Friday, October 25, 2013

Sex Offenders Have Become Our "Bogeymen", Allowing Anxiety not Facts to Write Our Laws

Second Huffington Post article this week on Sex Offender hype and myth with Halloween approaching.


Fear the Bogeyman: Sex Offender Panic on Halloween
By Andrew Extein   October 25, 2013

It can be said that sex offenders are the new bogeymen, mythical monsters invented to scare children into social order. People convicted of sex offenses, and subsequently placed on the public registry, are transformed into a concept of evil, which is then personified as a group of faceless, terrifying, and predatory devils. It would appear that this strategy is used to keep sex offenders at a distance, in turn keeping our children and families safe from harm. But in reality, such fantasy does just the opposite: ignoring the realities of sex offenses puts children, families, and adults at greater risk.

Halloween is a notable time to talk about sex offenders and the issues surrounding such labeling, as they conjure both legal realities and Jungian fantasy. Many cities and counties have enacted special laws that dictate what sex offenders are allowed to do and where they are allowed to be on Halloween, publicizing their identities and putting them at risk of harassment or worse. On a deeper level, Halloween enhances cultural fear, paranoia, and panic--a bad combination for sex offenders. Why have sex offenders become our "bogeymen," and why is this counterproductive?