SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ACTIVIST? HOW TO PREPARE FOR COMBAT
By: Derek W. Logue
Written 6 August 2010, Updated 6 July 2019
Are you tired of waking up every morning afraid of the next legislation targeting you? Are you tired of harassment by neighbors, police, and self-styled vigilante groups and websites? Many people are tired of the uncertainty in their lives and wish to fight back, but they do not. There are many reasons why most people impacted by sex offense laws. Many of us fear retaliation. Others simply feel like they are alone in wanting to fight, and many others sit and wait for someone else to fight for them. Others do just enough for themselves and quit when their personal circumstances improve. We are at times our own worst enemies.
There are 900,000+ names on America’s public sex offense registry. Out of those 900,000+ registrants are a small but growing number of dedicated activists fighting to reform current sex offense legislation. Over the years, we have accomplished great things with the few that have chosen to stand up, but the more dedicated warriors, the greater the chances we can overcome this adversity once and for all.
You are not alone in this so-called “war on sex offenders.”
If you wish to become more active in the fight against over broad, ineffective, and counterproductive laws, there are many ways you can help. Below are just a few ways to fight back.
TIP #1: JOIN AN RSO ACTIVIST/ SUPPORT/ EDUCATION WEBSITE (ENLIST)
I cannot stress enough the importance of joining a website of supportive individuals who are also seeking reform of current sex offense legislation. Even the most resilient activists struggle at times to deal with the personal impact of these laws, and having a support network helps us to share our burdens, discuss strategies, and gain encouragement to continue the fight. We need more than an “army of one” here!
ACTIVIST SITES: These are the main activist groups working on reforming sex offender laws. There may be groups in your state but some are hard to find and dont have a website:
- Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) all4consolaws.org — California based group
- Women Against Registry (WAR) womenagainstregistry.org — Missouri-based group
- Texas Voices — https://texasvoices.org/
- Florida Action Committee — https://floridaactioncommittee.org/
SUPPORT SITES: These groups offer online support and education forums in addition to reform efforts:
- Sex Offender Solutions and Education Network (SOSEN) sosen.org — Front page news, activism materials, and a secure, private forum for you to speak candidly with other registrants and their loved ones.
- Families of Sex Offenders (http://support-for-families.boards.net/) — A forum that was once part of the Daily Strength website, focus is on support for families of registrants and less on activism.
TIP #2: GET EDUCATED (TAKE UP ARMS)
Perhaps the scariest part of activism is the prospect of being interviewed by the media without knowledge of a subject. Every activist had to start somewhere, even me. My introduction into sex offender activism came through an old forum and through the eAdvocate website. Thankfully, there is a wealth of research available on a variety of sex offender issues, and activist sites including Once Fallen offer this education free of charge. There are also a number of suggested readings on my LINKS PAGE for more info.
If you just beginning to learn the ABC’s of apologetics, then I highly recommend the Once Fallen “Mythbusters” page to familiarize yourself with the common myths. Once Fallen also has a guide on media interviews. The other organizations I mentioned also have tools available to help you train for future activism projects.
TIP #3: STAY INFORMED (KNOW YOUR ENEMY)
If you do not keep up with the latest news, then there is a good chance you will miss something important. Remember, the Adam Walsh Act sat stagnant in Congress for about a year before it was steam-rolled through Congress like a freight train.
The organizations mentioned in Tip #1 currently place major news articles on their front pages. (Florida Action Committee also places news on the front page of their website. If you are not “on paper” and can access social media, OnceFallen.com and the aforementioned groups have Twitter and Facebook pages that function as news feeds.
In addition, search engines have “News Search” functions to help you find the latest sex offender headlines. For example, using Google, I can search any sex offender news story within the past hour, which can be expanded to the last day, last week, or last month. If you see a local news article of interest, you can share it with us. Much of our news comes from networking and sharing of info.
TIP #4: GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY (BASIC TRAINING)
There are many ways to get involved. Not all of us are bold and brave enough to tackle the front lines. Even seasoned veterans like me get nervous on the front lines. While the Anti-Registry Movement does not offer a “basic training course” (that should have been made years ago), there are still many ways to prepare for your role as an effective activist.
The first thing you need to do is determine your role in this fight. What can you being to the table? There are numerous roles needing to be filled, including, but not limited to:
- Legal: Litigation and legal research, analysis of relevant court cases
- Legislative: Opposing bad legislation, letter writing, speaking with legislators
- Media: Letters to the editor, on-air commentary, social media, even commenting on news articles
- Educators: Speaking venues, research reports
- Street level Activism: Public awareness campaigns, protests, literature distribution
- Supportive roles: Advisors, assisting activists and those in need of support, fundaisers
TIP #5: CONTACTING LEGISLATORS & THE MEDIA (THE FRONT LINES)
To kill a snake, you cut off the head and not the tail. Killing a law is far easier if it never gets passed in the first place. Therefore, it is important we keep up with legislation that targets our very existence and fight back at the source.
Many politicians and media members do not stop to consider the impact of many of the laws they pass. Many blindly pass it because it generates votes, others because they do not have the time or expertise in the field, and others do so out of fear or apathy. It is easier to sign a law when they do not have to deal with opposition. Each of us have a story to tell. Emotional stories are needed as much as the facts. Your legislator needs to know how you’ve lost your home/ job/ wife, etc.
I understand that speaking publicly is scary. I’ve been doing it for years and my voice still shakes at times. I understand your fear but at the same time, many worst fears have never been realized. I’ve never been beat up or had my house firebombed for telling an on-air personality that he or she is uneducated on the topic. Many media outlets are willing to protect your anonymity. If you are willing to use your real name and face, I find that to be superior, as our adversaries believe we hide our faces so we can reoffend. We need to put human faces on this movement, as it is easier to pass bad legislation on nameless and faceless people.
This nation is starving for a better solution to dealing with sexual offending in the country. The laws are failing. We must emphasize healing for both victim and offender, treatment to compliment punishment for the offenders, and the option of reconciliation and atonement to those they offended, rehabilitation and successful reintegration upon release from prison, and sensible education and prevention programs, such as the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center & Stop It Now!
TIP #6: SUPPORT WAR EFFORTS! (“BUY WAR BONDS”)
It seems the moment money is mentioned anywhere on a website, eyes glaze over and people get fidgety. After all, sex offenders are very likely to be poor, unemployed/ on welfare, and/or taxed heavily by such obligations as registration fees and fines. Even a small contribution (a few bucks or even a few stamps) to this site or one of the activist sites goes a long way to helping spread the word. Many sites are funded by equally poor activists (I am on SSI/ Disability myself and spend roughly 3/4 of my monthly income for unsubsidized rent and utilities).
There are many ways, however, to contribute to the war effort besides financially. Many of the actions I mentioned in the “get your hands dirty” tip apply here as well. Word of mouth is a great advertiser. Activist sites have to compete with sex offender registries, websites that advocate for stricter sex offender laws, vigilante websites, news articles, and various personal blogs for attention. A person seeking support or legal advice is most likely to find a site like Family Watchdog than one of the activist sites. Word of mouth is better than any advertising we could do.
VISIT MY CONTACT ME page to donate to this website. OnceFallen.com is engaged in numerous activism projects like prison outreach and street level public awareness campaigns, so even small donations help. This same principle applies to the other existing organizations Even small donations of a few dollars are welcome and desperately needed.
These are merely my own suggestions for fighting back. We currently have less than 1% actively fighting back. If we even had the 1%, we’d have over seven thousand warriors in the fight. If we’ve done this much with a couple hundred warriors, imagine what a couple of thousand can do!