Friday, December 16, 2011

little miss austen

today's post is mostly for one of my bestest friends, miss kaitlyn.e, and for the rest of you who are just as in love with jane austen as i am.

behold my recent library find:
Little Miss Austin: Pride and Prejudice, A Counting Primer

um, wow.  can i say this is pretty awesome.  and i find it rather thrilling that my two year old is, in fact, the one who found it.  she loves it.  if anyone wants an idea for christmas (for me or her), here you go.  and also:

Little Master Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, A Counting Primer

Little Miss Bronte: Jane Eyre, A Counting Primer

Little Master Carroll: Alice in Wonderland, A Color Primer

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the beginning of a bucket list


my bucket list.  the beginnings of it, anyway.

1.  have my own gallery show.  even if it means building my own gallery in my backyard out of refrigerator boxes and inviting the neighbors.

2.  visit, london, venice, florence, prague, rome.  at least.

3.  see a rothko, pollock, and klimt in person.

4.  feel beautiful.

5.  be able to sit for five minutes and feel nothing but worry, anxiety, depression.  just peace.

6.  watch my children grow up to be happy people.

7.  finish a bachelor's degree at least, maybe a graduate degree.  in art.

8.  feel like a real artist...not an amateur pretending to be a real artist.

9.  have a room in my house that i can hang art prints all over, so when i'm depressed, i can walk into that room and be surrounded by joy.

10.  find out the secret to being happy.

11.  go to the smithsonian, moma, louvre, musee d'orsay and any other art museum i can get myself to.

12.  see a broadway play on broadway.

13.  fly.....

14.  watch a sunset that takes my breath away from beginning to end.

15.  write a book.

16.  learn to play clair de lune.  if not perfectly, then at least accurately.

17.  take more piano lessons.  get better at playing.  find time to practice.

18.  learn to make those around me happy.  with no reservations.

19.  speak another language passably.

20.  purchase an original work of art that i love.  buy a couch to match the art.  inform couch salesman that it is ridiculous to buy art to match a couch.  it should be done the other way around.

21.  paint something i am truly happy with, that i can look at without second guessing or critiquing.

22.  own a four-poster canopy bed.

23.  dress up in a regency ball gown.

24.  be a good person, wife, mother, daughter and friend.

25.  sleep under the stars on a clear night; learn to identify a few constellations.

Things on my bucket list I've already accomplished:
1.  got married in the Salt Lake City temple
2.  became a mother
3.  confronted and forgave my abuser
4.  dyed my hair black
5.  played Frank Lloyd Wright's piano (although i didn't realize it was a bucket list thing until i'd done it...i played Chopin's "Polonaise in G Minor" in Taliesin West when i was 18.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

cleaning out and moving on

i'm going through the grieving process. 

not because someone died.
not really because i lost something...
...more because i'm giving something away.

we moved a few weeks ago, and lost a lot of storage space.  we now have a garage, which is great, but i didn't really how much stuff we really had until i tried to organize it all.  so slowly i have been going through one area at a time and purging extra stuff.  (like the clothes i've been hanging on to for three years because someday i hope to fit into them again...ha....sheets that don't fit any of the beds we have, small kitchen appliances i haven't used in several years, books, frames, etc.)  so i've taken several boxes and bags of random things to the thrift store.  last night, hubby and i tackled the biggest project...and the hardest.

the baby items.

we went through about twenty diaper-boxes full of clothes, several boxes of toys, maternity clothes and other miscellaneous baby items.  last spring i sold most of the bigger items, like the jumperoo, bouncer seat, play mat, bassinet, etc.  i even got rid of a ton of the clothes we have, and kept the things in the best condition that i liked the most.

well.  we don't have room for it.  and in spite of my intense desire to have another baby (like, NOW), it's not the right time for our family for several very good reasons.  in fact, it will be at least a few years until we will be in a place that we can afford another baby financially, emotionally, realistically.

and i cried.  a lot.  more than a lot.  i sobbed like a little girl, sorting through clothes, holding up newborn size jumpers i can remember my sweet little ones wearing.  pulling out the tiny shoes little buddy wore home from the hospital, that were too big on him at the time.  seeing the little dresses princess wore.  realizing that my little ones are growing up.  fast.  only yesterday i was cuddling their soft little bodies, smelling that sweet baby smell, kissing their fuzzy little heads, nursing and rocking them, singing to them and just being in awe of the tininess of their little fingers and toes.  and, also, realizing that there isn't a possibility of having a baby anytime soon.

so, toys, clothes, blankets...all for sale now.  all in bags, in boxes, in my garage.  i kept some--one rubbermaid tote of clothes, one rubbermaid tote of toys, and one rubbermaid tote of spoons, breast pumps, blankets, baby carriers, and other miscellaneous things.

and, when they're gone, there really will be no turning back.

maybe that's what is hardest about it....moving on.  having to admit to myself that i'm no longer the mother of babies...i'm the mother of one extremely independent toddler, and of one very active preschooler.

(makes me feel old.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Beautiful People

The most beautiful people we have known
are those who have
known defeat,
known suffering,
known struggle,
known loss,
and have found their way out of the depths. 

These persons have
an appreciation,
a sensitivity,
and an understanding of life
that fills them with
and a deep loving concern. 

Beautiful people do not just happen.

-Elizabeth Kubler Ros

Monday, October 24, 2011

new paintings

 i found the poem for this one (which i modified slightly) on pinterest.  (it looks bubbled because of my camera, and while the text is uneven it's not as bad as it shows.  it also cut about an inch off all around it.)  i'm actually pretty happy with this one, it will match my living room pretty well.  plus...this is something i need to remember!

 this one i started in early august and just finished last night.  it's an anniversary present for hubby.  this one also looks better in real life and has had the edges cut off in the photo. 

both are done in acrylic on 16x20 wrapped canvas.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

catching up

wow....can you remember the last time i posted on this blog?  i can't, unless i look, which i'm not going to do.  :)  for any readers about an update?  (and a blog post riddled with links just for the fun of it?)

life here in the cornnut household is pretty crazy.  princess just turned two (which is insane....remember when i couldn't figure out what the heck was wrong with me...and i ended up being pregnant?)  little buddy is three and a half now and in preschool.  (ALSO hard to believe he was only six months old when i started this blog.)

i am in school, hooray, and have officially been cleared for graduation in may.  i will be graduating with my associates in general studies, which is a nice way of saying i got all of my crappy general ed classes finished in community college so i can take the fun classes at a university.  i'm so stinking excited to have that piece of paper that says i did something with my education.  i've worked hard and so far have a 4.0.  yay me :)  too bad i left my math classes for my last two semesters.  i hate math.

hubby got a new job, he is now a forensic investigator with the local police department.  real-life CSI, which means i refuse to watch CSI with him now.  apparently TV is nothing like real life.  sheesh.  i'm so proud of job, and he graduated with his bachelor of psychology degree in june, and he's just kicking butt all around.

i'm working a photographer.  for lifetouch, in one of their JC Penny portrait studios.  people pay me to hold their adorable babies.  so if you live in my area and need a photographer, look me up.

hubby and i celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in august.  hard to believe we've been married five years....we've had a lot of ups and downs, but we're still here, still working together to overcome the downs.  we've been through and dealt with a lot.  thanks babe...for sticking with it and helping me do the same.  i love you.

for those of you who remember...i've made peace with my parents.  some really tough stuff happened a few months ago and we were able to reconnect and overcome our issues because of it.  i'm really grateful to have a good relationship with them again, and for everything they have done for me.  my kids love being around them too.  we were able to spend some time with them yesterday, and i am just so glad we've worked things out and have been able to move forward.

my baby brother (who really isn't a baby anymore, so i should probably stop calling him that) is currently in the MTC (missionary training center).  he is serving a mission for the LDS church, and will shortly be headed to Peru.  i can't believe how grown up he is.  it's kind of giving me an identity crisis, because it makes me feel so OLD.  i'm only 25, you know....even if i look 30...and feel 50.

my youngest sister is a STAR and plays volleyball for a pac12 team!  i'd tell you which one but since this blog is supposed to be anonymous to anyone who doesn't actually know me in real life i'm not telling.  :)  if you do know me, you've already heard be brag about her, so i'm pretty sure you know where she plays.  she is aiming for the de janeiro, baby!  guess i better start putting my pennies in a jar.

new obsession: pinterest.  holy cow, is that thing awesome or what?  love love love finding new inspiration and fun projects to do.  (and i've actually done them, not just pinned them!  accomplishment!)  plus facebook and saving tons of money shopping....i'm a couponer!  (NOT like extreme couponing on TLC.)  i do save anywhere from $100-$200 on my monthly shopping trips, which is pretty darn cool.  i am teaching classes on how to do it, too, so if you know me and want to host a should!

next month we are moving again.  same city, new place.  we got new management in our apartment complex and things have really gone downhill, plus we've had issues with our neighbors and our rent is pretty ridiculous.  we are moving into a townhome that is nicer and $300 a month cheaper.  i'm really excited, even though i hate packing, and unpacking, and moving, and the mess that is associated with it.  we are also downsizing to a two bedroom so the kids will be sharing...that will be interesting.

as many of you know.....halloween is coming, and it is my favorite-est holiday EVER.  this year's costumes are fun.  hubby is a banana again, mostly because he's not into dressing up the way i am, we don't have a lot of money, and we have a banana costume.  i got a snow white costume from freecycle (freecycle=awesomeness, find the one near you!) that fits perfectly and looks pretty cool, if i say so myself.  (in fact, we took the kids to a halloween festival our city puts on and i had moms stopping me to take pictures with their little girls....kind of surreal.)  little buddy is super why, and i made his costume myself.  while i am a perfectionist and will accept the quality of the costume, he loves it.  that's all that matters.  princess is a pirate.  why?  because my little two year old loves pirates.  she is the cutest little buccaneer the world ever did see.  she goes around saying, "arrrrr, matey" in her adorable toddler voice, only she does it deeper and gravely and sounds just like a pirate toddler should.  everyone fawns all over it, including her mama.  the kids are falling in love with halloween, probably thanks to me, and think witches and ghosts and skeletons and bats are the coolest things ever.

and, for your viewing pleasure, the pretty awesome sign my mom helped me make yesterday:

i saw a sign similar to this at Michael's for $20.  it was on a stake.  i loved the concept (i do have my own little monsters, after all) but flat out refuse to spend $20 on something like that.  and i wanted one to hang on my door, since i don't have a yard.  so....with three pieces of scrap wood (my mom had them and cut them for me), a little acrylic and puff paint, wire and ribbon (also all thanks to mom's supply), i have an adorable sign for my front door.  it's about a thousand times cuter than the one at Michael's, and we added the hands to it. that was also mom's idea.  we traced little buddy's and princess's hands and turned them into monster hands.  so not only is it cute, but in ten years when i pull it out for halloween i'll get to see how small their little hands were when i made the sign.  i really love it!

so i'm pretty sure that's about least i hope so.  :)  i kind of miss my blog, even though its purpose (to help me heal and hopefully help others) has been mostly served, at least on my end.  i hope i still have new readers coming across the blog and finding some kind of inspiration and maybe comfort in knowing they aren't alone.  i definitely don't want to start over with a new one.  after three years with this blog, and several hundred posts, it's hard to imagine a new one.  i've probably lost most of my readers, though---if you're still there, still reading, let me know you're here, and how you're doing.  it would be nice to kind of catch up with a lot of you.

until next time!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Post: Identifying Abuse Among Students

A little while ago, I was contacted by a fellow blogger asking to guest post.  Allison Gamble is a writer on,  a website dedicated to "the study of the social, ethical, and cognitive development of students as they progress from children to adult learners."  Allison asked to write a post about identifying abuse among students, geared toward teachers.  I was very enthusiastic about the idea, and Allison has done a great job with this post.

While the article was written for teachers in a classroom setting, I believe the information she's given also applies to church leaders, youth group leaders, day care providers, sports coaches and club leaders as well--anyone in a position to teach or care for children that are not their own.

Please enjoy!  And take a peek at as well!

A Quick Guide to Identifying Abuse Among Students

Classroom teachers are uniquely positioned to help children suffering from abuse at home. It's important to be alert to signs of abuse so students can receive the help they need. While child abuse is a sensitive subject and you may worry about intervening, by reporting suspected abuse cases you help ensure students' safety, and nothing is more important than that. To identify and report cases of abuse, you should be learn about warning signs and what the reporting requirements and procedures are for your area.

Physical signs of abuse may already be familiar to you. Unusual or unexplained injuries, such as bruising or even broken bones, should raise red flags. If a child is frequently ill or injured, this may be cause for concern. This is particularly so if a child has an illness, injury, or ailment and
has not received treatment despite parents' or guardians' knowledge of this condition.

Often abuse is reflected in terms of educational psychology, and can be seen in children's behavior. Sudden changes in behavior or academic performance are classic signs of abuse. If an outgoing student becomes withdrawn, or a particularly bright student is having trouble completing assignments or focusing, these may be signs. Abused children may be withdrawn or passive, or have learning difficulties aside from those related to specific known causes. They also may appear jumpy or on-edge. Abused children may arrive early or stay late at school or say they don't like to go home from school. These kinds of statements indicate a child doesn't consider home safe.

Parental behavior can also indicate abuse. If parents seem to think their children are wholly bad or lack redeeming qualities, this is cause for concern. Abusive parents may be emotionally distant from their children, rarely touching or speaking to them. They may refer to their children in a derogatory manner or say they don't like their child. If parents recommend unnecessarily harsh punishments or show unrealistic behavioral or academic expectations of their children, these can also be warning signs.

There are many kinds of abuse, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and emotional maltreatment. All of the warning signs could indicate one or more of these types of abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused, the best thing you can do is to continue to provide a safe and supportive learning environment and alert authorities.

Every state has an agency charged with overseeing child welfare. If you need to report a potential abuse case, contact your state's agency or the local police. In contacting authorities, you don't need to know the specifics of when or how a child was abused, but it is helpful to have details of when you first noticed signs and why you were concerned. This kind of information can help agents assess how acute the risk to the child's safety could be.

In deciding whether or not to report a suspected case of abuse, keep in mind that you may be legally obligated to report any suspected abuse. Even if not, helping protect the children in your charge should certainly be considered a moral obligation. Taking the time to learn warning signs of child abuse and look over reporting procedures will prepare you to address potential cases among your students. While in an ideal world no students would be abused, the sad reality is that all teachers will likely encounter cases of abuse. Plan ahead, and you can help ensure the safety and well-being of your students.

