ONCE FALLEN RECOMMENDED BOOKS AND MOVIES LIST
Most recent addition to this page: 12 July 2023
This is a list of books, movies, and other media that The books, movies, and other forms of media recommended on this page have been personally reviewed and recommended by me (Derek W. Logue of Once Fallen.com). A brief description and links to sites that sell the media will also be provided. The list is mostly in reverse chronological order of release, where the newest releases are at the top of each section.
NOTICES AND DISCLAIMERS
- All forms of media can sell out, become unavailable, or become unavailable through the original author or publisher. Most books can be found used through Amazon, ABE Books, or eBay.
- Older books may become less obsolete over time due to new laws and research, or shifts in cultural norms and views. These were recommended at the time of release, and I feel even reading older books help with your own knowledge and understanding.
- OnceFallen.com advocates for the abolishment of sex offense registries. At times, works featured on this website may contain sections that conflict with the mission, goals, and/or philsophy of this website. When necessary, additional comments may be added to reflect where conflict exists.
“YOUR LIFE ON THE LIST” (Edition 3), A REGISTRY SURVIVAL GUIDE (January 2023) by Derek Logue of OnceFallen.com
DETAILS: “Your Life on ‘The List’”, now in its Third Edition, is a survival guide for individuals facing inclusion on the public “sex offender” registry. This guide provides an overview of common laws Registered Persons may face after conviction/ release from incarceration. This guide also provides useful information on finding housing, employment, travel issues, legal rights, and other advice and resources specific to Registered Persons. This guide also contains a list of transitional housing programs and a comprehensive overview of the sex offense registry laws of all 50 state and US Territories; the legal overview covers the registry, residency/ presence restriction laws, community notification, relief from the registry, parental rights, and other laws applicable to Registered Persons (complete with legal statute numbers). Your Life on “The List” is an indispensable tool for newly registered or soon-to-be registered persons. This guide was created primarily for prisoners and those on probation/ parole/ supervised release who are not allowed internet access. However, those interested in the myriad of laws a Registered Person must endure will also find value in this book.
HOW TO BUY: Return to the Main Page of this website to download the FREE PDF version (look for the big green button that says “PDF Version (Free)“, or, if you need a physical version, CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com ($14.95 plus shipping)
PERSONAL STORY AND INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS
“CAN I TELL YOU SOMETHING? WORDS OF HOPE AND ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE MODERN DAY LEPER” (2021) By Bob Van Domelen
DETAILS: This book is a collection of 28 “Into the Light” main articles written since 1997. Each article speaks directly to issues that those who committed sexual offenses will face while on the journey to recovery. “Someone understands me” is the most frequent response to the newsletter.The author is a ministry director at Broken Yoke Ministries, a non-profit jail/prison ministry emphasizing support for those with sex-related offenses. Visit brokenyoke.org for more details.
“THE DEVIL WAS LISTENING: How a 64-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for talking dirty on the Internet” (2018) by Stanley G. Rothenberg (2018)
DETAILS: “Justice is a fickle bitch. It’s axiomatic that the very rich walk away with smaller sentences than everyone else. Nowhere is this more true than in sentencing for sex crimes. Stanley G. Rothenberg is living proof of the injustice in sentencing for sex crimes. An openly-gay man subject to the prejudices that older men face in a youth-oriented society, Stan wandered into the free-for-all of internet chat rooms, looking for the worldwide web equivalent of phone sex. But the more time he spent talking dirty on the internet, the more jaded he became, and he realized what it was that really excited him — hearing other people talk about depravities that they’d committed. Stan had no desire to engage in any of the actual activities — if they were even true — but listening to people talk about their own illegal fringe experiences turned him on.But what started as a freaky turn on turned into something much more serious — a “pre-invented crime” that skirted the edges of entrapment while laying the groundwork for invoking the most serious sentencing upgrades available to a federal court. The conclusion? A life sentence for an elderly man who just wanted to talk dirty on the internet.”
