Friday, February 26, 2010

Florida woman - sex predators target women as well as kids

This letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg (FL) Times shows the societal unwillingness to face up to the fact that sexual predators target women as well as kids. I agree 100% with this Florida woman's rant.

I cannot express enough how angry I am when I read an article like the one in the paper Wednesday regarding child sex offenders. The headline asks Have sex-offender laws made children safer? Instead I ask, Have they ever made women in Florida safer? The answer is no.

The term "sex offender" has been used by Florida politicians following the tragic death of Jessica Lunsford, and in turn by Florida newspapers. Such an emotionally charged term leads to the general public's immediate yet mistaken assumption that anyone legally registered as a sex offender is a child sex abuser, when in fact most registered sex offenders were convicted of sexually assaulting women.

I find it shameful that Jessica Lunsford's death resulted in an onslaught of politicians clamoring to be the first ones to show their support for a bill protecting Florida's youth. Does no one care enough about the incidence of rape against women in the state of Florida to think to protect them?

This article only barely addressed the issue of the misuse of the term "sex offender" as a catch-all term when it stated the concerns of Jennifer Dritt of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence.

The council's Web site reports that 11,214 forcible sex offenses were reported in Florida in 2007 (statistics provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement) and only 3,064 arrests were made for said forcible sex offenses in 2007. The incidence of children as victims is significantly lower than that of women as victims.

All Floridians should look inside themselves and ask: What about the women of Florida? Don't they deserve protection against sex offenders too? This is an issue that our Legislature should address.

Stacey Kroto, Pinellas Park

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