Allison Gamble has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ten Years


"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings,
but they cannot
touch the foundation of America.
 These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent
the steel of American resolve.
 America was targeted for attack because
we are the brightest beacon for freedom
and opportunity in the world.
 And no one will keep that light from shining."
President George W. Bush
September 11, 2001
Photos taken by my husband at our local healing field 2011

This post is a few days late.  I have been thinking about it for awhile.
Ten years have passed.
What can I say?
I think about that day...and tears fall.  My chest aches, my throat constricts.

I will never forget.  NEVER.  My children, as they grow, will not understand, but they will know.  They didn't live through it, but they will know of it.

There is nothing to say....only everything to feel.

10 years seem like a day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

O Fortuna

for the music class i'm taking i get to listen to a huge variety of music. today i listened to carl orff's "o fortuna" from carmina burana. this is a song i'm sure you've heard but not many will recognize it by name. i've heard it used in a number of movies, and really loved getting to listen to the whole thing today. it is written in latin, but i looked up the translation. it is hauntingly beautiful and i LOVE it.

Latin poem the lyrics are taken from:
O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
dissolvit ut glaciem.

Sors immanis
et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus,
vana salus
semper dissolubilis,
et velata
michi quoque niteris;
nunc per ludum
dorsum nudum
fero tui sceleris.

Sors salutis
et virtutis
michi nunc contraria,
est affectus
et defectus
semper in angaria.
Hac in hora
sine mora
corde pulsum tangite;
quod per sortem
sternit fortem,
mecum omnes plangite!

English translation:
O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
always waxing
or waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
and power
it melts them like ice.

Fate – monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
stand malevolent,
well-being is vain
and always fades to nothing,
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through trickery,
I bring my bare back
to your villainy.

Fate, in health
and in virtue,
is against me,
driven on
and weighted down,
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating string;
since Fate
strikes down the strong man,
everyone weep with me!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Educating Our Communities is the Key to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse


Before reaching their eighteenth birthdays, one in every five girls and one in every seven boys in the United States are sexually abused. Most are abused by family members, friends, neighbors, and others who they know (Sax 24-25). In 1994, the federal government passed litigation titled The Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act that set in motion the creation of a Sex Offender Registry in each state (DiNubile 110). Since 1994, changes have been made to this bill with the passing of “Megan’s Law” in 1996 and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in 2006 (“National Conference of State Legislatures,” par. 10-14). Opponents of the registry believe that providing the personal information of registered sex offenders to the public lulls them into the belief that they are safe from potential threats of sexual abuse (Freeman-Longo 117). Ignorance is the reason behind these beliefs. The best way to get the public to use the Sex Offender Registry appropriately and keep their children safe is to educate them about child sexual abuse: who potential abusers are and how to keep their children from being hurt. As parents and community members, one of the most important things we can do is maintain peace and safety within our families and neighborhoods.

The Problem of Child Sexual Abuse

Chances are, you or someone you love has been a victim of child sexual abuse. Commonly held beliefs tell us to teach our children about “stranger danger,” and what to do if someone you don’t know approaches you or tries to entice you into doing something you shouldn’t. Reality, however, is that our children face threats from the people they know, trust, and respect. Using the Sex Offender Registry is important and provides us with the names, photographs and addresses of convicted sex offenders in our neighborhoods. This information is helpful, making us aware of potential threats to our children. If your next door neighbor, for example, is a registered sex offender, you will not allow your children to spend time in their home or around your neighbor unsupervised. This reaction to the knowledge you gained by checking the registry could quite possibly save your child from being hurt. Unfortunately, this knowledge is not enough.

According to one study done by psychiatrist Gene Abel in the 1980s, child sexual abusers have only a three percent chance of getting caught (Sax 24). The Justice Department tells us that up to 96% of child sexual abusers are people our children know (Sax 25). Based on these statistics, it is even more likely that the person to abuse your child will (a) be someone you as a parent know and trust, (b) be someone your child spends a lot of time with, (c) be someone you would never suspect to be sexually abusive, and (d) have no prior convictions.

With these scary facts, how do we keep our children safe? There are a few things we can do, but the most important and far-reaching solution is to educate the general public about child sexual abuse. If they know what it is and when it can occur, then they can take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening. If we do not educate our family members, friends, and neighbors, then child sexual abuse will continue to happen. If we do not educate our children, then they will be confused and not know what to do if they are ever faced with an abusive situation.

Education Prevents Abuse from Occurring

The best way to educate the people around us is simple: talk. If you are reading this proposal, you already know how prevalent child sexual abuse is and where the threat is likely to come from. Tell your best friend. Tell your babysitter. Tell your neighbor, the people you go to church with, your child’s teacher and parents of your child’s friends and classmates. The more we talk, the more information we spread, the more likely it is that those we come into contact with will be better prepared to prevent abuse from happening to their children.

