Should society offer redemption to rapists and child molesters?

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For the last 31 years, the 48-year-old single mother of five has lived with the sexual violence that was inflicted on her twice in her late teens.

“There are parts of me that are broken,” she said.

Despite the horrific acts that were committed against her, she believed sexual offenders deserved the chance to reintegrate into society.

Debate has reignited over whether the public has a right to know if a person is a convicted rapist after Stuff revealed an offender is using a new identity to go door-to-door for his job in Christchurch.”I definitely do think that people deserve a second chance,” Sarah said.

She was 17 when her neighbour’s boyfriend raped her. Two years later, her drink was spiked and she was gang-raped in Auckland.

She never reported the attacks, thinking “it was something all women went through”.

She was 21 when she realised the abuse she had suffered was not “normal”.

She gained weight in the hope it would protect her from male attention.

“I enjoyed being attractive, but what I wanted was for people to treat me like a human being and not just a piece of meat.”

She had tried dating since her “psychologically abusive” marriage broke up in 2000, but found it difficult to trust anyone.

“It [the rape] changed the way I approached the world. This has never gone away. For me it’s a constant battle over giving my daughter the freedom to experience the world and keeping her safe at the same time.”

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has long called for a sex offender’s register. Sarah thought it would do little to address sexual offending when it was often those known to the victims who committed the crimes.

“These lists are not going to necessarily help to keep us safe. What we need to be doing is focussing on children to educate them on keeping themselves safe and what is ok and what is not ok.”

Women and sexual assault victim advocate Jackie Clark said convicted rapist working door-to-door in Christchurch deserved a second chance, as long there was substantial proof he no longer posted a risk to the community.

“We can name and shame safely. Is it fair to him, and is it fair to her and does it serve a purpose?”

There was “a very fine balance between protecting her [the victim] and the public”, Clark said.

What would you do with sexual predators who have completed their prison term?

 

– Stuff

 


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