You might say that I am rather opinionated and also introverted which is a weird combination. The result of that is what occurs is that my opinions come out all at once and in a jumble that I have already worked out in my mind. So they make sense to me but sound funny or crazy to you. Out of the blue, I might say something to the effect of,”Well, that’s a red car, so get into the other lane.”
Those two things sound really disconnected and make me appear crazy to some, but what you don’t know is that, in the background, before I even open my mouth, I’ve already worked out that the red car is distracting the other driver who is about to, without seeing you, cut you off and force you to slow down. At the same time, the – now very close – driver in front of you will also be obscuring from your vision the pothole we are about to run over, so you might as well slow down and get into the lane that the driver who is about to cut you off is coming from.
Of course all of that is hypothetical, and nothing like that ever happened, but the illustration works for what I am about to write.
Really there are two things that are annoying about living life as an introverted thinker that is sexually addicted and also labeled a sexual offender. One of those things is not related to the fact that I have offended against someone with a sexual crime and now live with that label. The other – quite unavoidably – is related.
But first, let me ramble as I grin while typing this. Sorry, it’s the way of my pen, so please bear with me. Being sexually addicted is typically not detectable unless you know for what you are looking. (My English teacher would be proud of that last sentence.) But seriously, can you spot someone who is sexually addicted? You can guess, I suppose, but to really pick us out of a crowd takes long and studied observation. I know that doesn’t make you feel safe, so let me lay your fears to rest.
Not all sexual addicts will be offenders. Not all offenders are or will be predators. In fact, the vast majority of offenders will never offend again. Think about that for a moment.
It’s a class thing
Let’s draw an equal sign with another addiction: drug addicts. Some of them are manageable addicts meaning they manage to keep their addiction under control. Yes, they sometimes waste time and money, on something that will bring them nothing in return. These folks live normal-appearing lives, but they also realize they have an addiction they feel they need to feed. These folks need help overcoming the addiction, but they are not destructive.
The next class of addict is one that is on the downward spiral. They don’t face the addiction themselves and hurt others around them through their denial of their addiction to what they are dependent on. They are literally hurting someone or more (in a non-legally binding sense) through mismanagement of their own lives and addiction. These folks need help too as do the folks who are affected by this person’s behavior. This is a more urgent situation. We will call these people class 2 addicts, and the prior folks class 3.
Then there is the last class: the predator. See where I am going here? We already know by their label that they are deep in the throes of addiction and have hurt someone to feed it. This person probably has committed a violation of the laws of the land at least once in order to feed the dragon. They feel powerless to affect any kind of change, and some are in complete denial or worse, they know they are addicted, don’t care who it affects, and probably know they are preying on people to satisfy their own desires. These last folks are a sub-class of the final set – the anti-social or sociopaths. They are rare.
These things sound pretty familiar to some because you have lived it. You may even be living within one of these classes now. I would dare to even venture that most people on this planet are addicted to some vice or another… there really is no difference in classification. This blog is meant for you who can understand and identify with this. This blog is meant for you to explore and perhaps learn a little about my addiction, the struggles I face, and maybe glean some help at the same time.
Sexual addiction behaves in much the same way as chemical addiction because it literally IS a chemical addiction. The difference is that I have learned behaviors that allow me to get my chemicals from my own body. There are lots of books out there that teach you all about it. Follow the link to see a list I have curated for my readers.
In any case, sexual addiction can (and quite often does) run parallel to the course of chemical addiction. Much like chemical addiction, it CAN be managed and eventually eradicated, but press and law enforcement won’t tell you that. They only talk about the damage, and rightfully so, but what they don’t say is that, like other addictions, there is a way out. One can learn to manage the addiction. The behaviors and sometimes even the chemical dependencies can be removed if one can recognize and tend to the destructive urges.
At one time I was a class 1 addict. I hurt someone. My story is or will be documented in this blog under other categories. Mostly you should be able to find these stories in the 12 steps series. I have since regressed to a class 3 addict, but I still push into class 2 in that my habits are not entirely under control. I do feel arousal at inappropriate times, but I have learned to ignore and/or postpone them. When my mind won’t focus, I have coping mechanisms that I use. Sometimes I still compulsively masturbate. This is par for the course for me, but I am getting better. I have a treatment program that I am on. It works, but it is work. So, I work at it. Mostly it is a mental battle, because, let’s face it, there are no physical drawbacks from not masturbating.
The endpoint here is that I am no longer a class 1 addict, nor will I ever be again. Of that, I am confident. This brings me to my most annoying thing.
What does one do when the world knows you have sexually offended? The current laws drag me into my past every three months. They will not let me live in the now or into the future. The reason for that is or will be documented and linked here. Am I dangerous? No. Am I predatory? No. Not in the least.
