Femnisting | Dec. 21, 2018
Why Should Feminists Be Against the Sex Offender Registry?
By Reina Gattuso
Established in the ‘90s following several high-profile rapes and murders of children, the sex offender registry used parental grief to propagate “tough on crime” policies. But there’s a problem: sex offender registries don’t work. Registries don’t help prevent recidivism, and may even make it more likely.
Understanding the feminist argument against sex offender registries is particularly important right now, in the wake of a global #metoo movement that has prompted difficult, important questions about justice and the possibility of genuine accountability.
I know the withering rage that makes us want to breathe fire against our abusers, that makes us want to toss them to the bottom of the ocean or launch them to Mercury or impale them on a stake. That rage is real and right and feminist, and I’m never going to tell a survivor how to feel toward their individual abuser.
At a moral and a policy level, however, we must know that our healing is, for better or worse, wrapped up in collective societal healing—and that includes the human rights of perpetrators. If we want to achieve meaningful progress around sexual violence, we must believe in meaningful accountability. MORE: