To me, there is nothing more degrading than being called a “sexual predator.” The image of a predator in our society is that of a dangerous person prowling the streets in search of a victim. A predator is an animal, or a vampire, or an alien, or a psychopath who kills, maims, destroys, and intentionally seeks to hurt others.
For most of us who are saddled with the “sexual predator” label by the state, that is not who we are. In reality, very, very few people in life are sexual predators. But in Illinois, the state has opted to put this label on to almost all people convicted of any sort of sex offense. And unfortunately, the label has an impact on the people who see it.
So how do we deal with this awful label? How do we handle being called a “sexual predator”?
The first thing to remember is that being given a label does not make you that label. We are a society that loves to put labels on things and on people. A person who drank too much is a drunk. A person who has too much sex is a whore. A person who spent time in jail is a convict or a jailbird. A man that acts too girly is a fag, while a woman who acts too manly is a dyke. We love our labels. But a label does not a person make.
This is not meant to oversimplify a complicated problem. It’s hard to ignore a label when that label has real-world consequences. If someone won’t hire you because you are labeled as a predator, it’s hard to shrug it off and say, “Oh, but I’m not a predator.” But in the end, that is exactly what we need to do. Remember, you didn’t lose the job because you are a sexual predator. You lost the job because someone labeled you as a sexual predator. Big difference.
Here is the most important thing I can think of to say about being labeled as a sexual predator. If you are not out sexually preying on others, then you are not a sexual predator, no matter what label the state sticks you with. So hold your head up, look at yourself in a mirror, and tell yourself, “I may have done things in my past that I am ashamed of, but today, I am a good person, doing the right things, and I am NOT a sexual predator.”
As Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Click Here to read about how others deal with being a sexual predator