Our communities provide a number of resources to educate others. Many Departments of Corrections have printable pamphlets on their Sex Offender Registry websites that can be passed around. This pamphlet is formatted to be easily printable on one sheet, and the department asks that we take advantage of it and pass it to our civic groups, community organizations, boys and girls clubs and classrooms (“Department of Corrections, Community Awareness Fliers,” par. 1). The flier is titled “Questions About Sex Offenders in Our Communities.” While this flier refers specifically to registered sex offenders, it is good information to have.

Prevent Child Abuse USA have local groups dedicated to prevention and awareness. These groups offer classes and presentations for free, in both English and Spanish. These programs are designed to be taught in schools, families, community groups or church groups (“Prevent Child Abuse, Prevention Programs,” par. 1).

The internet provides a wealth of information. Blogs, prevention and awareness websites, news articles, YouTube videos, and a hundred other resources are available twenty four hours a day. Take thirty minutes and read a prevention article, take five and watch a YouTube video. You will be amazed at what you learn and how you can apply your knowledge to keep your children safe. Thirty minutes is worth keeping your child from a lifetime of unhappiness as a victim of child abuse. While you’re at it, take an extra five minutes and email the information to your coworkers, family and friends, and post it on your blog or Facebook page. This will provide education and awareness to countless people.

In spite of everything you do, your child may still come into contact with an abuser. Unless we keep our children locked in our homes, it is impossible to keep them from all potential threats. The best way to combat this is teach them how to handle unwanted advances from an abuser. This information is available in books, on the internet, and from community groups like Prevent Child Abuse Utah. It is important that we teach this information to even the youngest of children, usually beginning about age two or three. Tailor your teaching to their level of understanding without scaring them (Sax 51-53). For example, if you have a 3-5 year old, teach them the names of their body parts and how to distinguish between “good” and “bad” touches. Teach them how to say no to unwanted “bad” touches, and how to approach a trusted grown-up for help. Tell them that these touches may come from someone they know and love, but that it is still wrong. As they get older they will understand more and the information you provide can go into more depth. The most important part of teaching your children how to handle these situations is to talk about it frequently—and role play. Give your child the chance to practice saying no. Frequently children who have been taught about abuse but have not been given the chance to practice responding to it will become tongue-tied and freeze. Just like learning a sport or singing a song, the ability to respond appropriately requires practice and continued discussions (Cooper and King 87-110).

When hiring a babysitter, double check references. Pay attention to warning signs, even if it is nothing other than an uncomfortable feeling. If your child is spending alone time with an adult, take precautions. Talk to this adult about where they will be going and suggest a public place. Don’t allow your children to be isolated with an adult or older child. Make sure you have the opportunity to drop in—and do so. Let this person spending time with your child know you understand what abuse is. While this is extremely forward, it may be the very action that will scare a potential abuser into leaving your child alone (“Darkness to Light, Step Two,” par. 4).

The Costs and Benefits of Sharing Information

What is the cost of passing information? Absolutely nothing. A discussion with your friend or sister does not cost any money, and only ten minutes of your time. Even internet or phone use potentially costs you nothing. Both are available for free at your local library, another great source of information. The benefits are astronomical. Protecting your child, keeping them safe from predators, truly is priceless. If you choose to look at it monetarily, you will be saving thousands of dollars in medical care and therapy, court costs, and possibly even funeral costs. While extremely rare, it is possible that death may be the result of your child being sexually assaulted. In sharing the information and educating those around you, you are providing them with the same benefits. There is no reason why we as a community shouldn’t take the initiative to educate those around us.


Education is the key to prevention. It is what raises awareness, from the personal, family, and community levels to even broader state, national, and worldwide levels. Without accurate information, none of us is equipped to protect our children and teach them how to protect themselves from potential threats. If each of us sets a goal to talk to five people, then those five talk to another five people, etc., just think how far-reaching our words may go. Think about how many children may be saved from the terrifying experience statistics say they will endure. Together we can reduce those statistics. Together we can share knowledge and prevent child sexual abuse.

Works Cited

Cooper, Gregory M. and Michael R. King. Predators: Who They Are and How to Stop Them. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2007. Print.

Darkness to Light. “7 Steps to Protecting Our Children.” Darkness to Light: End Child Sexual Abuse. Darkness to Light, N.d. Web. 5 July 2011.

DiNubile, Suzanne D. “Community Notification Laws Protect Children From Child Molesters.” Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2003. 109-114. Print.

Freeman-Longo, Robert E. “Community Notification Laws are Unjust.” Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2003. 115-121. Print.

National Conference for State Legislatures. NCSL Summary P.L. 109-248 (HR 4472) Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. National Conference for State Legislatures. National Conference of State Legislatures, March 2007. Web. 5 July 2011.

Sax, Robin. Predators and Child Molesters: What Every Parent Needs to Know to Keep Kids Safe. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2009. Print.


If you would like more information regarding child sexual abuse prevention and awareness, please visit these sources:

Darkness To Light

Website dedicated to educating communities about preventing child sexual abuse.