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon (also available as a Kindle book)
TRAUMA, SHAME, AND THE POWER OF LOVE: THE FALL AND RISE OF A PHYSICIAN WHO HEALS HIMSELF (2015) by Christopher Pelloski, MD
DETAILS: (From Once Fallen’s book review on Amazon.com) This book a personal account of a successful doctor’s fall from grace for viewing illicit online pictures. It follows the author for a year from his arrest until his sentencing. The Author explains his reasoning and his personal difficulties that led him to view pictures he know to be taboo. I understand many readers have issues understanding the difference between explaining why a person commits a crime and excusing one’s own bad behavior. You can’t read this book objectively if you fall into the latter group. The Author bares his soul in this book, discussing his own childhood abuse and other mental issues that could have been the result of the abuse. Despite being born relatively poor, the Author graduated with a Ph. D. and worked in an illustrious career working with cancer patients. While searching for files on a peer-to-peer network, he stumbled upon CP, which opened up memories of his own abuse he had forgotten (or repressed) from his youth. (It must be noted that I disagree with some assertions in the book, nor am I fond of the fact some proceeds from sales go to the NCMEC, but the book is still worth reading).
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.
CONSENSUAL CONSEQUENCES (2011) by Lynn Gilmore
DETAILS: (From the Publisher’s Website) CONSENSUAL CONSEQUENCES is the gripping true story of how one woman fell in love with a registered sex offender. This captivating story profiles the life of an average American family who is living a not-so-average life. Lynn was an educated woman who found herself in a dead-end marriage, and after much soul searching she realized what she must do. Enter a new love, a good honest man living with the label of “registered sex offender.” Why would an educated woman fall in love with someone with such a label? Could this unlikely companion be Lynn’s knight in shining armor? What are the consequences of this unusual love affair? As America wages war on every sex offender in the U.S.—no matter how minor the offense—how has this family coped with this scarlet letter and the restrictions placed on them? All of these questions are answered in this powerful story of true love and heartache while living in fear of vigilantism and simultaneously battling a system that punishes their whole family endlessly.
DESPISED THINGS (2011) by Ken Kish
DETAILS: Inspired by true events, Despised Things is an account of Kev Ketch, a marked sex offender, who tells his interactions with Anna, Hank, Manny, and Cross that ultimately lead to his arrest, trial, and spiritual journey. As Anna and Hank manipulate young homosexual Manny in his direction, they set up a sex scandal and an arrest. An investigation into Kev’s arrest reveals that no fewer than fifteen felonies were committed against him; not just by Anna and Hank, but also by the county sheriff and the state’s attorney. But Kev is the only one that goes to jail. How is that possible? With his life in ruins, his reputation in shreds, his heart broken, he cries out to God only to discover he is…is what?
WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER (2010) By Kirsten Brydum and Frank Lindsay
DETAILS: (From Press Release) “Frank Lindsay’s story begins like that of any other man but takes a sharp turn into a struggle with addiction and an unfortunate incident that eventually begins to take over his life even as he works his way to overcome the fallout and find Grace —moving from head to heart, and giving without expectation of return. Time after time, he is faced with relentless psychological attacks transformed by Grace into opportunity for personal growth for himself and those around him. This is the story of the choices he makes and the startling consequences of those choices, shifting awareness of what is most important from “me” to “we.” “We’re All In This Together,” published by Dog Ear Publishing, is at times hilarious and heartbreaking, a vivid re-telling of a journey of a lifetime. The author’s insight into the American criminal justice system invites the reader to “re-evaluate whether or not they wish to embrace and support our current paradigms for social order,” he writes. Frank Lindsay’s courageous decision to share his story will give readers pause as they consider the law as it stands today. Kirsten Brydum’s illuminated old-soul wisdoms, skills and discernment inspired Lindsay and guided this book to fruition, and all Brydum’s proceeds from the sales of the book will go to The Kirsten Initiative.”
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com, and a Kindle version is available.
