Fata Morgana (chimerically) wrote,
Fata Morgana

Sex, lies, and information

California's registered sex offender website is now online. I'm shocked at the level of detail they have - a picture, description, and list of offenses for every offender, all of which must be updated annually. I'm also shocked at how many sex offenders live in my area, or immediately west of it. The registration itself has been around for years (recorded since 1947, fully public since 1996), but the information has never been this public before. I have mixed feelings about this. The survivor in me hails its potential to prevent abuse, but the civil libertarian finds such an accessible disclosure of incriminating information disturbing.

On a similar subject, The Philly Enquirer reports that grade schoolers in Philadelphia are being screened for abuse or exposure to sex after a rash of sexual acts, some forced and/or violent. (A quote: "What years ago used to be natural curiosity that manifested itself in 'playing doctor' or 'show and tell' has taken on a more aggressive and sexual tone in some children, who are exhibiting acts that should be far beyond their knowledge.") The story made me feel physically ill, though I was much more upset about the repeated rape of a girl by various classmates a couple of years ago at Willard Middle School (then again when she transferred to another school!), where I was a tutor during my freshman year. I haven't watched much television in the last six years, but what I have seen - in addition to the loads of explicit and violent stuff on the internet - makes me think that most of these kids are learning this from the media rather than from influences at home.

On a more positive note, Amnesty International has launched a campaign to change the common perception that sees rape as an "inevitable" part of war to one that views rape as a "deliberate war strategy" and one that is punishable in war crimes tribunals. It's about fucking time. Here's a summary article. One place they examine is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which I researched last year as part of my "True Costs of Technology" project. Last fall I also read the book Bananas, Beaches, and Bases, which has a chapter dedicated to this subject.

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