You might say that my victim has to live with what I did for the rest of their life, so it is fitting that I do as well? Okay, I understand that logic, and I detest what I did enough that I might actually agree with you had I and my family not lived under the consequences of that logic. So let’s use that same logic for other offenses: Drug abuse with a victim, Alcohol abuse with a victim, Murder, Theft. All offenses damage people. The victims of those crimes have to live with the offense for the rest of their lives. Sexual offenses do the same at the person’s core – their id, I get that, I would argue that theft does as well, and obviously so does murder. Does that mean we measure our response to that offense with retribution or do use the voracity of our feelings to work that much more to cure the offender so they never offend again? I don’t disagree with the voracity of the response by the public. What I disagree with is the use of resources.
Let’s entertain a new approach for a moment.
Hypothetically, let’s say a sexual predator victimizes a young person… pre-pubescent, but let’s say that person is on the border of sexual awakening. In this case, the victim will carry a warped and damaged view of sexuality into a sexually charged adult world while also developing physically, gathering desired attention and validation from the same and opposite sex. What the victim has learned from the predator is the example that boundaries are loose and can be bent to explore curiosities, identities, or (as in the predator’s case) desires. Let’s not explore the soup of desires, etc. that the predator has or could have, but let’s focus on the victim instead.
The victim, being pre-pubescent, will be emerging into an adult world with these broken down boundaries. Not good. There is a great deal of damage that is already caused and now has the potential of being propagated through the victim also damaging themselves more as well as damaging others. Can you see the danger here? More victims, reinforced predation, and more damage to themselves. There is an old saying floating around the addiction recovery circles that goes like this, “Hurt people hurt people.” See the meaning in this context? There is a hurt person here. They are freshly damaged and need healing. Thankfully, there are lots of resources out there – most IMHO woefully inadequate, but there are MANY. And many of them are thankfully free to the victim. We only need to know who the victim is in order to help them.
Now let’s explore the other victim(s).
The class 1 addict. Remember… “Hurt people hurt people.” Stay with me for a moment… in the previous paragraphs, we learned that the victim would not hurt anyone else and has gotten treatment because of the vast resources available to them today…
…so long as we knew about them once the offense was committed.
Flawed as those resources might be, the help is there, but what if we never learned of the offense? What if that victim grew up and was never helped into positive other-centered living? This person… the predator was once a victim and still is, in many ways, a victim. They never got the help they needed, so they grew into a life of victimhood that turned into predatory behavior because they never learned positive self-image nor constructive boundaries. So their way of relating to the world (as seen through the eyes of someone who didn’t learn constructive self-vision or self-management or positive world-views) became using others. We now see them as a predator, but what they really are is a victim… they are someone else’s victim.
This does not excuse the offense… it only explains it.
It seems like an endless cycle, and mostly, as long as we continue to treat only the victims, it will be. What happens when the predator serves their time for their offense, but they are still warped and damaged and addicted? Only now, they are more warped and more damaged and possibly more addicted because they have been isolated from real society and have been thrust into a world filled with broken people supervised and managed by more broken people. Don’t they continue to be slaves to their addictions and compulsions? Don’t they continue to not manage themselves?
So you might say, “Okay, we can teach them self-management and addiction-management.” To that, I would say, “We are doing society a disservice.”
What happens when you tie a string to a really good kite and then tie that string to a fence post? That kite catches the wind and pulls on that string (the management technique) even in the lightest of breezes. It soars into the higher winds and convection currents and still pulls on the string even in the dead of summer when there is no breeze and it is still and hot.
That string will eventually break, though, won’t it? Sure the string lasts a while, and the kite will perform, but once that string breaks, it will come tumbling to the ground and crash, hurting itself and possibly something else. What if it lands on the windshield of a car or van with passengers in it, blocks the view of the driver, causing an accident? How many other vehicles will that one-vehicle crash into or cause to pile into one another? Can you predict where that kite will go once the string breaks? Tie that string to a strong pole, but the string is still a string.
Handing a predator a set of tools to self manage is like tying a massive kite on a flimsy string and letting it into the airstream over a black parking lot next to a busy 8-lane highway. There is risk for more victims. We have not removed the fact that the kite is still dependent on forces outside of itself. It is dependent. Dependence and restraint is not the answer.
What if we reinforced the wings and gave it an engine and control surfaces? What if we gave it a safe place to land and allowed it to come and go at will; shelter to sit out storms and maintenance crews to keep its engine and controls in top shape?
A waste of resources you say???
Ok, so what would be a better use of those resources? A state-wide database replicated by a nationwide database replicated by a worldwide database, all meant to keep track of how many kites we have flying? Or better… let’s create entire police forces and court dockets around the kites. Literally EVERY TOWN AND COUNTY AND STATE each with its own department tasked with examining the databases, pulling the kites in, checking the strings, and then letting them back up again… over and over and over again.
Don’t forget the massive amounts of standard police training to get these folks to the point where they can be called police and then giving them training to understand how to pull the kite strings in and check them, report on the condition of the string, and then let the kite back up only to repeat that same process again and again until the kite is decommissioned.
