Monday, July 1, 2013

A Look Back and the View Ahead

Way back in October 2008 I founded RSOL (Reform Sex Offender Laws) of Virginia. 10-25-14: The  RSOL-VA Website is no more, I decided not to renew (pay for) another year of web-hosting I'm sorry!-Mary

The original goal of RSOL of VA was to stop new and harsher legislation based on myth, fear and hysteria from passing at the yearly Virginia General Assembly sessions, to hold back the tide basically.  

Then in the summer of 2010 I took the necessary steps of formalizing the organization as an incorporated 501c4 non-profit which became official in September 2010. I waited 2 years to become a 501c4 and to accept or solicit donations from “supporters” because I wanted them to know that my main goal was reform for them and their family, not taking their money. I had hoped that having a board of directors would result in more faces and names being public, speaking against and for legislation, sharing their experiences with our lawmakers, traveling to D.C. occasionally and conceiving and participating in fund raisers and speaking events.

Two years later by September of 2012 my expectations and my enthusiasm of what a strong and determined organization could become were dashed. It was time for someone new to take the reigns, a new name and a new face for the cause. 

It was prudent to shed myself of the organization filings, deadlines and paperwork, the mountains of correspondence including the daily registration inquires and pleas of help, the legal questions and employment inquires, all the state and postal fees, the high costs of running a website and keeping it current plus much, much more. It all became a full-time position, a mental and physical drain and in a way a distraction from the original goal to stop new retroactive restrictions and regulations from becoming law.

But when I offered my spot as Executive Director to the board members no one was interested to take over, no one. So in December 2012 the RSOL of Virginia was dissolved and I became a volunteer advocate with no organization behind me but still advocating for data-driven legislation and common sense approaches for all issues sexual-related. This is where I feel my real contribution to these problems lie.

For the last 4.5 years (5 General Assembly sessions, 2009-2013) I have read the books, studies and reports written by experts in this field, kept track of what other states are saying and legislating plus the Federal laws new and old, constitutional challenges across the country on SORNA/AWA, residency restrictions and mandated lifetime registration.