My fifth interview (the second one to be televised thus far) aired last night on WWNY in the Northern country region of New York. Watch it here: http://www.wwnytv.com/news/local/Feedback-Woman-Fights-for-Rights-Of-Sex-Offenders--Families-147190125.html.
Understanding the 45-minute interview had to be edited significantly to fit into the allotted time slot, I was satisfied with the results. My only caveat was that since Geoff's charge was mentioned, his age at the time of the crime should have been specified, (he was twelve, not "a teenager") and the circumstances under which the crime occurred would have been helpful. Overall, it did as much as a two minute piece could do to detail the day-to-day struggles faced by tens of thousands of families in New York, and hundreds of thousands of families nationwide.
The majority of the comments on WWNY's Facebook page (link: http://www.facebook.com/WWNY7.WNYF28/posts/409096565775456?notif_t=share_reply) displayed a great deal of outrage among viewers. It seems that they heard the term "sex offender" and made up their minds right then and there, rather than actually listening to the heart of the story. Some people went so far as to suggest that families and even children of registrants are fair game merely because they share their home and life with a former offender. Mostly, though, the comments displayed an all-too-common problem: lack of awareness.
As frustrating as it is to be faced with this type of apathy and misguided anger, we have the most important "weapon" of all, as family members and friends of registrants - our lives. Most people admittedly get their "knowledge" of sex crimes from the news media, which as we all know, has exploited the topic of child safety/child sex abuse and molded it into the most fear-provoking, hysterical, anecdotal subject it possibly can be. Much of what is reported is inaccurate or at best, incomplete. By standing up, telling our stories and muddling through the outpouring of hate - we will be heard. They bombard the public with fallacies - bu we can bombard them with truth.
If you love a person enough to stick with them through the nightmare of being on the sex offender registry - whether it be as a mother or father, a wife or husband, a daughter, a son, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent or a friend - that love is strong enough to withstand even the most cruel, angry accusations. You have gotten this far; the only thing left is to show everyone that the love you feel for the registrant in your life is far stronger than all the hate in the world.