National Children’s Alliance

Call the Children’s Advocacy Center nearest you for a referral to a local support group or therapist specializing in child sexual abuse. All calls are confidential and callers can remain anonymous.



Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN)

RAINN has an automated service that links callers to the nearest rape crisis center. All calls are confidential and callers can remain anonymous.


The Sex Offender Registry Protects Our Children from Sex Offenders, Provides Important Information to Parents


In 1994, The Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was passed by congress (DiNubile 110). This Act required all states to establish a registry for sex offenders containing information that was to be accessible to the public. It was named after an eleven-year-old boy who was kidnapped in 1989, and who has not been found. In October of 1996, the first amendment to this act, called “Megan’s Law,” was passed. Megan Nicole Kanka, a seven-year-old girl in New Jersey, was lured into her neighbor’s home where she was brutally raped and murdered in 1994. Her neighbor had previously served time in prison on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. This amendment required states to provide notification services to the general public, informing them of the addresses of convicted sex offenders. The Kanka family’s mission statement is: “Every parent should have the right to know if a dangerous sexual predator moves into their neighborhood” (Sax 37-8). By the required implementation of this act in 1997, every state had a registry. Many states placed the registries online, while others required the public to go into the local police department to obtain the list. Each state’s requirements varied; both the information collected and posted as well as the required amount of time to register was subjective (Freeman-Longo 121).

In 2006, The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was passed and signed by President Bush. This legislation created a national sex offender registry. It also provided uniform standards for the states to use in collecting information to put on their own registries. It created three tiers of classification for sex offenders based on their crimes. The length of time required to register and frequency of registration is determined based on which tier they are placed in. Tier three offenders who are guilty of crimes punishable of greater than one year in prison that consist of sexual abuse or sexual aggravated abuse, sexual abuse involving a minor younger than 13 years of age, kidnapping a minor (excluding kidnappers who are parents or guardians), or any offense committed after a tier two classification, are required to register for life and must register every three months. Tier two offenders are convicted of crimes punishable by greater than one year in prison and are comparable to sex trafficking, coercion and enticement, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, abusive sexual contact, using a minor in a sexual performance, soliciting a child for use in prostitution, or creating or using child pornography, are required to register for 25 years and update their information every six months. Tier one offenses include everything not covered in tiers two and three, are required to update information once yearly and register for 15 years (“National Conference of State Legislatures,” par. 10-14). This act also dictated sentencing for offenders who are non-compliant and offers federal assistance in locating and apprehending those who fail to comply. In addition to these stipulations, the registries are now required to be put on the internet with a structure and search capabilities similar to the national registry (“NCSL,” par. 15).

Objections to the Sex Offender Registry

Opponents of the Sex Offender Registry believe that these laws are an emotional response to crime, rather than being based on research that scientifically proves that public access to this information will make a difference in correcting the problem and reducing the crime (Freeman-Longo 118). It invites further violence, sometimes to innocent people when the registries are not updated. Maintaining the data is time-consuming, overly simplistic and inadequate. Public monitoring to ensure offender compliance is not effective as states do not have the financial means to fund enough resources to implement it properly (Freeman-Longo 118). There is also a lot of debate regarding the constitutionality of the registry. Placing private information and descriptions of crimes committed online where anyone in the world can access it is unnecessary, they say. It is a punitive measure not protected by the constitution and causes discrimination in housing and employment. Another argument against the registry is that it violates the “ex post facto” clause. This clause states that once an offender is sentenced, the punishment for the crime cannot be increased. The registry, however, includes the names and information of all sex offenders, even those convicted prior to its implementation in 1997 without informing them (DiNubile 110).

Another argument used against the Sex Offender Registry states that it creates a false sense of security among the public. The nature of the law leads people to believe they are safer knowing where offenders live, while safety is more than knowing this information. Others are anxious knowing they live near offenders, and this can create panic and neighborhood-wide mayhem. The sale of a house may be difficult or even impossible if a sex offender lives nearby. Much of this is unnecessary in their opinion, especially because so many of the address posted on registries are inaccurate, because of data being entered incorrectly, an offender failing to update an address or an offender purposefully providing wrong information (Freeman-Longo 117). In releasing the address and descriptions of crimes committed, victims can also be harassed and their identities made known.

Because of the embarrassment and ostracism those opposed to the registry believe a registered offender receives, poor decisions are made. Plea-bargains are made more often in which the crime is lessened to a non-sexual one. Juvenile offenders are not reported because parents, mentors, and social workers don’t want someone so young to be placed on this list for life (Freeman-Longo 121).

