Omaha World-Herald Story Misses the Point (or Several Points)

by Gus

 Parents, teachers hear from child molesters themselves about how they target kids

The link above is the title of an article written by Lauren Sedam with the Omaha World-Herald. The subject matter covered goes to the heart of one of the biggest arguments against the registry and public disclosure of registrant’s information: most child sexual assault cases are perpetuated by a trusted individual, not a stranger.
If strangers don’t pose the risk, then public registries are useless. However, this story nearly completely ignores this point. From the article: 

About one in five girls and one in 10 boys are sexually abused, she said. Offenders, Jensen said, are master manipulators. They are rarely strangers, and they often work their way into children’s lives slowly, making both children and parents comfortable. “Stranger danger is OK, but if that’s the only thing you talk to your kids about, you’re missing the majority of risk,” Jensen said.

First, the one-in-five number is a huge fallacy, perpetuated by surveys done by groups like the CDC and others that ask questions like “have you ever had sex while drunk, sleeping, or times where you couldn’t consent?” Most people have had sex while drunk, but if you’re female, they want to consider it rape/assault.

These studies are done to perpetuate a perception that there is a problem so that funding can be grabbed for prevention of the “problem”.

Second, “Stranger danger is OK”? Its not OK. The piece doesn’t cite the fact that over 90 percent of sexual assault cases are committed by trusted family and friends. Do we focus all our attention on preventing car accidents on less than 10 percent of what causes them? We do not. Drunken driving, distracted driving, and other factors cause a huge portion of the fatal accidents in the U.S. There are virtually no education or preventative measures taken to help prevent hitting deer or handling manufacturer defects. Focusing on former offenders with registries and fear-mongering campaigns is tantamount to focusing all of our traffic-safety efforts on preventing collisions with deer.

Why do they ignore the FACTS?

2 thoughts on “Omaha World-Herald Story Misses the Point (or Several Points)

  1. Anonymous

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  2. Research clearly and consistently states that the recidivism rates for most sex offenders is around 5%. However, what we find missing in this rate is the rate of offending for the general adult male population. Why would this be important?If sex offenders re-offend at 5% and the general adult male population offends at a rate of 10%, then the general adult male population is twice as likely to offend as compared to the sex offender population. On the other hand if the general adult male population offends at a rate, of let's say 2.5%, then sex offenders will offend at twice their rate. How this risk is conceptualized is a different issue.So two questions immediately arise, and the obvious one is what is the offense rate for the general adult male population? By best estimates the general adult male population offends at the rate of between 1% and 5%. Let us consider what this means numerically.In the local area where I live there are 300 registered sex offenders and the adult male population is 150,000. Taking 5% of the 300 registered sex offenders we find that 15 are at risk of re-offending. Taking 5% of 150,000 we get that 7500 adult males are at risk for offending, or worse, currently offending. Even at 1% we are talking about 1,500 adult males at risk.Adjudicated sex offenders represent between 0.2% and 1% of the at risk male population. The real threat, which is ignored by our public safety policies, is the general adult male population.So here is the second, more important question: Why is this fact not forefront in the discussion of sexual abuse?

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