I just read the new survey done by the NCMEC/National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The survey and map shows an increase in sex offenders across the country, up from 851,870 to 859,500. Their map highlights the number of “sex offenders” in each state and surrounding U.S. territories.
My issue I have with the NCMEC survey is that no where on their map or in their survey do they acknowledge that the term ‘sex offender’ is an overly broad term. It covers everything from public urination to violent predatory pedophile behavior. Skinny dipping, Romeo & Juliette teenage sex, kidnapping, inadvertant internet down-loading, heinous predatory molestations of children, they’re all lumped together under the broad term “sex offender” and the survey doesn’t mention that.
Of course, exhibiting the survey and map the way they do benefits the NCMEC. The term “sex offender” on the map must be a scare tactic meant to get the public up in arms over how many “perverts” live in anyone’s neck of the woods. If not that, then what? Do they feel justified that they are performing a public service? Then why not report all the statistics on the survey, if you’re willing to report how many sex offenders are in each state and U.S. territory, then be honest and report the offenses too. Or did the NCMEC not bother to look at those statistics? Everyone on the registry is not the “monster” that a general survey such as this would have one believe.
Does the NCMEC not want the public to know that out of the 859,500 sex offenders on the registry, there’s probably 4,000 to 5,000 that are dangerous predatory offenders? Wouldn’t they want the public to feel safe knowing that many offenders have never had any inappropriate contact with children? That many are first time non-violent, non-contact offenders with a very low rate of recidivism? Wouldn’t they want to relay the whole truth, not just the parts that might in some way benefit them?
Don’t get me wrong, the NCMEC may be a fine organization that does a wonderful job, however, I believe they need to be transparent in their reports and not use the broad term “sex offender” without acknowledging somewhere in their survey the extremely varied offenses that the term covers.
What the NCMEC says or more importantly doesn’t say, affects all children including those who happen to have a parent, sibling or other family member or friend on the registry. Aren’t those children important to the NCMEC? Doesn’t the fact that the generic sex offender term used in the survey makes alot of those registrants “monsters” in the eyes of the public, when clearly they are not, matter to the NCMEC? Those “sex offenders” have children, families, wives, mothers, sisters, girlfriends. There is a real person behind that label, and behind that person are people, including children, that care about them.
It’s certainly long past due for organizations such as the NCMEC to look at themselves with a fresh set of eyes, to be honest and brave enough to admit that after all these years of generic labeling and all the research that’s be done, that all sex offenders and sex offenses are not equal. Perhaps other organizations would then follow suit and the world would be a better place.
We could all use a Christmas miracle.