The Value of the Sex Offender Registry Outweighs the Objections

I find the arguments given by those who oppose the Sex Offender Registry to be, at best, grasping at straws. The opposition states that the advent of the registry is an emotional response to crime. How is the public supposed to respond to a sex crime occurring against a child? Should we as citizens respond coldly, logically, without any kind of emotion? When a child is raped, fondled, or forced into a sexual adult situation without their consent, parents are going to be angry. It is impossible to remove emotion from that kind of a situation. The Sex Offender Registry is not designed to prevent future crimes, nor does it imply that any registered offender will reoffend (Grafman, par.1). Every registry in the country is required to list several disclaimers. The State Sex Offender Registry says: “The information contained on this site does not imply listed individuals will commit a specific type of crime in the future, nor does it imply that if a future crime is committed by a listed individual what the nature of that crime may be and the Department makes no representation as to any offender's likelihood of re-offending” (“Department of Corrections,” par. 5). If a crime is prevented, that’s great—but not the purpose of the registry. In reality, if I am aware that a member of my church congregation is a registered sex offender, I’m never going to allow my child to be alone with him, and I will inform others within the congregation of the dangers posed to their children. Will this prevent a crime from occurring? In the case of my child, it is likely that it will. Will he abuse someone else’s child? Perhaps. Statistics may say otherwise, but when you look on a personal level, the truth is that my knowledge may have prevented my child from being hurt.

Vigilante justice is a concern, but in comparison to our children’s safety it is a minor issue (DiNubile 113). In my opinion it is not “caused” by the Sex Offender Registry. Who is more likely to commit a crime against an offender: a random person who accessed the registry, or the family and friends of one of his victims? The offender will already be known to the victim’s family, and his address and other personal information is accessible via the internet or phone book. If a person is afraid of retaliation, harassment and ostracism, they shouldn’t have sexually abused a child to begin with. In addition to the disclaimer regarding future crimes and prevention, state registries also address harassment and vigilante justice. Each state has a law that says something like this: “Members of the public are not allowed to use the information [in the registry] to harass or threaten offenders or members of their families; and harassment, stalking, or threats against offenders or their families are prohibited and doing so may violate criminal laws” (“DC, ” par. 7).

Prior to the passing of the Adam Walsh Act in 2006, the financial burden of maintaining the Sex Offender Registry and enforcing compliance fell on the states (Freeman-Longo 116). This act, however, provided several federal grants to states to assist in maintaining the program, including funds for local law enforcement, website programmers, and data entry personnel. The government also provides aid from federal law enforcement agencies to assist in locating and apprehending non-compliant, dangerous sex offenders (“NCSL,” par. 16). I would prefer that my taxes be used for the protection of my children, instead of paying for bonuses for legislators or other frivolous items.

Time and again our great nation’s Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Sex Offender Registry. In 2002, the Supreme Court reviewed a decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding an Alaskan Sex Offender Registration Statute. The Ninth Circuit stated that the “punitive” statute violated the “ex post facto” clause of the Constitution, saying that requiring offenders who were convicted prior to the creation of the registry should not have to be included. The Ninth Circuit stated that providing this information on the internet does not limit dissemination to those to whom the offender may be of concern, as the information can reach anyone in the world. This is beyond what is necessary to promote public safety, they said, and exposes registrants to personal and professional damage and worldwide ostracism (DiNubile 113). A similar case in Utah that appeared before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals was handled in an entirely different matter. The Tenth Circuit states that internet notification represents a technical extension, not a “sea change,” in our nation’s history. They stated that the farther removed a person is from an offender’s community, the less likely they will have an interest in accessing the information. The Tenth circuit states that the registry is not punitive, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court (DiNubile 109-110). In reviewing the Alaska case, Smith v. Doe, the Supreme Court decided that requiring an offender to register with the state does not extend a sentence because the registration itself is non-punitive. Because the registry states that harassment is illegal, the offender is not being punished. In a similar case titled Connecticut Department of Public Safety v. Doe, the Supreme Court stated that registration is not a deprivation of liberty. They also determined that an assessment of an offender’s current threat of danger is not necessary prior to registration (Rowan 74).

Opponents of the registry state that the information provided to the public lulls them into a false sense of safety, then turn around and say the information causes community-wide panic and terror (Freeman-Longo 120). How can one feel both safe and terrorized? Logically this does not make sense. If the public does, in fact, believe themselves and their children to be safe simply knowing where an offender lives, then they need to be educated. There are countless resources online, in print, and from local law enforcement and child protection agencies that can be easily accessed twenty-four hours a day to provide such information. It is easy to understand that registered sex offenders are not the only threats, and that most offenders have not been caught. It is also easy to understand that most threats come from family and friends, acquaintances and neighbors. If the public is informed of these facts, they will not believe just knowing a registered offender’s location will keep their children safe. Education is the key to preventing panic as well.

