The Scarlett Letter “P”

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?

5 thoughts on “The Scarlett Letter “P”

  1. I am with you when you discuss the fact that they are not actually guility, and that bothers me so much now with DNA and so many have been discovered of not doing the crime, yet have spent years in prison for a crime they did not commit. Also, I think children do lie about being sexually abused, especially if they have been coaxed by others to say things that they really did not say in the first place, yet the DA needs a case. For example, my red headed daughter did not like it that her grand dad kissed her. This alarmed me and I took her to human resources to find out what they thought about it. As it turned out, she just did not like being kissed at all, pretty much by anyone at the time, even though it was a simple kiss on the cheek. (She was 4 at the time). I think some parents would have blown their tops and made it into something it really wasn’t before getting to the bottom of it. I simply called her grand dad and explained that his innocent kisses on her cheek was something that bothered her. No more kisses were delivered, but she loved the hugs from him.

    But, people that really do sexually abuse children really pushes my hot button and I would like to just cut their appendage off of them and then set them on fire. My blood pressure goes up just thinking about it. Yet, on the same token, I do agree with you that placing the letter “P” on them could only cause more problems for many people and the courts and law as a whole. Thankfully there are some rules and regulations that face true pedophiles.

    BTW Daria, I posted two new blogs today. One on each site. If you get the chance go view them. I think the one under T&C you will find interesting and I would love to hear your comments on it.


  2. As satisfying as branding a pedophile would be, I must agree with you that it wouldn’t be a good idea. Children do lie (after working in a school, I can say this with complete confidence). Some will say that a child wouldn’t be able to lie about a sexual encounter, because they don’t know anything about sex.

    Have you SEEN what some kids are watching on TV??? There are third graders who know more about sex than I did when I was in high school.

    What we need is something that will work, chemical castration to inhibit the desire; constant monitoring to make certain the accused did not go where they shouldn’t; etc. Keeping our children safe is paramount, but making certain that only the guilty are behind bars and paying for the crime should be just as important.

    Again, another rocking-making-me-think-really hard blog, m’dear. Good job.

  3. I think on a base level, yeah – we should do something like that to convicted child molesters. Parents should be able to know when there is a criminal potentially preying on children around.

    On the practical side, I just don’t know how you’d institute such a thing.

  4. Whenever I hear about a sex crime against children, I obviously feel very terrible and sad; however, the person who committed the crime was probably abused at some point in their lives and they are just mentally fucked up. It’s a bad cycle. It’s not a black and white issue.

    Should they be branded….? I don’t know. Like you said, there are many cases of false accusations. You would have to make damn sure the person is truly guilty. That opens the argument of branding everyone who commits a crime. And everyone, at some point, has done something they are ashamed of.

  5. @ Katie,

    You bring up an excellent point about innocent touching. I think sometimes things like that are blown out of proportion which is sad because things like this damage relationships almost to the point to where they cannot be repaired.

    @ Karen,

    When I was growing up it was consider an extreme faux pas to curse on television. Nowadays, not only do the actors sound like sea hardened sailors, they can’t seem to keep their clothes on for any length of time. Even “family friendly” television stations such as Disney and ABC family sometimes do some eyebrow raising things.

    @ Phoenix

    There is the sex offender registry database and there are people that constantly comb it and alert communities about the whereabouts of sex offenders. Not sure how effective it is, however. But even that does not prevent predators from offending.

    @ Stephanie

    I’ve heard of the cycle of abuse but I’m not sure I quite by into that. There are people who have been abused and have not abused others so there is definitely other things going on in a child predators mind than past abuse.

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