I just wanted to thank everyone that has helped support this cause & a special thank you to anyone that shopped with FTD and helped PREVENT CHILD ABUSE AMERICA.
I would like to remind everyone to PLEASE use appropriate language. I know this is a very hot (as in make your blood boil) topic, but try to use language that will not offend others. Thank you.
I've heard many people say that we need to reform the sex offender laws to exclude "Romeo & Juliet" offenses. For those not familiar with this term, it refers to statutory rape. One such argument is that an 18-year-old boy shouldn't have his life ruined for sleeping with his 17-year-old girlfriend. In 36 states, the age of consent is 16 or YOUNGER. In many others, there is an age gap on the books. In most cases, if it was a long term relationship - I can't really picture anyone freaking out by CONSENSUAL sex with a couple month age gap & having someone thrown in jail (although many parents might come unglued at the thought of their baby being intimate with anyone ever).
Most cases of statutory rape are not kids that both consented separated by a couple of months. Too many times, it is a child led to believe that a 20, 30, or 40-something loves them & that it is okay. Very rarely do these predators focus on emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy individuals. They target children with absentee parents, weight issues, low self-esteem, etc.
We need to work together to combat this false information that is being spread throughout the internet. If "Romeo & Juliet" offenses are removed from the registries, we could be looking at thousands of sex offenders that we can't identify & protect our children from!
I've also heard the argument that we should just keep our children off the internet, teach them to be safe, or that someone doesn't allow their child/ren to use the computer without supervision. Yes, we can teach our children to safe internet usage & set boundaries for them. We can install parental control software & monitor what they do. But, as someone that used the internet as a young teen, teenagers & children find ways to "have fun" and do what "everyone else is doing". Not to mention, the parents that prefer to be a friend & not set boundaries. Their children still need to be protected. I'm sure protective services is not going to start taking children just because the parents allow them to use the internet without supervision.
Even if we don't allow unsupervised internet use in our home, they will most likely have unsupervised or barely supervised access somewhere else: school, the library, a friends house, etc. The internet is a wonderful tool & our children should be allowed to use it within reason. Facebook, Myspace, and other networking sites are a great way to teens to keep in touch when school is not in session.
Our children are not the ones that ruined another person's life. The sex offender did & they are the ones that should be punished.
If you agree with what I've said, feel free to repost this (preferably with a link back to the cause) without spamming anyone.