Sunday, January 1, 2017

look at these strange women who stay with sex offenders!

Inside Edition ran a story by Maya Chung about women who stay in relationships with sex offenders.

My first thought is that I cannot remember seeing the same kind of curiosity about those mysterious people who stay in relationships with someone who stole cars or committed fraud or beat the convenience store clerk. The assumption in those cases seems to be that spouses will stay or go based on individual choices. Some people stay with car thief spouses and some leave.

Chung details a couple of relationships between sex offenders and their wives.

Josh and Susan:
"My husband came home early one day after having a big fight over the weekend and he caught Josh and me in the shower,” Susan said. “I did try to end our relationship a few times but the chemistry was just so strong that it was hard to let each other go. I didn’t mean for it to happen."
Jerry and Melissa:
She met Jerry at a charity event in 2006 – 17 years after his second offense. She said they became friends before becoming romantically involved. When he told her his status on the registry soon after they began dating, and she made a conscious decision to stay with him.
As with love stories told by other couples, some stories are boring, some are mildly interesting, some are sweet and some are a little shocking. 
While it may seem surprising to many, some women are willing to go through being outwardly shunned by family and their communities in the defense of the men because to them, love trumps all. 
Women--and men--have always been willing to go through hell for people they love. How is this surprising?
Their experiences being in a relationship with a sex offender may be different, but these women have another thing in common: An undeniable faith in their men.
Yes, being in a relationship with a registered citizen offers a different experience. A parent can lose custody of his or her children; neighbors will make terrible assumptions and gossip about them; family members cut ties.

All because a name is on a list.

Because a name is on a list, there is a real risk of prison time for missing a paperwork deadline. Most families of former lawbreakers do not have to live with that hanging over their heads.

Sex offenders are not fearsome monsters. They are people who committed crimes, made terrible choices, or got caught up in surprising circumstances. Spouses and partners can continue to love or dislike them, trust or mistrust as they choose, based on whether they are good parents, good cooks, good lovers, or based on any criteria that mean something to a specific couple.

There is no default 'Abandon Ship' setting on relationships with registered sex offenders, just as there is no default setting on relationships with adulterers or with people who cheat on taxes or with people who are boring or snore too much or are overweight.

We all see relationships that don't make sense to us. Why does he stay with her? Has he not seen what a tyrant she can be at the PTA meetings? Why does she stay with him? Does she not know that he has never in his life had a generous moment?

The reason we look at spouses and partners of sex offenders as something exotic is because the registry encourages the false idea that registered citizens are dangerous.

Abolish the registry.


Vicki Henry said...

When Josh was informed of the "possible" repercussions of his status on her, he just dropped his head like 'what next!' He immediately informed Susan and she indicated they would deal with that when and if the time came. She was honest about Josh's status with two divorce attorneys and parted ways with them when they said they could not represent her if she stayed with a registrant. That was resolved. She goes to court this week so, we will see what happens. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Susurrus said...

I don't understand the attraction to criminals. To me that is a huge red flag and a sign that a future life together would be extremely stressful, hard, and possibly dangerous. I wouldn't persue a relationship with a recovering drug addict or alcoholic for the same reasons.

Sex Offenders are worse. It's baffling that an adult could look at a child in a sexual way. What compels a person to molest a child? Is interest in CP one of the first steps? Does being on the registry prevent the SO from going further, thinking they could get away with it?

I think it's fairly universal in our society to see someone who has a sexual interest in children as despicable. The actions of that person will shape that child's life and personality.

Those harmless people who 'just looked at pictures' would still have a normal life if they had obeyed the law, just like me. It's hard to have sympathy.

Marie said...

Susurrus, I suppose there are some people who have an "attraction to criminals." I don't understand that, either. However, I do understand how someone can know and love someone for all the things he/she does right and decide to stay together while (or after) the offender works through the inexplicable.

You have good questions about sexual interest in children. I would guess that researchers would find as many reasons as offenders. Those who look at child porn may have a sexual interest in children or they may be looking at images that remind them of something that happened to them when they were children themselves or they may be looking at any image available. For some, the very fact that child porn images are forbidden increases interest in seeking them out. To add to the mysteries about this topic, there are studies that show that when child porn is legal, the incidence of child sexual assault decreases. While sex offenses against children are clearly wrong, the explanations for why someone would offend against children are complex.

Thanks for the thoughtful questions and thanks for reading my blog.

Ethan Edwards said...

I don't know much about sex offenders against children, but I have corresponded with an awful lot of pedophiles who have viewed child pornography -- and have trouble not viewing it. It is shocking and immoral, but a little thought should show that it is a totally different crime from hands-on child sex abuse. I'll link to a blog post I made on this a while back -- what is going through the mind of someone who is looking at CP?

Keep up the good work, Marie!