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By Congruent Culture
I’m pretty open about my testimony.
Normally, people in my situation hide for pretty much the rest of their lives. They do their best to never call attention to themselves. They often lose their spouses, their jobs, their families. Some end up homeless. Some are never able to get another job. And they live in fear of being accused of something they did not do because of what they DID do in the past. In fact, many fear for their very lives in society so bend on vigilantism.
We are the only ex-criminals in America that are forever labeled publicly. We live eternally as if we committed our crime yesterday, no matter how many years pass. All it takes is one neighbor checking an online map and suddenly, I go from “a guy down the street” to “a monster waiting to strike.”
I am a registered sex offender.
I am open about it, because I feel that is what God is calling me to be.
I am not special. I am not better than other sex offenders. I am what I am. I made a mistake and I got caught. I was just blessed enough to have a wife, a family, and a church that decided to stand beside me instead of shutting me out, even though no one would blame them if they had. Not even me.
I never intended on doing what I did. And, I’ve learned through actually studying the facts, meeting people, hearing cases, etc. that MOST sex offenders are not the predators we are all made out to be.
I’ve also learned that, despite what we’re told by the nightly news and how you’ve been taught to guard your children, if your child is abused, it is not very likely a registered sex offender will be responsible. In fact, less than 10% of Registered Sex Offenders ever commit another sex-related crime. (Many sources claim that Sex Offender Recidivism rates are as high as 50%, but those are counting ALL crime, such as theft or failing to register, not just sex offenses.)
Your child is far more likely to be abused by someone your family is close to: a teacher, a relative, or a family friend. It is very rare that a child is abused by a stranger.
And while some RSO’s are just inexplicably obsessed with children or inflicting pain on others, those make up a very small minority. Most are people who used sex to cope with pain in their own lives and lost control of themselves. Many were molested themselves when they were children. Nearly all of them never thought they’d be capable of such terrible things. Most have a "thinking problem," not necessarily an attraction to children.
And 100% of Sex Offenders I've encountered or read about are/were addicted to pornography.
This was my problem. I’ve used pornography as a coping mechanism since I first discovered it at 11-years-old. There were times I tried to fight it. In fact, it was the catalyst for my salvation, fear of never breaking free from it. But it would still not leave me alone.
At my worst, I was spending up to 8 hours a DAY trolling the internet for porn.
And then, one bad click, one wrong website, one stupid decision made when high on endorphins and adrenaline has me branded for life with a scarlet letter.
That’s all it takes, men. One stupid decision can destroy everything.
Frankly, I thank God that I was caught then and there, because though I can’t imagine I would have done it again or done something worse, sex/porn addiction is a powerful drug that breaks down your morality.
Strip clubs, illegal pornography, prostitutes, adult arcades, affairs, homosexual acts (done by otherwise straight men)… pornography and sex addiction can lead to it all.
Now for most men, it won’t lead to something that drastic or illegal, but it still can destroy lives.
Pornography destroys your idea of what intimacy is supposed to look like. It offers a fantasy, and the longer you live in that fantasy, the harder it will be to conform to reality in a relationship.
It is one of the most profitable industries in the world (and that’s saying something, since most pornography can be obtained for free).
Not only that, but downloading illegal (underage) pornography is the fastest growing Sex Offense in the world today. And it’s no wonder, seeing as “barely legal,” “girls gone wild,” and “jailbait” pushers are doing their best to offer the youngest pornography possible.
In fact, illegal sex acts with underage girls is even a big acceptable mainstream joke with characters like “Quagmire” from Family Guy and the internet meme “Pedobear.” We live in a society that not only allows for the FANTASY of sex with a minor, but celebrates it. And then we are shocked when fantasy becomes reality!