Let’s not forget, we also have to have a number of qualified folks meant to hold onto the kites before we put strings on them. They were dangerous before and now we have to keep them isolated and locked up because we don’t like that they crashed previously and damaged something. How long they are kept is not measured in what they need to be outfitted and soar. No, they simply need to be kept away from our things so they don’t cause damage… and also because we are now afraid of them and angry that they damaged something or someone. Yes, angry that they crashed and now they must pay because… well just because. Nevermind they are basically unchanged once released, and in fact, once released we find they have atrophied and been damaged by being kept away from other kites and other things they could damage.
Let’s ignore the fact that now the kites are more erratic in their flight patterns and deteriorate more quickly because of constantly being pulled in and let back out again, given no shelter or repair… well, you get the picture.
So, because they are damaged they must be classified. Let’s remember to spend resources on folks that train first in the art of classification, but also in the art of engines, and finally in the art of kites. Nevermind that these folks know how to repair, reinforce, place controls, and engines on the kites so they may soar… no no… let’s make sure they only examine and classify and then go away. We have it now… the strings are on. Everything is safe because we have the enforcement folks who are trained to put new strings on periodically. And we have the lists and databases of kites and we have the people that keep the kites before we put them on strings.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
There is much more to be said here, but you get the point. There is a vast amount of resources being spent on sexual offenses and what I call anger-based punishment. There is NOT nearly enough being spent on both the victim and the predator-as-victim in the recovery effort. Instead of giving the predators strings-that-break to keep their kites from flying all over and crashing into our things. Wouldn’t it make more sense to create a treatment plan that includes isolating the most dangerous kites in boxes so they can learn to stop being animalistic, and after they learn to no longer act out, then let them join the others who are not incarcerated and in treatment so that we have reformed victims and reformed predators? For that matter, would it be even fair to call them predators anymore? Wouldn’t they then be reformed addicts? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
Let’s explore the benefits.
I submit offenders are typically not re-offenders. If you believe otherwise, there are a few comprehensive studies I would point you to that are conducted by very prestigious institutions that establish that the opposite opinion is true. In one report released in May of 2019, the approximated re-offense rate is around 3.7 percent. (7.7 percent arrest and 50% conviction rate) This report also cites a 2003 report that draws samples of nearly 10 thousand individuals across 15 states and comes up with the same conclusion.
If we can agree these reports and findings are factually significant then we can begin to dissolve the reasoning for massive forces and departments designed to keep track of these offenders and report on their whereabouts. Frankly, tracking and publishing these folks does no good for the public. In fact, studies have shown that they harm society (by harming the offender and keeping them in a state of oppression and depression.) When these conditions are met, the offender is MORE likely to re-offend because of the shame cycle and heightened isolationism causing a person to see themselves as apart from society or less than human.
I think we can all agree that sexual offenses are in a class of criminal behavior that is far apart from other egregious crimes. The offense and offenders have the potential to spread far beyond themselves and we are rightly horrified at these activities and how they are especially damaging and warped behavior You’ll find no disagreement here or with any other rational human being.
But remember, this is a “sex offender” whose diatribe you are reading. Thank you, but let me also bring you back to the most annoying thing…
Those who know I have committed a sexual offense (and that is nearly everyone if they do their homework or have any sort of deeper relationship with me) ONLY relate to me through the lens of that offense. I’m not so concerned with how that affects me… because it really doesn’t. I am more concerned with how it affects them and others around them.
My child goes to a school nearby. I cannot visit them except in a special room that is isolated from other kids. So while my child sees other kids eating with their parents and can talk and interact with them. My child cannot “show off her dad” to anyone and has to hide in a special room with me. Is that to my detriment or my child’s?
My child is going to be in a school play in a few months. There will be lots of parents there supporting their children, yet I am not permitted to attend. My child won’t be able to see my support from my seat in the crowd, though I would very much love to do so. How does that help my child? Is that to my detriment or my child’s?
I cannot attend a regular child-teacher conference anymore. Is that to my detriment, or my kids’?
My wife who designed and created many of the costumes for the same play cannot show off her work to her husband. She cannot have a conversation with me about how a certain costume looked during the production or how something went well during the play. We can’t laugh together at any of the things that go right or wrong or share a moment of pride with each other when we see the costumes she designed being used for something so positive for not only our child but for other kids. Is that to my detriment or hers?
Because literally everyone I know now sees me as a sexual predator because of the sexual offender database and all of these other laws designed to protect society from someone who is not me… even by society’s definition, I am the lowest risk. Yes, my kite has been categorized. They now interact with me and fear me unnecessarily. Is that to my detriment or theirs?
My family used to enjoy life as myself being the primary breadwinner, but now I barely make one-third of what my wife makes in a fast-food job. Is that to my detriment or theirs?
Everyone fears me. Society spends unnecessary and ineffective money and resources on me. Society punishes my children. Society punishes my wife. Society restricts my family from activities shared together that build community and friendships. I am isolated from healing interaction. Is that to my detriment or society’s?
That is the most annoying thing.
It breaks my heart.