ONCE FALLEN (2009) by Derek Logue
DETAILS: Once Fallen is a two-part book exposing the fallacies and negative consequences of sex offender legislation. The first part follows the author’s journey through seven years as a registered sex offender; the second part of the book describes and exposes the fallacies of the various sex offender laws currently on the books. Once Fallen calls for sweeping reforms of current laws and a call for prevention, treatment, and restoration.
HOW TO BUY: It is available (only as a PDF copy) for free by CLICKING HERE
LEGAL/SOCIAL COMMENTARY AND REFERENCE BOOKS
FROM RAGE TO REASON: WHY WE NEED SEX CRIME LAWS BASED ON FACTS, NOT FEAR (2023) by Emily Horowitz
DETAILS: Analyzing sex-offense laws and false claims, this book shows that laws based on vengeance rather than justice or evidence create new forms of harm while failing to address the real and pervasive problem of sexual violence. In this timely and extensively researched book, sociologist Emily Horowitz shows how current sex-offense policies in the United States create new forms of harm and prevent those who have caused harm from the process of constructive repentance or contributing to society after punishment. Horowitz also illustrates the failure of criminal justice responses to social problems. Sharing detailed narratives from the experiences of those on registries and their loved ones, Horowitz reveals the social impact and cycle of violence that results from dehumanizing and banishing those who have already been held accountable. From Rage to Reason offers a new perspective on how and why false claims about sex offenses became so pervasive and how these myths fostered ineffective policies that have little to do with the reality of most sexual abuse. It argues that to truly prevent sexual abuse, we must unearth the sources of these misunderstandings, debunk these claims in a systematic way, and have frank and genuine discussions about the limits of legal responses to complex social problems.
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com, available in Hardback and Kindle (digital) versions
THE ANTI-REGISTRY ACTIVIST MANUAL: A GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY (2022) by Jonathan Grund
DETAILS: The Anti-Registry Activist Manual is a teaching and reference handbook for those who are new to this advocacy. Each chapter was written by anti-registry activists representing a number of organizations and covers a variety of topics including support, legislation, the media, the law, addressing myths, and other common concerns activists may face when fighting the registry. Each chapter end with questions for discussion to further assist readers in thinking about how to apply the lesson to real-world activism.
HOW TO BUY: (CLICK HERE) available for $13.50 plus tax/shipping at Amazon.com
“IMPACTS OF SEX CRIME LAWS ON THE FEMALE PARTNERS OF CONVICTED OFFENDERS” (2021) by Lisa Zilney
DETAILS: “This work is an exploratory examination of the experiences, motivations, and coping mechanisms of women who are involved in intimate relationships with registered sexual offenders. The study focuses both on women who were involved with an offender prior to the commission of his offense and who stayed with him post-conviction, and on women who became involved with a registered offender after his sex offense conviction. Like the offender himself, these women face a variety of challenges in responding to treatment of them by friends, family, the community, and the criminal justice system. Utilizing the results of intensive interviews, this work provides a unique look at the women who are one of the few sources of support for registered sexual offenders and assesses the effectiveness and wide-ranging implications of community notification and registration laws on public safety, policy, and practice. This work offers alternative approaches based on evidence and case studies and considers the significance of familial contact in buffering sexual recidivism. These women are the heretofore unstudied victims of sexual offending legislation.”
HOW TO ORDER: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon (Kindle, Hardback, and SoftBack).
Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State (2020) by Paul M. Renfro
DETAILS: This is a history book that narrates high-profile cases of child abduction from the 1970s to today’s AMBER Alerts, revealing how they helped generate a national panic over child safety; Connects the media frenzy over child abductions to the creation of new legal and cultural instruments designed to protect children and punish offenders; Demonstrates the significance of childhood in the construction of the carceral state and in American politics. It is a good breakdown of how the child abduction movement of the 1980s played a pivotal role in promoting modern sex offense laws.
