Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Intimite Perspective

Yesterday, I was forwarded an email from Dr. Lisa Anne Zilney, Ph. D, an Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Dr. Zilney is currently seeking women who are in intimiate relationships with registered sex offenders. She is going to be conducting a study of their experiences while facing a variety of challenges from the criminal justice system to how society treats the sexual offender and those who associate closely with him once he is released from incarceration. The interviews will be entirely confidential to protect the identities of the participants.

If you would like to participate in the study, or for more info, pleave visit:

I have to admit, I am delightfully surprised that anyone would want to do a study like this, and I appreciate Dr. Zilney's interest greatly. While I do see a LOT of mothers out there advocating for reform of sex offender laws on behalf of their young sons, I see very few wives, fiances and girlfriends stepping up to the plate. Perhaps they are embarrassed. Perhaps the crime occurred while they were in the relationship with their sex offending partner. Perhaps they have a family to protect from vigilantism. Whatever their reasons, there are very few who do speak out and I only did under the umbrella of using a fake name.

It is scary business, and while Romeo and Juliet amendments are being tossed around in legislative sessions all around the country right now, which is great news for all the moms out there; what about the wives, fiances, and girlfriends? Who will listen to them?

A good friend of mine emailed me saying that he was receiving many concerns that Dr. Zilney's study will exclude moms, sisters and daughters. I can totally understand those concerns, but as I said in my response:

Well, frankly, I can appreciate Dr. Zilney's interest in wives, fiances and girlfriends. After all, a mother of a sex offender has no choice but to be the offender's mother. But, wives/finaces/girlfriends, they have a choice to be with their offender! And, some at the risk of losing their friends, being ostricized by family, and facing public humiliation and vigilantism. This speaks volumes in regards to how supportive they are when they know - better than anyone - if the offender will ever reoffend. Most wives, fiances or girlfriends would never stay with someone that they considered a danger or a threat to anyone. This is why I was SOOOOO surprised that the ACIC (Arkansas Crime Information Center) never asked ME about my husband, what kind of man he is as a person. No one has the kind of insight into another person better than a spouse. I would think having access to wives, fiances, and girlfriends would be a VERY valuable tool in determining one's level of risk. The fact that they're not using such a valuable resource only shows that their assessments are incomplete and likely inaccurate. They also don't bother to speak with any children living in the home, and I found this astounding! The ACIC makes no effort whatsover to "get to know" the offenders they assess. I personally consider their assessment techniques a big waste of time and consider it a joke.

A mother will likely stand by their sex offender son, REGARDLESS of what kind of person the offender is, from peeping tom to murderer. Very few ever turn their backs on their son. But, if offenders were truly a pervert/pedophile/predator and a risk to society, then I imagine most, if not all, wives/fiances/girlfriends would run for the hills.

I genuinely appreciate Dr. Zilney's interest and I have sent her an email. I do hope she contacts me, because I have a lot to say...

1 comment:

  1. Lynn, what a great post! I absolutely couldn't agree more! That's what gets me so ticked when persons I considered to be friends (casual), who now treat me like I have a disease or am mentally ill. Do they really think that little of me that I would marry a man who is a child molester, etc.?