is a statement that no one can disagree with, and tends to end any discussion. We all want to protect children. My response has been to totally agree, but then ask the person to demonstrate that the registry has ever saved a child. That is impossible because doing so requires proving a negative. If a child is not harmed, no one can demonstrate why. The corollary question is to ask whether they agree that if the registry harms one child, it should be eliminated. That harm, although non-sexual, is clearly demonstrable in multiple instances.

Professor Ira Ellman has given us an answer for the “70% of sexual assaults are not reported” framing. Even if that is true, there is no reason to believe that the low percentage of those due to registrants would increase. We need more of these rebuttal tools.

I think it would be useful for us as a group to explore these often-used framing questions or assertions, and to figure out what is the most effective wording for counter framing. For advocates and registrants themselves to have well-crafted arguments in our arsenal could be very powerful. These must be presented in a non-confrontational manner so as to not elicit fear or defensiveness. Janice and Prof. Ellman have given us a good start.

Veritas.

My answers to your questions are no and yes respectively. Court-ordered restitution is a function of punishment for a crime, and is not related to the registry. The stated purpose of the registry is to enhance public safety, not to extract continuing retribution (or vengeance) for victims. Courts have many tools to ensure justice for crime victims. The registry is not one of them. Victims should indeed have input, but no more than any other citizen who is concerned with public safety. Their well-deserved retribution was delivered at sentencing, where their input is paramount.

Veritas.

So many good arguments. Sadly, people usually have their minds made up and are very hard to convince of the contrary. How does it help to know where a registrant lives when this registrant is not always home? That person can be in the park, in the mall, at the game, or wherever else he/she pleases. So, knowing where a registrant lives really does nothing at all to protect anyone. The “If it saves on Child” phrase has been overused and is ridiculous. Stop saying that! It sounds and is absurd. If they really care to save one child and believe a registry will accomplish this, then yes, add registries for DUIs, drug offenders, etc, etc, because if it saves one child, it should not matter if the child might be victimized by a registrant or a person who is known to have dealt drugs or has had DUIs in the past. Who gets to decide what crime we have to protect the one child from? Personally, if I had kids and if I could only choose one crime I would like my child to be protected from, it would be a crime that might kill my child, like a drunk driver or someone dealing drugs to my child who then might die of an overdose. Not the person who looked at images, exposed him/herself, or had a consensual relationship with an underage person.

Our reptilian brain also reacts very negatively to the very terms “sex offender and registrant”. Ask most people what they think those terms mean and they will undoubtedly say “child molester and rapist”. Many don’t even know the term “registrant” because all they ever hear in the media is the term “sex offender”.

All politicians need to do is mention “keeping the public safe from sex offenders” as part of their platform and they are a shoe-in to win elections because the non-educated public now equates the term “sex offender” with rape and molestation of children. That’s all they hear because until now they’ve only heard the politicians. (We can change that in 2023!)
The public has no clue as to who can end up on the registry and that is what they need to be educated about. If they realize that their own sons or daughters are far more likely to end up on the registry than to be the victim of a registrant, maybe they will see the light.
Hope springs eternal.

Kat you do have something their. This reptilian brain, and I vote Will Allen the next governor of California. No actually if you think about it man has always been evil. They have always wanted to get the heads up on the other. Women are different as they do use logic. Do you know we sin daily in thought and deed. Reminds me of a poem.
Stone walls a prison make nor iron bars a cage. Guess one can make their own prison if they want to.

Political well your right on that one as doesn’t everyone want to be a” Top Dog” or a Cool Daddy”. Actually their are pro’s and con’s to this fear factor issue of the registry. See you have a multitude of counselors in this for and after ordeal. Wonder who is fearing or in harms way with a lot of this injustice. Talk about a cyber net suction cup for those that use wrong methods to entangle one in many of these internet garbage maneuvers.

I know some here don’t feel the term ” Witch Hunt” is appropriate but I use it for lack of a better term.
And now they have their pitchforks out, via some ” Beans6969″ chick on tik tok who has started a ” war” against WAR
Trying to get Vicki’s page taken down, calling and harassing her, threatening to come to her home.
And trying to ” dox” people who support the page, including Janice.
That’s the latest, if you look up “Lucky Mortis” on FB he just put up another video.

May it b

May it be so which means in the Bible Amen

I find it sad we have to coddle and placate society like reassuring children there is no actual monster under the bed when presenting this subject.

This is the linear thinking of 98% of the population:

Surprise > outrage > dismissive indifference > shunning.

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