Op Ed: Chemical castration not the best solution
The Attorney General’s Office reported that 38 sex crimes were filed with their office in 2017; and 88 in 2018.(sn)
In my research, out of these numbers more than a half have been convicted and found guilty of sexually violating our children under the age of 17. Two are repeat child sex offenders, 4 - Not Guilty, 2- Dismissed and the rest are either against adults, pending/ deferred for 2019 or dropped. Here it is 2019: 6 sexual assaults reported, 2- Guilty, 5 children victims and 1 adult victim.
Sexual crimes against our children have been sensationalized for over 50 years to no avail, meaning the crimes keep increasing. We may have the best laws in protecting our children somehow it is not deterring first offenders, pedophiles or predators from stalking and victimizing our children.
Calling for stronger measures against child sex offenders was bound to happen. I am happy that a senator has heard the frustrations and found the courage to voice an opinion and opening up a serious dialogue at that level.
We must remember, rape is about ‘power and control’. Through research and seeking opinions with professional Legal Prosecutors and Master Social Workers who deal directly with child sexual violence, this is what some have to say. “The problem with chemical castration is that it doesn't reduce the likelihood that someone will rape or sexually assault someone. Castration reduces desire for sex but doesn't reduce the need to dominate, physically humiliate etc. If anything, it increases the offender's rage at society ... rage that is then directed at the next victim”.
The following are a few concerns I've observed.
If we can look at the law that qualifies an inmate to seek parole after serving only a third of their sentence, doing time after raping or sexually violating children is a walk in the park.
Too many heinous sexual violations are plea bargained down to slaps on the wrist. First timer cards are used as bargaining chips devaluing the victims rape.
There is a failure or an aversion within DHSS who is funded, to proactively provide continuous counseling or treatment for sex offenders while they are incarcerated.
Using the single breadwinner or the sole caretaker for elders card, only enables offenders.
Last but not least of all, two-thirds of the child sex offenders are foreigners and an alarming high rate are overstayers. Not to mention deportees violating parole conditions and allowed back into our borders. So we have a huge crack in our Immigration department.
How can we the community feel safe and confident when our laws and prosecution methods allow the offenders out before their time and the failure of the Public Safety Commissioner to keep offenders from walking out of TCF.
We have a systemic problem that should be addressed before we go into more invasive and physically permanent alternatives. We have a wonderful federally funded program SORNA. Yet we are not willing to put the offenders photos in public places for the sake of community and children awareness. A child may not understand or able to articulate being violated, but they can identify a face.
Sex offenders spending their full time 15 - 30 yrs behind bars receiving ongoing counseling treatment or deported, would give the victims and families unhindered time to heal and move on with their lives.
As reported by the Senator, who sponsored the bill for chemical castration, we are seeing an uninhibited trajectory of sex crimes against our children. In my opinion unless the identified issues are addressed we the people are being forced to seek and demand more invasive and horrific punishment/ treatment measures against a population that chooses to prey upon, to rape and sexually violate our women and children.
It is a fact, that more than 95% of American Samoa’s children are being violated by blood relatives ie; uncles, brother in laws, cousins and now fathers and sponsors. So yes a large percentage of sex offenders are from the core of a family unit. Which is why I believe, there is a large margin of the unreported.
I hope the Fono will also look into the law on deportation. Implement an amendment: “A child sex offender that is deported, shall never set foot back on to American Samoa soil.”
I am willing to support the Chemical Castration if we cannot come up with something more effective within our means.
Agencies have been talking, advocates have been walking, clergy and religious groups have been consistently visiting and sharing the Gospel in TCF and from the pulpits. DPS are arresting, Every year we celebrate and highlight the National months of Child Abuse, Prevention of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence etc etc...
Why is there no impact with child sex offenders? It is because the punishment and enforcement is way beneath the crime.
So yes American Samoa, organize through town hall meetings, youth rallies, women village and church councils, surveys and be heard. Pastors and priests resound from your pulpits. Speak for the sake of your ewe — your baby sheep. Re-ignite the cultural fa'asalaga’s to pay penalty to the village. Sponsors to pay full costs for the offender. Come up with an alternative and put your Representative, Senator and Congresswoman to the grind. You want justice, demand justice.
This is about the victims. They had no choice being victimized. The adult sexual predator and rapist CHOSE to violate and destroy the children’s innocence and future.