Saturday, July 23, 2005

Q: Who are the Martians?

A: All of the people on the National Sex Offenders Registry.

Let’s get it straight, no pun intended. If, when my daughter was 10 years old, some guy (or girl) directed, persuaded of forced her to participate in the type of sexual behavior that grown ups do, I would run him (or her) over as they crossed the street. I would poke his (or her) eyes out. I would chop off his (or her) toes. It’s a gut reaction, not one that I am particularly proud of.

However, if by the same token, when my daughter was 10 years old and fell from a swing in a playground and was crying on the ground, and some guy (or girl) came by, offered to pick her up, brush her off and hold her until she was composed enough to go about her business, I would thank that person, maybe buy him or her a hot dog, or the vegetarian equivalent, in gratitude.

From where I sit there is a fine line between committing a sexual offense and committing an act of commonplace caring. But depending on the times, the country, the culture and other factors such as socio-economic status and gender, one society’s sexual offense is another society's night out.

(Now don't get the idea that I am encouraging world-wide Man-Boy LoveFests, or making light of the horror of rape, because I am not. I've worked with rapists when I was a counselor in a secure treament facility, in my twenties. These guys really are scary and really are hurting and hurtful.)

Anyway, the other day I read in Computerworld that the National Sex Offenders Registry was up and running. So, just like everybody else in America I wanted to know who the sex offenders on my block were. And guess what? The server was inaccessible because TOO MANY PEOPLE WANTED TO ACCESS THE LIST. So tell me, how come everybody wants to know about the sex offenders on their block? It’s because, I suspect, that we are worried about invasion. Sex offenders are like Martians, they are out to get us. Whether it is a matter of some alien race invading my town, or some pedophile invading my child, it becomes tantamount to the same this: they are out to get us.

And in our out-to-gettedness we become afraid and obsessed: The perfect customer.

Moving on.

I knew a guy who was accused of being a sex offender. He worked at my then 4 year old daughter’s day care center. He was accused by another 4 year old. He was fired from his job. I don't know if he was legally charged or tried. His life was ruined. I liked him. He would call me up in tears, literally. His life was over. He was an accused child molester. For all that I know, he might even be on the National Sex Offenders list. Funny, I never knew exactly what his offensive behavior was. Did he stick his tongue way down the child’s mouth? Did he convince the child to give him a blow job? Pretty lurid stuff. Chop off his toes. Or did he pick up and brush off the child after falling from the swing.

It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is a list and he might be on it. Jeepers... I wonder if I am on it?


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