As of 2002, there were more than 700 (46%) of registered sex offenders in St. Louis, Missouri who did not live at the addresses posted on the registry, while approximately 285 offenders released from prison never made it on the list at all (Freeman-Longo 119-120). Those who do not agree with the registry use this type of information to fuel their arguments, stating that misinformation is damaging to the public. I agree that misinformation is not acceptable, and so does the federal government. The Adam Walsh Act of 2006 provides assistance in making sure the information is correct by offering aid to state and local law enforcement agencies (“NCSL,” par. 16). There are standards that must be maintained by the state in order to receive federal grants, which provides increased motive to make sure the information is as accurate as possible. We as citizens also have a responsibility to provide any knowledge we have to the state in maintaining accurate information. If you are aware of a non-compliant offender, report it. If you live in a home whose address is listed on the registry but you are not an offender, report it. If you are a victim or family member of an offender and he or she is not in compliance, take the initiative and provide the information to the authorities. I have done it more than once. A victim of sexual abuse myself, I keep tabs on my abuser. Twice in the last five years he has not been compliant. Because the offender is a member of my extended family, it is easy for me to access accurate information about his place of residence. Having reported this information to the local Department of Corrections, they were able to locate him and update the information on the state’s registry. As a parent, I frequently check the registry for sex offenders in my neighborhood. I am a resident at a large apartment complex. This complex runs background checks on all residents and excludes any type of convicted felon from living here—especially sex offenders. Last year, in checking the registry, there was an offender listed in the building next to my own. I contacted management, who determined that the offender in question did not live at that address but in a different city. He had illegally listed the address of a relative as his own. This was reported to law enforcement, and they were able to locate him and correct the false information he provided.

In response to the argument that offenders are afraid of being ostracized, I say, “so what?” If they are so afraid of the repercussions of the crimes they committed, they should have made the decision not to offend in the first place. In our society sexually abusing a child is abhorred in every degree. Within prisons, child molesters are on the bottom of the totem pole and often persecuted by other inmates (Rowan 59). With this knowledge being so prevalent, it is possible to decide to keep your hands to yourself and avoid sexually abusing a child. Convicted felons of other crimes lose certain rights (such as the right to vote and the right to bear arms), so why should convicted child molesters maintain the “right” to be accepted into society? If I am aware that a person may pose a potential threat to my children, I will certainly not extend him the “right” to my respect or acceptance. Suzanne DiNubile, author of “Community Notification Laws Protect Children from Child Molesters,” believes that the ostracism or scorn felt by an offender stems from his own shame. She quotes the Third Circuit court in their statement that “the ‘sting’ [of having to be registered] results from the dissemination of accurate public record information about their past criminal activities.” She believes that if this shame is an obstacle in the offender’s life, they should seek counseling, just as their victims must in order to lead a normal life. She states that there is no obligation for the state to keep public information inaccessible just to prevent an offender from feeling victimized (DiNubile 111). All of this information is a matter of public record anyway, whether it is put on a registry or not. With the internet, information is at the tip of our fingers. I could find any number of resources including court, law enforcement and correctional facility records that contain public information regarding all offenses committed. Websites containing personal addresses and phone numbers are easy to come by. If you don’t want to use the internet, visit the jail, walk into the police department, or find a phone book. This information is accessible; the only difference is that the registry makes the search for information faster and more convenient. It provides citizens with a tool to protect our children. Potential registration and embarrassment resulting from it facilitates a deterrent against sex crimes. Because the internet can also be used as a means to commit a crime against a child, law enforcement must keep up and use technology as an offense tactic (DiNubile 114).


It is easy to see that the value of the Sex Offender Registry far outweighs the objections to it. Vital information about potential dangerous threats to our children is far more important than a convicted sex offender’s concern about having their address and photo listed on the internet. The opportunity to prevent a horrific crime from occurring is more important than an offender feeling ostracized or ashamed because the details of their crimes are available to the public in a readily accessible way. The registry may not be perfect, but its importance is recognized by all branches of our government—Congress by passing the original bills, the President by signing and approving them, and the Supreme Court by continuing to uphold the importance and constitutionality of the legislation. As a parent, I will do everything in my power to protect my children from harm, including regularly using my state’s registry and educating my children on the dangers of sexual predators. Won’t you?

Works Cited

Berenzweig, Sally. “Fighting Child Abuse With Books.” Your PBC. Your PBC, 12 April 2011. Web. 4 July 2011.

DiNubile, Suzanne D. “Community Notification Laws Protect Children From Child Molesters.” Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2003. 109-114. Print.

Freeman-Longo, Robert E. “Community Notification Laws are Unjust.” Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2003. 115-121. Print.

Grafman, Jared. “Sex Offender Registry Designed to Inform Public.” The Maneater: The Student Voice of MU. The Maneater Student Newspaper, 7 February 2011. Web. 4 July 2011.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Sex Offenders: History. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2011. Web. 3 July 2011.

National Conference for State Legislatures. NCSL Summary P.L. 109-248 (HR 4472) Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. National Conference for State Legislatures. National Conference of State Legislatures, March 2007. Web. 3 July 2011.

Operation Awareness. Keeping Your Kids Safe. Operation Awareness. N.P., N.D. Web. 4 July 2011.

Rowan, Edward L. Understanding Child Sexual Abuse. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2006. Print.

Sax, Robin. Predators and Child Molesters: What Every Parent Needs to Know to Keep Kids Safe. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2009. Print.