Let’s find a better way to classify sex offenders

When I became a mother, I never thought one of my children would end up being labeled a sex offender. Yet, three years ago, it did happen. It’s not only changed his life but mine as well, because I see things so much differently. I see the struggles that my child goes through when it comes to finding a job – the prejudices and stigma he deals with when employers find out he is a sex offender. I think to myself: Was I the same way? Up until recently, sex offenders to me were the same as pedophiles. They were the ones who hurt children, who raped women.

Now I know that is not true. A sex offender can be someone who was caught urinating in public. Or a minor who had sex with another minor. Or someone who was unlucky enough to have had sex with a minor who lied about her age. The offenders’ lives are changed forever, while the minors go on living their lives with no consequence to their action. An offender can even be someone who used a file-sharing program, like my son did. He trusted the title of the movie to be what it said, but it turned out to be child porn.

There has to be some way to change the laws to reclassify people like this. Some way to label such people in a class separate from those who rape or harm another human being. Some way to stop people from assuming that just because they are labeled a sex offender, they are a bad person. But the question is how?

Juanita Solis