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Oxford University Press
CAUGHT IN THE WEB OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: AUTISM, DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, AND SEX OFFENSES (2017) by Lawrence Ducin & Emily Horowitz
DETAILS: (From Amazon.com) Increasing numbers of people with autism and other developmental disabilities are being convicted of sex offences, resulting in draconian and public punishment. Yet even when evidence shows that people with these conditions often pose little threat to society, or lack a core understanding as to why their actions break the law, the “sex offender legal regime” doesn’t allow any room to take the disability into account. This ground-breaking book offers a multi-disciplinary examination of how unjust sex offense laws trap vulnerable groups such as those with developmental disabilities… Proposing a new way forward based on research and evidence-based sentencing for sex offenses, and elimination of the sex offender registry, this book offers an informed and compassionate view that is essential for all professionals working in this field.
HOW TO ORDER: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com (eBook available)
PROTECTING OUR KIDS?: HOW SEX OFFENDER LAWS ARE FAILING US (2015) by Emily Horowitz
• Provides research-based evidence that the mean-spirited and panic-driven sex offender laws, aimed at branding a group of offenders as inhuman and unworthy of civil liberties and human rights, increases fear, destroys the lives of offenders and their families, and fails to protect children
• Shows that emphasizing sex offenders and stranger-danger as the primary threat to child well-being and safety prevents focus on and attention to policies that prevent far more pervasive forms of child abuse, such as physical abuse, neglect, and maltreatment
• Analyzes the sociohistorical context surrounding the emergence of current draconian sex offender policies
• Challenges the idea that sex offenders must be continually monitored and publicly identified
• Tells the stories of convicted sex offenders and their families and how they survive in a society that views them as the “worst of the worst.” This alone separates this from other books as it is one of the few that adds real stories from those on the registry.
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com
SEX OFFENDER LAWS: FAILED POLICIES, NEW DIRECTIONS, 2nd. Edition (2014) by Richard G. Wright
DETAILS: (From the Publisher’s site) I this book, Wright critically analyzes existing policies, and assesses the most effective approaches in preventing sex offender recidivism. This provocative and timely book draws from the fields of criminal justice, law, forensic psychology, and social work to examine how current laws and policies are enacted and what to-date is known about their efficacy. The team of expert contributors includes Karen Terry, author of Sexual Offenses and Offenders, and others who bring a wealth of insight to the field of sex offense. In response to the failed policies of sex offender laws, this book presents alternative models and approaches to sex offense laws and policies. Wright also explores critical, cutting-edge topics, such as internet sexual solicitation, the death penalty, and community responses to sex offense.
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com.
COMMENTS: This book is a very long and scholarly work, so it may be a hard read for some. It is a very in-depth book and contains a lot of really good info. My only complaint is because it was written by clinicians, it supports the clinical model over the restorative justice model; the clinical model supports the use of polygraphs, plethysmographs, and other junk science methods for the purpose of trickery.
Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophiles: Understanding Sex Crime Policy in America (2011) by Chrysanthi Leon
Description: From Megan’s Law to Jessica’s Law, almost every state in the nation has passed some law to punish sex offenders. This popular tough-on-crime legislation is often written after highly-publicized cases have made the gruesome rounds through the media, and usually features harsh sentences, lifetime GPS monitoring, a dramatic expansion of the civil commitment procedures, and severe restrictions on where released sex offenders may live. In Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophiles, Chrysanthi Leon argues that, while the singular notion of the sexual boogeyman has been used to justify these harsh policies, not all sex offenders are the same and such ‘one size fits all’ policies can unfairly punish other offenders of lesser crimes, needlessly targeting, sometimes ostracizing, citizens from their own communities.
