Do you think pedophiles and child molesters should be publicly branded?
I had an interesting discussion with a co-worker the other day about this idea. It was her opinion that pedophiles should be made to wear something that tells the public what they are.
On an emotional level, I agreed with her. I don’t have children but nieces and nephews and don’t ever want anyone to victimize them like that. People who commit sex crimes against children are the lowest form of scum in existence. In fact, it is an insult to scum to even call pedophiles that. I think these animals should be blasted off to another planet where aliens will molest them all day long.
Logically, however, the idea of publicly branding a group of people is troublesome on many levels. I argued that it was a bad idea mainly because we, as a society, have lost all sense of boundaries. It would start off as a mechanism to protect children from pedophiles. Then, using that as a precedent, we would start branding people who murdered, stole, weren’t apart of the mainstream religion or ethnic group and before you know it, it’s Nazi Germany all over again.
Not only that, there is the problem of adults who have been falsely accused of the crime. Her response was that children don’t lie about these things which I thought was rather naïve. (Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4) While I do believe that most allegations of sexual abuse are true, I also believe that there is a very real percentage of accusations that are not. I don’t know about you but I have trouble beating on innocent people in my pursuit to punish the guilty.
Then there is the question of whether this public branding would actually put an end to pedophilia. Already the punishment for child molestation includes prison time (to which molesters are subject to beat downs, rape from other inmates and murder), fines, social restrictions (sex offender registration, cannot live/work around children), vigilante justice and public censure. Thus far this has not stopped adults from sexually abusing children. Would forcing convicted child molesters to wear a Scarlet “P” actually prevent other pedophiles from abusing children?
I think this idea, though noble and possibly emotionally satisfying, would only serve to open the door to a place that we really don’t need to go as a society. But that’s my opinion. What do you think?