Sex offenders are normal…looking for healthy

I just spent an hour and a half in a room with two sex offenders.

Let me clarify that a bit. I sat in a classroom with two therapists who treat sex offenders and two offenders from their therapy group, as well as my professor and about 30 other students. When I told Therapist that they were coming to my class, he asked if I really thought that going was a good idea. I knew it could get a little sketchy, but wanted to try to go anyways. I sat through the entire discussion, and it was fine. I even picked up a couple of soundbites that are relevant to my life right now.

It wasn’t until the end that I started to lose it. When the class was over, I was talking to a friend. I wanted to talk to my professor, but she was busy with other people and then started to talk to one of the guests. Suddenly, as my friend was preparing to walk out the door, I realized that everyone else had left. They had agreed to stay and answer questions if anyone had any, and I was terrified that they would think I wanted to talk to them. During the class they were very human, but I knew that I couldn’t actually stand and face them. I bolted out of the door after my friend.

I probably shouldn’t have gone, but I’m stubborn like that. In the end, I’m very glad that I went. I just hope that I don’t have to deal with a fallout because others got too close and triggered.

Part of the reason that I’m so happy I went is because it put a human face on a stereotype. It’s easy to think of sex offenders as the big bad worlf lurking around every corner just waiting to snap up little red riding hood. That’s really not the case. I suppose it is true for some, but not for the majority. These were two normal guys who made mistakes and were working really hard to be responsible citizens. I have a lot of respect for them and the work that they’ve done.

One made a comment about the difference between normal and healthy. Normal, he said, is what got them in trouble in the first place; “Normal is sometimes the problem.” He said that instead of looking for normal, they need to be looking for healthy. The timing seemed a bit ironic since Therapist just commented yesterday that I need to “feel things” like healthy people do. In a way, I’ve been reaching for normal. Unfortunately, normal for me is dysfunctional and unhealthy. I’m not particularly fond of what ‘healthy’ means and looks like, but it’s seeming more and more like that’s what I actually need to be reaching for.

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~ by Kj on February 24, 2010.

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