JUSTICE PERVERTED: Sex Offense Law, Psychology, and Public Policy (2011) by Charles Patrick Ewing
Description: Over the past quarter century Congress, state legislatures and the courts have radically reshaped America’s laws dealing with sex offenders in an effort to reduce the prevalence of sex offenses. Most convicted sex offenders must now register with the authorities, who then make information about them available to the public. Possession of child pornography has been made an extremely serious crime often punishable by prison sentences that dwarf those meted out to child molesters, rapists, robbers, and even killers. Federal law now imposes a minimum sentence of ten years in prison for those convicted of using the internet to attempt to lure minors for sex. And the federal government and 20 states have “sexually violent predator” laws that allow the indefinite civil commitment of convicted sex offenders to secure institutions for treatment after they have served their full criminal sentences.
All of these changes in sex offender law, as well as numerous others, have been based at least in part on input from psychology, psychiatry and the social sciences. Moreover, enforcement and administration of many of these laws relies to a large extent on the efforts of mental health professionals. However, many questions about this involvement remain largely unanswered. Are these laws supported by empirical evidence, or even by well-reasoned psychological theories? Do these laws actually work? Are mental health professionals capable of reliably determining an offender’s future behavior, and how best to manage it? Finally, are experts capable of providing effective treatment for sex offenders — i.e., treatment that actually reduces the likelihood that an identified sex offender will re-offend?
FAILURE TO PROTECT: AMERICA’S SEXUAL PREDATOR LAWS AND THE RISE OF THE PREVENTIVE STATE (2006) by Eric S. Janus
DETAILS: (from the publisher’s website) “In this book, Eric S. Janus goes far beyond sensational headlines to expose the reality of the laws designed to prevent sexual crimes. He shows that “sexual predator” laws, which have intense public and political support, are counterproductive. Janus contends that aggressive measures such as civil commitment and Megan’s law, which are designed to restrain sex offenders before they can commit another crime, are bad policy and do little to actually reduce sexual violence. Further, these new laws make use of approaches such as preventive detention and actuarial profiling that violate important principles of liberty.” (This book was the inspration behind my book and website)
PREVENTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE: HOW SOCIETY SHOULD COPE WITH SEX OFFENDERS (2005) by John Q. LaFond
DETAILS: (From the APA website) Preventing Sexual Violence: How Society Should Cope With Sex Offenders systematically critiques the current treatment of sex offenders in an effort to determine how best to prevent reoffending without infringing on the rights of citizens. The book offers the latest data about sex offenders and the novel and powerful legal measures enacted to prevent sexual violence. In recent years, states have initiated programs for sex offenders involving involuntary commitment, mandatory registration, community notification, and even chemical castration. The author identifies which new strategies work, which strategies are based on false assumptions, and which should be modified or abandoned. In addition to recommending ways to improve programs, the author focuses on an effective risk management program that could be expanded and reproduced nationwide. In community protection programs that use risk management, offenders receive punishment, monitoring, and control adjusted to their level of risk for reoffending.
MORAL PANIC: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America (1996) by Philip Jenkins
DETAILS: (From the Publisher’s Website): It is commonly acknowledged that sexual abuse of children is a grave and pervasive problem and that child molesters are predators who compulsively repeat their crimes and have little hope of cure. Yet as recently as twenty years ago many experts viewed the problem far less seriously, declaring that molestation was a very rare offense and that molesters were merely confused individuals unlikely to repeat their offenses. Over the past century, opinion has fluctuated between these radically different perspectives. This timely book traces shifting social responses to adult sexual contacts with children, whether this involves molestation by strangers or incestuous acts by family members. The book explores how and why concern about the sexual offender has fluctuated in North America since the late nineteenth century.
Philip Jenkins argues that all concepts of sex offenders and offenses are subject to social, political, and ideological influences and that no particular view of offenders represents an unchanging objective reality. He examines the various groups (including mass media) who have been active in promoting particular constructions of the emerging problem, the impact of public attitudes on judicial and legislative responses to these crimes, and the ways in which demographic change, gender politics, and morality campaigns have shaped public opinion. While not minimizing sexual abuse of children, the book thus places reactions to the problem in a broad political and cultural context.
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE for Amazon.com.
TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS AND VICTIMS
The best selection of treatment-oriented books can be found at the SAFER SOCIETY website. They have lots of resources, including a large bookstore, for both professionals and those who are looking to further their personal treatment. They also maintain a list of treatment providers (CLICK HERE to access the directory page, where you must select a state to access it).
HELPING VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE (2006) by Lynn Heitritter and Jeanette Vought
DETAILS: (From the publisher) How do we minister to victims of sexual abuse? It’s a difficult problem for Christian communities. This solidly biblical and sensitive guide is packed full of helpful information that provides a valuable perspective on how abuse affects children and the family dynamics that play into its development. As well, readers will also discover practical tools that can lead adult victims into full recovery in Christ. Required reading for everyone who wants to bring meaningful ministry to those affected by sexual abuse.
OUT OF THE SHADOWS: UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL ADDICTION, THIRD EDITION (2001) by Patrick Carnes, Ph. D
DETAILS: (From Amazon.com) This breakthrough work, the first to describe sexual addiction, is still the standard for recognizing and overcoming this destructive behavior. With insight and sensitivity, Dr. Patrick Carnes outlines how to identify a sexual addict, recognize the way others may unwittingly become complicit or codependent, and change the patterns that support the addiction.
LEGAL/SOCIAL COMMENTARIES AND CONTROVERSIES
MANUFACTURING CRIMINALS: FOURTH AMENDMENT DECAY IN THE ELECTRONIC AGE (2020) by Bonnie Burkhardt
DETAILS: This documentary exposes Fourth Amendment violations by ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force). The police organization ICAC uses tactics which directly violate the interception and privacy laws derived from our Fourth Amendment. ICAC originated in Virginia, but is now a nationwide organization. I wrote two amicus briefs with appendices as a pro se litigant and filed them with the Appellate Court of Virginia describing these tactics: 1.Officers claim to be a child and impersonate someone else to intercept communications – without Court authorization. 2.Officers use special tools over the internet to secretly break into private computers and search them – without a warrant. 3.Officers unmask the identity of anonymous online users and geo-locate them – without a warrant. 4. The ICAC Cops Database inventories and tracks content of people’s private computers- data obtained without a warrant.Police and prosecutors should be held to the same standard of law as me. These tactics manufacture criminals using grant money, and account for a significant percentage of inmates in Virginia and nationwide. I wrote this book to inform everyone about how our Fourth Amendment rights are eroding away because people do not understand modern technology as it relates to the law. Law enforcement needs to understand why the current techniques violate the privacy laws, and how to catch online criminals correctly without violating citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights. Attorneys and judges will find a wealth of references to law, case law, and explanations of the technology referenced in the law. Politicians need to understand the ramification of their statutes, what is poorly written, and how to improve it. General citizens will learn about these law enforcement techniques and how they should be done. Everyone should ponder whether billions of our tax dollars should be spent to rescue zero children from manufactured criminals.
HOW TO BUY: Available for $19.99 + S/H at Amazon.com
EVIL ON MY PEW: THE HYSTERIA AROUND SEX OFFENDERS IN THE CHURCH (2018) by Larry Anderson
DETAILS: (From Amazon.com) There’s one word that separates a good church from Gods church. It’s the word WHOSOEVER! If the 21st century church desires to see the manifestation of Gods glory it will have to submit to a Whosoever Principal. According to Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the lord shall be saved”. It is devastating to God’s kingdom when he answers and accepts the call of a sinner and they are denied the love and honor expected from his people! The failure of pastors and leaders to open there hearts for a much needed conversation about people who have fallen prey to sexual sin and adopt a holistic solution is hindering the growth and advancement of Gods kingdom. Evil On My Pew is an eye opening and ground breaking book that offers a direct path back to the cross as it pertains to loving and caring for sex offenders and their families. Pastor Larry Anderson unveils the misconceptions and panic around sex offenders in the church and encourages you to explore the possibilities of having a congregation rooted and grounded in love. CLICK HERE for my review of the book.
A PARALLEL UNIVERSE (2012) by Alex Landon and Elaine Halleck
DETAILS: Here is a unique bringing together of non-fiction (the lawyer’s perspective) and fiction (the writer’s view) on a topic of devastating concern to victims and the accused. Alex Landon (the lawyer) and Elaine Halleck (the writer) explore a particularly difficult topic; the effect of laws enacted in the aftermath of brutal child abductions and murders on those accused of lesser sexual crimes or those falsely accused and the effect on society as a whole.
ORDERING OPTIONS: CLICK HERE to order direct from the publisher or CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com
SEX PANIC AND THE PUNITIVE STATE (2011) by Eric Lancaster
DETAILS: One evening, while watching the news, Roger N. Lancaster was startled by a report that a friend, a gay male school teacher, had been arrested for a sexually based crime. The resulting hysteria threatened to ruin the life of an innocent man. In this passionate and provocative book, Lancaster blends astute analysis, robust polemic, ethnography, and personal narrative to delve into the complicated relationship between sexuality and punishment in our society. Drawing on classical social science, critical legal studies, and queer theory, he tracks the rise of a modern suburban culture of fear and develops new insights into the punitive logic that has put down deep roots in everyday American life.
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order direct from the publisher. KINDLE VERSION available
THE TRAUMA MYTH (2010) by Susan A. Clancy
DETAILS: (From the publisher’s website) Few would argue that the experience of sexual abuse is deeply traumatic for a child. But in this explosive new book, psychologist Susan Clancy reports on years of research and contends that it is not the abuse itself that causes trauma — but rather the narrative that is later imposed on the abuse experience. Clancy demonstrates that the most common feeling victims report is not fear or panic, but confusion. Because children don’t understand sexual encounters in the same ways that adults do, they normally accommodate their perpetrators — something they feel intensely ashamed about as adults. The professional assumptions about the nature of childhood trauma can harm victims by reinforcing these feelings. Survivors are thus victimized not only by their abusers but also by the industry dedicated to helping them. Path-breaking and controversial, The Trauma Myth empowers survivors to tell their own stories, and radically reshapes our understanding of abuse and its aftermath. This book questions the prevailing teaching of sexual abuse as a universally traumatic experience. Many cases of sexual abuse are not stranger-danger nor do all abuse victims adhere to the myth. Through an honest reflection of the effects can we understand treatment of abuse victims.
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon
AMERICA’S WAR ON SEX (2006) BY: Marty Klein
DETAILS: This book covers the movement to suppress all things sexual in America– the censorship of sexual imagery in the media, Internet filtering software, abstinence-only programs and distortions of safe sex, the war on pornography, and the “sexual disaster” industry. There is a growing movement, mostly from the Religious Right, calling for a return to puritan values, and they are using misinformation and fear to achieve this goal. This book also covers some of the fear mongering and the campaign of misinformation, myths, and lies that we often hear in the sex offender issue.
HARMFUL TO MINORS: THE PERILS OF PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM SEX (2002) by Judith S. Levine
DETAILS: (From the publisher’s website) Sex is a wonderful, crucial part of growing up, and children and teens can enjoy the pleasures of the body and be safe, too. In this important and controversial book, Judith Levine makes this argument and goes further, asserting that America’s attempts to protect children from sex are worse than ineffectual. It is the assumption of danger and the exclusive focus on protection—what Levine terms “the sexual politics of fear”—that are themselves harmful to minors. Through interviews with young people and their parents, stories drawn from today’s headlines, visits to classrooms and clinics, and a look back at the ways sex among children and teenagers has been viewed throughout history, Judith Levine debunks some of the dominant myths of our society. She examines and challenges widespread anxieties (pedophilia, stranger kidnapping, Internet pornography) and sacred cows (abstinence-based sex education, statutory rape laws). Levine investigates the policies and practices that affect kids’ sex lives-censorship, psychology, sex and AIDS education, family, criminal, and reproductive law, and the journalism that begs for “solutions” while inciting more fear. Harmful to Minors offers fresh alternatives to fear and silence, describing sex-positive approaches that are ethically based and focus on common sense. Levine provides optimistic, though realistic, prescriptions for how we might do better in guiding children toward loving well—that is, safely, pleasurably, and with respect for others and themselves.
BOOKS BY SURVIVORS OF ABUSE
THE GIRL: MY LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF ROMAN POLANSKI (2013) by Samantha Geimer
DETAILS: (From Amazon.com) In this searing and surprising memoir, Samantha Geimer, “the girl” at the center of the infamous Roman Polanski sexual assault case, breaks a virtual 35-year silence to tell her story and reflect on the events of that day and their lifelong repercussions…Taking us far beyond the headlines, The Girl reveals a thirteen-year-old who was simultaneously wise beyond her years and yet terribly vulnerable. By telling her story in full for the first time, Samantha reclaims her identity, and indelibly proves that it is possible to move forward from victim to survivor, from confusion to certainty, from shame to strength. (This book is great. She condemns the “victim industry” and people like Nancy Grace and Dr. Phil. She vows never to play the “good victim.”)
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com
VIDEOS/ FILMS/ DOCUMENTARIES
WITCH HUNT (2009) by New Films International
DETAILS: (From the publisher’s website) Executive Producer Sean Penn proudly presents “Witch Hunt,” a gripping indictment of the United States justice system told through the lens of one small town. It’s John Stoll’s story, but it’s also the story of dozens of other men and women who found themselves ensnared in a spiral of fear, ignorance and hysteria. These people are Americans, working class moms and dads, who were rounded up with little or no evidence, charged and convicted of almost unimaginable crimes. All sexual. All crimes against children. Years, sometimes decades later, they would find freedom again, but their lives and the lives of their children would be changed forever. This film shows viewers what the real crime in this case is, not molestation, but the crime of coercion. Viewers hear from the child witnesses who were forced to lie on the witness stand as they describe scary sessions with sheriff’s deputies in which they were told — not asked — about sexual experiences that happened to them. Their coerced testimony led to dozens of convictions. Many times their own parents were the ones they put behind bars.
STEVIE (2003) by Lion’s Gate Films
DETAILS: (From the movie site IMDb) In 1995 Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) returned to rural Southern Illinois to reconnect with Stevie Fielding, a troubled young boy he had been an ‘Advocate Big Brother’ to ten years earlier… He began a film, a search, to discover not only what had happened to Stevie over the past ten years but to understand the forces that had shaped his entire life. Part way through the filming, Stevie is arrested and charged with a serious crime that tears his family apart. What was to be a modest profile turns into a intimate four and half year chronicle of Stevie, his broken family, the criminal justice system and the filmmaker himself, as they all struggle with what Stevie has done and who he has become. (See a very good review by Roger Ebert) (CLICK HERE to go to the film’s website)
HOW TO BUY: CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.com
THE DOLPHIN (2016) by Craig Hallenstein
DETAILS: The setting is New Orleans on the eve of Mardi Gras and protagonist is a man named Sean, a registrant who landed on the list at 18 because his girlfriend turned out to be 15. He manages to get a decent job despite his label, but a when a young radio host outs registrants on the air after a young girl is found murdered, Sean’s life is turned upside down. In the book, the police (and a few other characters) use the term “Dolphin” to describe people like Sean, people forced to register as “sex offenders” but are on the list for such crimes as R&Js (such as Sean) or, in the case of Sean’s friend Dean, a man who was cited for flashing for beads during Mardi Gras. While the book reads like a Hollywood blockbuster, the characters are very self-aware of the facts about registered citizens. Characters like the conservative talk show host already knows registered citizens have the lowest recidivism rates, though he doesn’t care, since he admits to exploiting fear for ratings. While the book is fiction, the commentary within the book is so accurate and truthful that if not for the Hollywood-esque climax, the book could almost pass for a non-fictional memoir. I loved reading this book.
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