Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Letters to the Editor - Combat sex offenders

USA Today - July 27, 2005
After 20 years of advocating for those who are survivors of sexual violence, it's hard to believe there is finally a national registry of sex offenders (National online registry of sex offenders launched, News, July 21). 

Now, I think it's time for federal laws on the books that would stimulate a uniform approach to sexual offenses. The reality is that too many states are considered to be "sex-offender friendly." 

I also believe it's imperative that we have not only a national sex offender registry, but also an international one. We know that both alleged and convicted sex offenders move from one state to the next to avoid prosecution, but they also move from one country to another. We need to protect potential victims not only in the United States, but also in the world.

There also needs to be a federal law that abolishes the idea of statutes of limitations on civil and criminal charges when the crime is related to sexual violence. Canada, for example, has no such statutes on these sorts of crimes. We need to make our country safe for everyone.

Vicki Polin, executive director
The Awareness Center: Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault

Friday, July 22, 2005

Letters to the Editor - Cycle of abuse

Cycle of abuse
Haaretz - July 22, 2005

Regarding "5 youths from W. Bank settlement suspected of raping 9-year-old girl," July 14

It is both sad and painful each and every time I read about another case where preteens or teenagers are suspected of sexually assaulting another child. Most people are not aware of the fact that at least 90 percent of sex offenders were sexually abused as children. Reading this article, one has to stop and wonder if all five of the alleged offenders were sexually abused, and if so, who were the offenders. I also wonder if there were signs that these boys needed help. If there were, why wasn't anything done?

We as a community need to do whatever it takes to protect our children from being sexually abused and assaulted. We need to do whatever it takes to make sure that those who commit these offenses are in treatment, and are monitored to protect others from becoming the next victims.

Vicki Polin,

Exec. director,

The Awareness Center: the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault

Baltimore, MD

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Letters to the Editor - Sex offender registries

Letters to the Editor
Sex offender registries
Kansas City Star - July 7, 2005
It amazes me, knowing what we know about sex offenders, that anyone would question the constitutionality of a state sex offender registry in Missouri (6/30, Metro, "Court to consider sex offender law").
According to a 1997 study (Prentky, Lee, Knight and Cerce), 52 percent of sex offenders re-offend over a 25-year period. Not only is it critical that there be a sex offender registry in Missouri, but there should be a national sex offender registry as well.
Offenders tend to move around, as in the case of William Webb. He was on the registry in the state of Washington because of a child molestation conviction in 1992. Recently, he was able to get a license to teach driver's education to high school students in Wisconsin because officials were unaware of his criminal background.
We need to start demanding criminal background checks of anyone to be licensed or employed to work with children. We also need to start lobbying our lawmakers to subsidize the cost of these expensive background checks.
It's true this is not foolproof, as not all sex offenders have been convicted or placed on a registry. But it is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Letters to the Editor - Rape victims must be honored

Letters to the Editor 
Rape victims must be honored
Christian Science Monitor - July 5, 2005

In response to the June 27 article, "A rape victim defies traditional code": Thank you for writing such an important article. I'm sure rape victims from many different cultures and religions could relate to it.
It's sad to say that even today in many cultures, it is believed that if it became known that a woman was sexually assaulted, her reputation would be tarnished, as would that of her family. We need to start sending messages to our children and our neighbors that the offender is the criminal, and that the rape victim should be honored and respected.
Vicki Polin
Executive Director, The Awareness Center: The Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault